From digging up the past to digging up the future

Continuing on with our European Supply Chain Day involvement (please browse our earlier blogs if you haven’t already) I have the pleasure of publishing this blog from our Atlanta-based Senior Analyst, Cathy Roberson. Whilst based in the US her career progression into UK-headquartered Transport Intelligence makes for fascinating reading and really does emphasise the scale of, and opportunities within, the logistics market.

In her role here at Ti Cathy is fundamental to the publication of reports (most recently, Cathy and I have been working on the soon-to-be-published Global Healthcare Logistics Report) as well as providing regular articles for our free Logistics Briefing service – if there is one thing that Cathy will promote for career development in logistics it is continual research and learning – the free logistics briefing offers you the chance at both.

So sit back, enjoy the blog and learn more about how accessible the logistics industry can be and the different career paths that have already been laid.

Cathy Roberson: A funny thing happened on the way to becoming an archaeologist – I discovered logistics. But the path from archaeologist to logistics involved twists and turns which even today I use as a senior analyst for Ti.

While studying to be an archaeologist, I was advised to take some business classes, just in case. So, I took a class on international trade. That class led to another class on trade and then another and the next thing I knew I was graduating with degrees in History and Economics. Armed with my two degrees, I soon discovered there was not much of a demand for an Economic Historian (Archaeology was tossed aside after the Economics discovery) so it was back to school for me and this time to obtain an advanced degree in Library Science thanks to a never-ending, nagging need of mine to find the answer to everything!

After a few years as a Librarian, I began to read about Amazon, Pets.com and Webvan and I decided I wanted to join in the dot com excitement of the late 1990s so I accepted a position as a market research analyst with an e-commerce consulting firm and soon learned all the ins and outs of what makes a good website, building online shopping carts and search engine optimization. Like Pets.com and Webvan, however, my employer also didn’t last long and it was at that point I discovered logistics. What makes a website successful? Strong back end operations.

UPS knew this and that’s how I came to UPS – as a marketing analyst for one of its new product development groups. Overtime, this group eventually evolved into the marketing group for the newly created UPS Supply Chain Solutions. For the next few years, I supported various groups, worldwide, by doing competitive, economic, market and industry analysis. In the midst of all of this I went back to school again and got a second advance degree, this time in Business. After a few years of number crunching, analyzing and such, I accepted a position in air freight forwarding operations for some hands on experience. Wow! Definitely an eye-opening experience and one I will always value. Try arranging air cargo space for a customer while on the phone with someone in Afghanistan and gunshots are ringing in the background. Or having to break the news to your customer their cargo was hijacked by the Taliban.

While exciting and rewarding, the desire to return to research was growing again and this time, the call from Transport Intelligence came – an opportunity to not only expand my research skills but also to work with some of the most knowledgeable people I knew in the industry.

With Ti, I’ve been able to take my experience in libraries, e-commerce along with UPS and monitor the e-commerce logistics space, write on the freight forwarding market along with other exciting supply chain topics.

I hope this post has helped you to see that not only are there a multitude of opportunities for entry into the logistics market, but that once you’re working in the industry, the opportunities continue to present themselves to those that are eager to take them.

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4 thoughts on “From digging up the past to digging up the future

  1. Pingback: Logistics is trucks and stuff, right? | the Ti blog

  2. Pingback: Happy European Supply Chain Day! | the Ti blog

  3. Pingback: International Women’s Day and the Logistics Industry | the Ti blog

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