In an industry first, ThomasNet® and Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) have launched an exciting new initiative to honor supply chain's young "rock stars," and they're getting manufacturers and their suppliers involved.

The “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars” Recognition program will spotlight thirty professionals who are thirty or younger, and are already making their mark on the profession.
ThomasNet and ISM share a common goal—to advance the supply chain profession. ThomasNet does this through ThomasNet.com, buyers’ free platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. ISM leads through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities, and educational/certification programs. The organization also publishes the Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, economic indicators that are followed by economists and business media outlets around the world.

Joining Forces at a Pivotal Moment
ISM and ThomasNet are joining forces because of a major challenge ahead for the companies and institutions they serve in the industrial/commercial, public, and nonprofit sectors.

According to Mark Knudsen, President of ThomasNet, “This is a pivotal moment for the supply chain industry. The Baby Boomers who make up a large portion of the workforce are retiring, and making way for Millennials (18-32) to come in. By 2025, this generation will comprise about 75 percent of the workforce. They’re the key to our industry’s future, and the need to bring more of them into the fold, and keep them with us, is urgent.”

Both ThomasNet and ISM hope that by highlighting the accomplishments of young supply chain “superstars,” they will encourage them to build lifetime careers in the profession. They will also serve as role models for other Millennials—helping to generate awareness of the exciting, fulfilling career opportunities in purchasing/supply chain management.

Tom Derry, Chief Executive Officer, ISM, has noted, “Every day, supply chain professionals make decisions that affect their companies’ brands, competitive positioning, and bottom-line performance. This group of outstanding young leaders can make their own futures in one of the most strategic and dynamic careers in the global economy of the 21st Century.”

Reinforcing the “Cool Factor”
Indeed, supply chain programs in colleges and universities are increasing, but many Millennials are still unaware of the opportunities that the profession offers.

“We need to inject the ‘cool factor’ into this industry, which provides a rewarding career, great pay, and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Mr. Derry.

Being a key player in the global business arena is just one area that makes supply chain jobs so satisfying. Using new technologies and managing the complexities of different cultures, regulations, and tax codes is part of it, too. Millennials also have the chance to get involved in areas that may dovetail with their personal values, such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

At Zara, for instance, innovative supply chain practices are central to the company’s success. An industry pacesetter, Zara can get new products to their retail partners within weeks of designing them. They also have the flexibility to change their product strategies midstream. All this adds up to a competitive advantage for the company, with supply chain professionals behind it.

Another example is Diageo, which sells premium drinks ranging from Johnnie Walker to Baileys, and has a very complex supply chain system. Yet, its people are able to track every product at every stage, from the brewery or distillery to the retail store.

How the “30 Under 30” Program will Work
Through the “30 Under 30” program, ThomasNet.com and ISM will honor thirty young professionals from the U.S. and Canada whose initiative, collaboration, innovation, and/or leadership have led to notable accomplishments. Examples include outstanding achievement, exceeding goals, or creating new processes. Nominees’ contributions to their companies, professional associations, and the industry at large will all be considered. All nominees must be thirty or younger as of December 31, 2014.

Each of the nominees who is named a rising star will receive a year’s ISM membership for free. In addition, one “megawatt” professional from the group will attend ISM2015 for free along with the person who nominates him/her.

Asking for Everyone’s Help
ThomasNet.com and ISM are asking for everyone’s participation in this important program to enable it to succeed.

They’re encouraging individuals who have built rewarding supply chain careers to help ensure their industry’s continued vitality, and nominate a deserving candidate. Professionals in industrial/manufacturing companies can nominate individuals from their own purchasing/supply chain management teams, as well as their suppliers and partners. Millennials are also welcome to nominate themselves.

Nomination forms are available at http://www.thomasnet.com/30under30/, and the deadline is July 31. Please spread the word and nominate a rising star today.

Linda Rigano is Executive Director, Media Relations with ThomasNet (part of Thomas Industrial Network®), an information and technology company that connects manufacturing and industrial buyers and sellers. Please contact Ms. Rigano at 212-629-1522 or lrigano@thomasnet.com.


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