Throughout my years in logistics and transportation I have on many occasions found myself trying to explain to friends, family, and the occasional stranger what it is that I do exactly. More often than not I have struggled to fully explain what it is I do on a daily basis, usually resorting to the phrases, “I move things” or “I get stuff from here to there”, sounds so exciting doesn’t it! Inevitably the conversation turns to how I got started in the industry and what kind of education or training I had to prepare myself for this career path. That answer usually sounds like, “well, I kinda stumbled into it and it stuck….”
Let’s face it, there is no one program, degree, class, or school that can properly prepare and train anyone for what we do. Sure, more and more schools have “Supply Chain Management” programs, but these programs cover only one or two areas of our industry and do not offer much, if any, experience in how to actually “move” freight.
The best education for what we do comes from just “doing it”, maybe Nike was on to something more with their slogan than just sports!
After so many years though of sitting behind a desk, tracking websites, reading and send enough emails to circle the globe a few times, a person can reach their “wall” of learning. What other ways can really push the envelope on this “street” education and allow someone to continue to learn the industry and thus bring another level of perspective to the table when working with and alongside drivers, customers and co-workers?
The best way, as I’ve had the pleasure to experience over the course of the last year, is to get out on the road, to leave the desk behind and experience the industry outside of the same 4 walls. To have another Day 1 experience (and another, and another, and so on…).
This last year I’ve been able to visit customers and carrier partners and drivers in many markets throughout the country; I’ve been able to see first hand how my customers face each day in their own environment, the challenges my drivers face on the highways in their respective markets and how the vessels and containers that we all track each and every day, truly operate in real time.
In Minnesota I had the chance to enjoy some after-hours conversation and fun with customers and get to know them outside of a rate request; in Houston I had the chance to witness our cargo literally fall from a forklift and off a truck and live-stream the beginning of the correction to my customer.
In Long Beach I was able to sit and train with our LA ops team in their office and then open the door to walk our dock and watch our freight be unloaded from a container and swung right into one of our OTR trailers. I was than able to walk through another door, off the dock, and sit and watch the organized chaos that is our container dispatch office, what an incredible experience and real-time “lesson”!
Later in my visit to Long Beach I saw firsthand just how massive the port is and how the various terminals stretch for miles, literally a city itself, skyscrapers of containers and highways containing truck and chassis for all the eye could see.
I’ve experienced and learned more in my first year at Port X than in all of my previous years in this industry; all by escaping the cubicle and taking in what this industry has to offer. I’ve immersed myself in the experience and I’ve come out the other side more excited than ever to share the experience with everyone I interact with every day, whether co-worker or customer.
Port X isn’t just another logistics company, we’re a revolution; we want to share our knowledge and educate our customers, we want to create an ecosystem that benefits all parties to achieving the same goal, moving freight while having some fun and creating just enough weirdness that we all want to wake up and come back for another “Day 1”. – Patrick Morrison
Port X Logistics (Buffalo, NY)