This month we’re proud to feature Cathy Morrow Roberson in our Women in Supply Chain blog series. Cathy is the founder and president at Logistics Trends & Insights LLC, a global logistics market research company that provides industry insights, research content and consulting. She has over two decades in marketing and supply chain experience plus Cathy has an MLS from the University of South Carolina and bachelor’s in history and economics from Winthrop University
What brought you into supply chain?
Like a lot of folks, I kind of stumbled into it. I was working at a consulting startup that was teetering. Luckily, UPS was a customer and offered me a position in a brand-new product and services group, developing fresh offerings outside of small parcel offerings. It was UPS, so of course I jumped.
We worked on all kinds of new ideas and concepts—some ahead of their time like online grocery delivery. We also built out the UPS reverse logistics service offerings. The concept that eventually became UPS Capital was first developed in our group which eventually evolved into UPS Supply Chain Solutions.
I stayed with UPS for 11 years doing competitive and market analysis, M&A due diligence assistance, supporting business development, and more.
Tell us about your journey:
The original plan was to become an archaeologist, but my parents reminded me that requires teaching and public speaking which absolutely terrified me. So, I crossed that off my list, as well as my second choice, Economic Historian which also requires speaking to groups of people. I settled on becoming a librarian after receiving degrees in history and economics followed by a master’s in library science. Eventually, I added an MBA just to prove to myself I could.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I love research. Can’t find an answer to something just let me know. I leave no stone unturned, and that’s continued throughout my career. From researching and analyzing new market opportunities, the competitive landscape, and more while at UPS. That trend has continued through today with my own business, Logistics Trends & Insights LLC, a market research firm focused on supply chain.
After 11 years with UPS, I moved on to a consulting firm within the supply chain space writing several off-the shelf research reports on particular parts of the supply chain sold to investment firms, logistics providers, shippers and so on. Eventually, I decided to start my business.
Along the way, I discovered that I actually have a voice, sometimes perhaps a bit too loud or opinionated. I also found that writing isn’t so bad. I’ve really enjoyed writing for various publications, including a weekly column for Air Cargo World and a monthly article for The Loadstar.
What’s a moment that’s stayed with you throughout your career?
The first time I walked into a warehouse, I knew right then and there that I belonged in logistics. It was like a library—everything neatly stored throughout the warehouse. The employees knew where everything was.
And, of course, starting my own business. I’ve always wanted my own business, but I kept making excuses not to do it. My family members and close friends finally talked me into doing it, and I’m so glad they did.
What are the biggest challenges in supply chain?
We’re still trying to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, speed up the last mile, provide visibility across the entire supply chain, reduce risks, etc. Those will always be challenges. But this year the big challenges are sustainability, (addressing climate change), and encouraging folks to be a part of the supply chain market.
Let’s Talk Supply Chain does a great job promoting the supply chain across your platforms. More folks need to do this—keep talking it up, work with local schools and universities.
Same with sustainability—it’s not a marketing spin job, it’s a necessity. We need to keep talking about it, encouraging and applauding companies that make the needed changes, and highlight companies that introduce solutions.
What do you want for the future of supply chain?
Simplicity. Supply chains are so complicated. We’re heading in the right direction with all this technology, but it needs to be easy and exactly what shippers need to move goods from point A to B as seamlessly as possible with visibility throughout the process. And, the same for warehousing. Sometimes we forget the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) process.
I want to keep writing, researching, sharing, and learning from the supply chain community. Of course, I’d be lying if I said growing my business wasn’t part of my goals. And to that point, I am finally publishing quarterly supply chain reports available for purchase this year.
I’ve also just launched a free M&A database on my website that ties into a subscription-based portal with more analysis on supply chain topics. It’s all in the early stages, but I’m super excited! Who knows, maybe I’ll even take a real vacation this year.
Meet Our Sponsor
This Women in Supply Chain feature was made possible by our sponsor, Sarah Caroline. In our research we found that out of 100 websites for women (forbes.com) there is not one website that celebrates active women. Sure there are a few sites that give you the how, what and the why – the tools but not the trusted supportive place we have created.Sarah Caroline gives you access to products that help you live your BEST active life so you feel stronger, healthier AND look amazing! We are adding new products every week PLUS we have an ask the Expert Page where you can ask questions to some of the TOP Experts in the industry from Naturopathic Medicine to Mindset & Motivation to Skin Care/ Beauty experts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Naomi Garnice is the Director of Marketing for MicroAge where she leads the marketing team and creative strategy. Naomi has been a content marketer for 14 years and is passionate about creating engaging content that matters. Throughout her career in marketing for technology, healthcare and supply chain organizations, Naomi has advocated to highlight female thought leaders in male-dominated industries.