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Want to Make an Impact? Choose a Career in Supply Chain Automation

Greg Conner | 25 February 2021

I was recently on a Sunday afternoon Zoom call (gotta love COVID-19) with some old friends from college – Boiler Up!  We all graduated in the early 2000s, thus we’re 15 years or so into our careers. As the conversation progressed through a multitude of topics from the weather to kids to the trials and tribulations of U.S. politics, one of my buddies expressed how much he dreaded Monday mornings.  Although he has a great job, he said he feels “uninspired”. My other buddies quickly jumped in acknowledging their agreement. I asked: “What would make you all feel ‘inspired’?” Almost in unison they all said they “want to feel as though their work is truly making an impact.”

“Make an impact,” I jokingly said. “Guess you guys should have been doctors or social workers”. “No,” one of my friends commented. “Make an impact like you do Conner.”

Soon the call ended, but I was taken back by what my friends said. I don’t dread Monday mornings, but “make an impact”? 

Doctors save lives. That’s an easy one.  Some probably impact hundreds maybe thousands of lives each year.  The same can be said for social and healthcare workers, first responders, lawyers, dentists, and teachers to name a few. But the supply chain?  What do we impact?

Then it hit me. The supply chain impacts everyone. Without it we cease to function as a society. Think about it, how many online orders have you placed during COVID alone?  How does that gallon of milk or pound of ground beef that you rely upon for meals get to your grocery store?  It’s the supply chain!

Does our industry make an impact? You bet it does and there has never been a better time to start a career in supply chain automation! 

Nearly every major supply chain automation company is hiring and hiring aggressively. One major supply chain automation company announced that it intended to fill 1,000 new openings in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. This is not a new phenomenon.

With exception to the great recession of 2008 and 2009, my company, Bastian Solutions has been on a growth terror. Since 2010 our company has grown 550% and not just because we are a great company with a superior culture. Sure, those qualities have certainly contributed, but the demand within the industry of supply chain automation can’t be overlooked.

What does “impact” look like in supply chain? I was 24 years old when I sold and helped execute my first multimillion-dollar automated system. The end user was a large pharmaceutical company. The purpose of the project was simple – improve process efficiencies to get insulin to new patients faster. It doesn’t get more impactful than that! And, to have the ability at age 24 to weigh-in and drive those changes, what a cool opportunity.

Two years ago, my wife ordered Christmas gifts online from DICK’S Sporting Goods. The experience was average, but the gifts took nearly 2 weeks to arrive. We were cutting it close. Fast forward a couple years and the experience was totally different.

Like many companies, DICK’S Sporting Goods continues to invest heavily in their supply chain. One of these investments was a new distribution center in Conklin, New York, which features an advanced automation technology called AutoStore. This system allowed DICK’S Sporting Goods to dramatically improve their ecommerce fulfillment processes – manage inventory more efficiently, reduce fulfillment errors with better scan and ship, and better overall storage and space use.

So, how did the order go this year? Mrs. Conner’s 2020 Christmas order from DICK’S Sporting Goods arrived in 2 days! Pretty darn cool impact!

If you’re a college student like I once was, that had never seen a conveyor belt or a robot, I encourage you to jump on YouTube and see what’s waiting for you. If you’re dreading Monday mornings and are ready to embark on a career and not simply a job, let’s talk

Maybe it’s time for you to start making an impact!

Author: Greg Conner

I joined Bastian Solutions in 2005 after graduating from Purdue University. My first role was as a project engineer before transitioning to a field application engineer. After seven years, I became regional director of Indiana, overseeing all local FAEs as well as Bastian Solutions’ e-commerce business. In 2016, I was promoted to Vice President, Eastern U.S. where I oversaw sales and operations for all Eastern U.S. offices. In 2019, I was promoted to Vice President of Global Sales, now overseeing international operations and global marketing.


Stephen McFarland says:
2/25/2021 12:12 PM

Great story of having an impact. Success doesn't happen overnight but rather the small and simple day to day tasks that really add up over time. Boiler up!

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