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Supply Chain Managers Shape the World

Sometimes it takes a trip across the world and a little time conversing with the locals to make you realize that just by doing their jobs, supply chain leaders play an important international role.

By ·
By ·

Michael Gravier is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Bryant University with a focus on logistics, supply chain management and strategy and international trade. Follow him on Twitter. Follow Bryant University on Facebook and Twitter.


I just got back from teaching an MBA short-course in Vienna, Austria. It presented an opportunity to think back on how logistics and supply chain management have changed in Austria since the first time I moved cargo through here back in 2000. It seems like a completely different world in some ways!

Since then, Austria has adopted the euro, you no longer need to check your passport at the border if you drive to the country next door, your cargo used to have to have a lot more duplicated paperwork for each of the countries it passed through, and generally Austria has greatly increased its capabilities and efficiencies.

In 2000, the country struck me as a bit tucked out of the way, a hidden gem – now it seems affluent and connected, a destination for opportunity, where you can hear a dozen languages just walking down the street even in a residential neighborhood. The same could be said of some other countries in the EU.

Connecting and integrating are good for business, especially the supply chain business.

The data show the tremendous growth in per capita GDP across many countries paralleling the integration of countries with world trade, and the opening up to outside influences. Of course, when there’s a hiccup in the economy some politicians are quick to ride the “blame train” to power at the expense of newcomers and trading partners, even when the hiccups were caused by domestic economic policies such as how to regulate the housing market.

A night of the type of geo-political conversations that can only be had in a café frequented by the intelligentsia of a large city left a hopeful impression for the increasing prominence of supply chain leaders.

Supply chain leaders carry out the trade and exchanges necessary for a prosperous world. And nothing attunes you more to the humanity in another country than writing a contract together and executing supply chain operations together over the course of many years.

Sometimes it takes a trip across the world and a little time conversing with the locals to make you realize that just by doing their jobs, supply chain leaders play an important role in the world.


About the Author

Michael Gravier
Michael Gravier is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Bryant University with a focus on logistics, supply chain management and strategy and international trade. Follow Bryant University on Facebook and Twitter.

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