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Diogenes in 2012

Last December, Time magazine named "a protester" to be its person of the year. Diogenes was a well-known protester in ancient Greece. Each day, he wandered through the city of Athens with a lighted lamp. He told people that he was searching for an honest man.

Many logistics executives are in the same boat today. They are not searching for honesty, just for the attitudes and skills needed to handle warehousing jobs in today's information age. The skill sets needed in 2012 are not the same as they were 20 years ago, and they are vastly different from the skills needed 40 years ago.

Nobody cares if you can read a freight tariff, but the ability to understand one or two foreign languages is growing in importance. Beyond language, an understanding of overseas cultures can be a critical skill in our global warehousing environment. Knowledge of computers is assumed, but there may be a shortage of people who can navigate with spreadsheets and common software programs. Knowledge of finance has always been valuable. Today, it is less important than the proven ability to design and use the dashboards and ratios that spell the difference between a well-managed warehouse and one that is disintegrating.

If our economy recovers this year, warehousing executives will be hiring people to handle big increases in volume. Hopefully you won't need Diogenes and his lamp. If you do, remember to place attitude ahead of skills. Intelligent people can learn new skills, but attitudes change very slowly, if at all.


K. B. Ackerman Company
2041 Riverside Drive
Suite 204
Columbus, Ohio 43221
Phone 614-488-3165
Fax 614-488-9243

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