Chain Reactions

A Legend in Logistics

Here's a link to an article that profiles one of the most knowledgeable logistics and transportation experts in the world (he's also a friend, but that's irrelevant here, other than if you can't use your blog to plug your friends' accomplishments, what good is having a blog?), John Gentle. John was recently honored as the 2006 Executive of the Year by the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL). I didn't get a chance to congratulate John in person as instead of going to the annual NITL show this year, I was on the other side of the world in Singapore. Needless to say, John's honor is well deserved, but he probably should've gotten it years ago.

That's the only quibble I have with John receiving this honor -- since he just recently retired, some people might (erroneously) assume the honor is one of those "lifetime achievement awards" that organizations bestow after somebody's best work is presumably behind them. That is DEFINITELY not the case here. John's work at Owens Corning was several years ahead of what most other manufacturers have achieved in regard to the use of technology and carrier relations. You can read an article I wrote about that work here, or better still, you can read about it in my new book (what good is a blog if you can't promote your OWN accomplishments? And in the interests of full disclosure, you'll note that John has magnanimously provided an early review of my book). John has retired from Owens Corning, true, but he's now going to channel that experience and knowledge into his own gig as a consultant.

I remember the first time I heard John speak at an industry conference a few years ago. John and I live and work at opposite sides of Ohio, and maybe it's part of my Cleveland arrogance (now, there are two words you don't expect to see side-by-side) that I couldn't imagine anything new or exciting coming out of Toledo, but within moments of him starting to speak I realized I was going to have to start taking notes a lot faster than I usually do because he was the real deal: He wasn't trying to sell a new product and he wasn't promoting his use of somebody else's new product. He was explaining how an industrial manufacturer figured out a better way to manage and control its transportation costs, and he was sharing that knowledge with the rest of the world. Talk about a reporter's dream come true.

I guess have another quibble with the article -- it doesn't actually mention John's company, which is John A. Gentle & Associates, LLC. Click here for access to his website. But only go there if you want to learn something, and I have to warn you: If you end up talking to John, you'll end the conversation smarter than when you started.

Anyways, congratulations on the honor, John. Well done, sir.

TAGS: Supply Chain
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