By Clifford F. Lynch
It was a long time coming, but the vindication is nonetheless sweet. Some 35
years ago, I found myself on the losing side of a debate with other members of
the National Council of Physical Distribution Management (NCPDM) Executive
Committee. The question at hand was whether the group should launch its own
professional journal to promote the practice and advancement of the discipline
that has come to be known as supply chain management. Although the council
members deliberated long and hard, in the end, the supporters were outnumbered,
and the idea was politely but firmly rejected.
After all this time, I believe itís safe to admit that I accounted for 50
percent of the support for this journal, so you can imagine how I felt when I
read that NCPDMís successor, the Council of Supply Chain Management
Professionals (CSCMP), was launching a new publication, to be titled CSCMPís
Supply Chain Quarterly. If any of those committee members from the Ď70s
were still around and still cared or even remembered, I would say, "I told
you so." But since they arenít, I must find solace in the knowledge that
my support for the project has been vindicated.
Certainly, NCPDM/CLM/CSCMP hasnít been idle in the publishing arena. During
the years since that first discussion, we have seen the birth of Comment,
the Journal of Business Logistics, and an assortment of other research
and informational publications. But the recently announced plan promises to take
the organizationís publishing efforts to an entirely new level.
In announcing the new journalís launch, Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of
CSCMP, stated, "This initiative is indicative of our efforts to continually
look for new ways of helping our members do their jobs in the 21st
century." In my opinion, this is a worthy objective, and one which I
believe the council should be pursuing. Those who are members of CSCMP look to
the organization for leadership and education in supply chain management. One
could even legitimately argue that it has an obligation to its members to
provide this leadership.
In todayís volatile supply chain environment, CSCMPís annual conference,
the councilís major educational event, is no longer enough. And although there
are other CSCMP educational initiatives such as seminars, workshops, research,
and local roundtables, the new publication will go a long way toward helping to
fill the void between October and September. Further, unlike the seminars and
meetings, which are not accessible to all members, the publication will be
available to all. Each CSCMP member will receive a subscription as part of his
or her annual membership dues, and paid subscriptions will be offered to a
Blasgen believes that the quarterly will "provide a solid platform for
ongoing efforts of advancing the supply chain professionís body of
knowledge." In doing so, CSCMP is partnering the AGiLE Business Media, LLC,
publisher of this magazine and the RFIDWatch Weekly e-newsletter. We see
this as a positive move for CSCMP, and one that will combine valuable, proven
publishing expertise with the CSCMP brand.
While I think this is a good strategic move, I am sure that, just as there
were 35 years ago, there will be others who disagree. Some will no doubt say
they already have way too much to read. True, the supply chain industry is
served by an array of excellent trade publications; but as a practitioner trying
to survive in a complex global environment, I for one need all the help I can
get Ė especially if itís free.
A relative newcomer to CSCMP administrative ranks, Blasgen has the challenge
of breathing life back into an organization that, though more successful than
most, is still feeling pressures of declining membership. I give him high marks
for what he has accomplished so far, and particularly in this case, I believe he
has a winner.