Meet a Member

August 2018 

Kathy Fulton


Education:University of South Florida – MBA and MS Management Information Systems
Northwestern State University of Louisiana – BS Mathematics

 

Committees:Marketing Committee
Central Florida RT President, Secretary



When and why did you join CSCMP?

I joined CSCMP in 2008, just as I was finishing graduate school. It was at the suggestion of Dr. Jim Stock, with whom I had several classes at University of South Florida.

 

What advice do you have for new CSCMP members on how they can maximize their membership value?

Two things that have been hugely valuable to me: First, take advantage of the great educational content available. Supply Chain Quarterly, the State of Logistics Report, Definitive Guides, Hot Topics, and local roundtable events all keep my supply chain knowledge fresh. Second, get involved! Volunteer to serve on a committee, or to help with an event, or make phone calls to new members. You’ll get a chance to see other parts of the supply chain, meet people who will become your friends and partners, and find new ways to use your membership.

 

How did you get into supply chain management?

I never planned on a career in supply chain management – I didn’t even really know what it was until I joined the information technology team for Saddle Creek Logistics Services. It was the first time I thought about where the things I saw on store shelves came from, how they got there, or who made that happen. From there I volunteered on the ALAN technology team, until Saddle Creek offered to loan me to the organization, which eventually turned into my current job.

 

Describe your job in a tweet (i.e. 140 characters or less)

Best job in the world – I help businesses use their supply chain skills, expertise, & resources to deliver aid to disaster survivors.

 

What are your top three job responsibilities?

A friend described the world of humanitarian logistics as “juggling a bunch of greasy cats”. That’s a pretty accurate description of my operational responsibilities.

  1. Coordinating all the donation requests and offers and matching them effectively.
  2. I’m the “convener in chief” for supply chain activities related to disaster response. That means bringing together lots of distinct groups – business, government, and non-profit to keep communications open.
  3. Finally, but probably most importantly, is sharing the cool stories about how supply chain professionals are making a positive difference in disasters.
 

What is the biggest challenge you face on the job, and how are you managing it?

Disasters don’t read maps, plans, or calendars; so, the job involves dealing with a lot of uncertainty of demand for geography, volume, and timing. There is a lot of “sewing the parachute on the way down”, and the only way we can effectively manage uncertainty is to have strong partnerships like we enjoy with CSMCP. We can’t pre-position equipment in every city where a disaster may occur, but we can find a CSCMP member almost everywhere!

 

What technology, trends or disruptive forces do you see having the biggest impact on supply chains?

There is a lot of “disruption” in supply chain right now - we are at a crucial point where businesses will need to figure out how to harness the innovation or get left behind. I think just determining which make sense for a business is itself having an effect. I’ve seen lots of organizations standing up “innovation labs” – so, not just a single disruptive force, but all of them, are reshaping the structure of businesses. For disaster response, I have high hopes for technologies like 3D printing / additive manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, and technology / data to increase the speed at which supplies make it to disaster survivors.

 

If you were to start a company from scratch, what values would you build it on?

I’ve seen some amazing corporate values statements, but I think they all boil down to one thing: treat people with respect. Whether they are your employees, your clients, your vendors, your competitors, your family, or your friends, if you respect people you will have a better shot at making the right decisions that will make you and the business successful. And, to paraphrase Steve Jobs - hire smart people and let them do their jobs.

 

What are you proudest of?

I’m proud to be a member of a profession that includes so many generous organizations and individuals who are willing to help when a disaster occurs.

 

If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?

If I could interview anyone, I’d choose Ada Lovelace (1815- 1852), who was a mathematician and is considered the first computer programmer. Her work laid the foundation for all the “disruptive” technologies of today.

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