It’s a new year, and there are reasons to suggest that 2024 might be a departure from the fresh chaos that has hallmarked supply chain since the 2020’s started, or at least a de-escalation. Over the last few years, supply chain professionals have navigated an endless array of challenges. When managing logistics and supply chains, they’ve responded to global pandemic factory closures, volatile and spiking inflation, and geopolitical tensions including wars that have limited critical supplies—think grain from the Ukraine. More approaches to streamline a smart, sustainable supply chain are coming into focus this year—all made more possible by the growing ranks of women in supply chain.
APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) predicts that ESG and sustainability initiatives will be a driving factor across supply chain management, more organizations will move to digital supply chains, and inflation and labor shortages will continue creating SCM risks. At the end of the year, 616K skilled manufacturing jobs were still unfilled.
There was a lot of progress for women in supply chain last year with a huge increase in executive representation resulting in more opportunities for other female professions. Even while frontline representation by women stagnated at 31%, the overall percentage of women in the supply chain community made a 5% increase. This trend is expected to continue as more female professionals return to the post-Covid workplace.
To keep delivering new solutions and evolving with changing market demands, organizations need to invest in more women in supply chain. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we’re proud to feature women in supply chain breaking outdated gender roles across global logistics, transportation, and manufacturing. The numbers show that women in supply chain drive faster, bigger leaps forward and more profitability. Women in supply chain empower global business performance for powerful outcomes and greater agility through collaboration.
Women in supply chain inspire us, and we hope they’ll encourage other female professionals looking to ascend far beyond glass ceilings. That’s why we highlight their stories and career journeys each month.
Let’s Talk Supply Chain’s Women In Supply Chain program, and these features show that investing in your female workforce is a formidable competitive advantage. Advancing women in your ranks is proven to propel higher revenue and ROI. Over half of businesses dedicated to gender equity and diversity have 50% higher profitability and 61% higher revenue growth than competitors. More than 70% rank the highest in customer satisfaction.
This month, we’re excited to feature Amanda Richterkraft, a Logistics Sales Ops Team Lead at Trailer Bridge where she’s worked in a leadership capacity for almost five years. Amanda has a proven background in logistics coordination. She is an official Women In Supply Chain honoree.
1. Where did your supply chain journey start?
Not to be cliché, but I started from the bottom and now I’m here! I started in roles doing everything from sanitary services to coaching people through zipline courses in the Brevard Zoo, (in a male-dominated role where I found my voice and thrived). I picked up odds-and-ends jobs before dabbling in inventory management as a receiving specialist for a large grocery chain. Then I turned my sights to working in logistics directly. Now I find myself leading a team of 9-12 people at my home in logistics, Trailer Bridge Inc.
2. Have supply chain mentors helped your professional momentum?
My current direct manager, Steve, has been pivotal to my personal and professional growth. Steve, who has much more experience in the industry, has taken me under his wing to show me the ins and outs of supply chain. I’m able to have conversations with him where I feel included instead of talked at. He was instrumental in growing my confidence to get me to where I am in my career today.
3. What’s your experience working in a male-dominated industry?
It hasn’t always been easy. My first full truckload logistics job had a lot of toxic masculinity that made me question myself and my worth in the industry. At Trailer Bridge, my current employer, I feel like that a lot less.
I would be lying if I said that there isn’t the occasional phone call or interaction with middle management that brings those feelings back like PTSD. But overall being in an environment that fosters love and respect for one another has allowed me to grow and feel that I do have worth in this industry.
4. When did you find your voice in your supply chain career?
At Trailer Bridge we have a very intense leadership program focused on growing ourselves rather than our approaches to the business. During this time, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with people who were more established or experienced. I found my voice when I realized that even more seasoned business members weren’t better or more equipped than me, they are my peers. I found more than my voice; I found my confidence to succeed during those weeks.
5. What advice do you have for women in supply chain or others looking to start a career in the industry?
Don’t let others put you down. It isn’t easy, but if you ever feel like you’re not being inspired to grow to your full potential, get out. Find someplace where people believe in you and your success. Be surrounded by people who give you the chance to learn and celebrate you as a member of this industry. If you’re not feeling love and respect then there is no reason to be there, anything that you would have gained from the time spent in these toxic environments will always cast a shadow over your personal and professional growth.
6. Who do you admire in and outside of supply chain?
Our CEO at Trailer Bridge is an inspiration to me. He was one of the figureheads of a total change of attitude in what can be a rough and uncaring industry. When I mentioned earlier that our culture fosters love and respect, he is the one who not only inspires that culture but also keeps it growing.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mother here. She has lived in male-dominated industries, from lawn service to taxidermy, and she showed me the world in a different light while also showing how strong women can be.
7. What have you learned on your supply chain journey and what’s next?
All in all, the biggest thing I learned was to believe in myself. I’m still breaking down walls that I’ve constructed and I’m learning how to overcome my own imposter syndrome.
As for the future, does anyone really know what it holds? My goal is to run my own office; I want to surround myself with people that I can inspire to grow more than they even believe they can. Whether I’m in my own office or my own business in the future, if I’m continuing to inspire and get to see those around me succeed I will be happy.
8. What does your Women in Supply Chain feature mean to you?
I’m honored to be a part of a growing trend of recognizing women in Supply Chain. I’m very surprised and delighted to be chosen to share my story especially when, in this industry, women don’t often share the spotlight. I come from a very humble background and have found a home in supply chain. I hope that my story helps other women find their home in this industry as well.
Calling all women in supply chain!! There’s a new initiative that’s 100% geared towards serving YOU!
Women in Supply Chain is an online community with the sole purpose of providing women in our industry with consistent support and opportunities, all year long.
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Take your future into your own hands & ask your company to add this to your professional development budget. Reach out to hello@
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Meet Our Sponsors
GoFreight is proud to sponsor the Women in Supply Chain™ blog and podcast series, recognizing women’s vital role in the industry and the need to highlight their contributions and experiences. We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the supply chain field and are honored to support initiatives that empower and inspire women in their professional journeys.
Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Women in Supply Chain award, sponsored by Let’s Talk Supply Chain podcast and Blended Pledge project, honors female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship, and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.
About the Author
Naomi Sylvian is a content marketing leader with more than 17 years of experience, and the editor of Let’s Talk Supply Chain™’s Women in supply chain™ series. Her works have appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, The Muse, and Yahoo, and have been mentioned by The New York Times Online. Naomi mentors at-risk teens to fight recidivism and contribute on a local level, working with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Subscribe to her LinkedIn newsletter, The Chain Explained, for all things Supply Chain broken down with as many pop-culture references as possible, or view her marketing portfolio online.