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The Brightest and Best Ideas for Leading the Way in Logistics and Business

Advances in academic and executive education programs to meet the needs of new economy managers is critical to business disciplines and practices driven by today's converging forces of technology, organizational change and globalization.

Inexperienced students and executives that are highly accomplished and knowledgeable learners, alike, know the importance of world-class programs. This edition features an Education Forum that offers the perspectives of leaders in the educational landscape of logistics and supply chain management.

Notions about education have undergone a sea of change during the past few decades. In the 1980s, graduates from a business school with a major in logistics, typically may have benefited from training that focused on modes of transportation and some of the functions of supply chain management. Today, logisticians and supply chain professionals must relate to many other disciplines in their practices and to develop innovative businesses, as clearly evidenced this edition of LQ.

It's also important to be mindful of the fact that the profession of management has been in development for only the span of a single life, and its progress is not guaranteed. Vigilance on the part of our educators and business leaders in logistics as well as other disciplines is essential. LQ's Education Forum is also a tribute to leaders in education and those in the field whose work is laying the foundations not only for today, but for the future.

LQ's Education Forum, comprised of seven Ph.D.s from the United States and Canada, shows us how universities are leading the way and changing to reflect the relentlessness of new requirements in business, worldwide. What can logisticians expect from logistics training and executive development? What kind of accelerated payoff does education offer individuals and companies? In this special issue, we seek to demystify educational innovation and look at the policies and techniques that create leaders in the field.

The accumulation of managerial knowledge in the field is also vital for professional development. Two senior-level practitioners, Jim Davidson and David Faoro, offer us insightful and personal accounts of the value of education, while emphasizing the discipline to perform and create the right corporate milieu are essential to the development of logisticians with world-class business acumen.

Another important theme in this issue focuses on trends in transportation. You will find many stimulating ideas in these pages on this theme. In "Small 3PLs Make it Big," Benjamin Gordon describes how consolidation is transforming the transportation and logistics marketplace. It's a compelling overview that executives should take stock of when they are planning for the future. In "Defining and Highlighting the Steps to Collaborative Transportation Management," Professor Terry Esper traces the pathway to collaboration and the value in investing in business relationships, instead of adversarial approaches that can kill even the most promising of these programs.

In the article entitled "The Impact of Exchange Rates on Supply Chain Management," you will find perspectives from both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. This jointly bylined article, by vice presidents Tom Nightingale and John Ferguson, examines how currency fluctuations may reduce trade in some cases, drive the flow of goods to alternative modes of transportation and prompt some carriers to use currency hedges - a practice reserved for few companies, as shown by the plight of even major airlines, such as Air Canada, as they've been unable to engage this important practice.

Companies interested in enhancing inventiveness and ingenuity to reduce their costs and bolster their bottomlines will want to read Lean Six Sigma Logistics, written by Robert Martichenko. In this study, Robert shows us how lean manufacturing concepts are deeply embedded in the Toyota Production System, and provides us with a snapshot of the resultant and impressive benefits.

A moving account of the struggles of a printing company's search for survival is depicted in Rebecca Jasper's column, Inside Track. Rebecca provides us with knowledgeable solutions to the travails of this hypothetical business situation, with sage advise from her own perspective as well as that of two senior-level consultants, Peter Berglund and Allan Ayers. Their thoughtful response to this case study will undoubtedly provide guidance to others with smart ideas about outsourcing and organizational management.

Heather Cartwright's column, The Institute Notebook, offers us an intriguing perspective on leadership with its focus on MIT's Sloan School of Management's board game, a supply chain simulation entitled, The Beer Game, to explore the essential elements required for leadership in logistics.

Whether you are managing everyday business, envisioning new strategic directions for your business, or facing unusual challenges, these leaders show us in these pages some of the best models for success.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my special thanks to LQ's Executive Editor's Dave Closs (Michigan State) and Victor Deyglio (Toronto-based Logistics Institute) for their contributions to LQ's Education Forum. We are also thankful for Ryerson University's Professor Donald Tham, for his contribution in shaping the framework for this important forum.

Thanks to the commitment of these extraordinary leaders in our field to LQ's extraordinary readers, you will find ideas for growth and development in business from some of the brightest and the best in our exciting field.

Fred Moody, Editor and Co-Publisher