Your life is a work in progress. You spend it gathering different skills like a Swiss Army knife. When I was at Babson College, one of the courses we all took was Operations Management. In it, we studied the manufacturing process of how stuff’s made. We looked at raw materials, for example, and the factory floor. It was like Breaking Bad but legal.
At the time, a tectonic shift was underway. Globalization was picking up steam. Our manufacturing base was being offshored to China. (Turns out, that wasn’t the best practice in terms of U.S. survival. Now look at where we are with our supply chain.)
The summer before my senior year, I had an internship at a startup working on how to deliver groceries to your door without you being home. This was before the internet browser, iPhones, etc. Orders were to be placed by phone or fax. As customers were onboarded, they received a refrigerated lockbox which kept the food safe and secure if they weren’t home.
It was a tough business to master operationally, but it had huge potential. The point of this piece isn’t to discuss the growing pains but to point out the timelessness of Operations Management. It can seem boring in a classroom setting, but it’s crucial to any business.
My advice to recent grads, which you may want to give to your grandkids, is to work in operations. Understand the guts of your business. Learn how a product gets from A to Z and become an expert.
We’re seeing once-in-a-lifetime changes play out before our eyes. How long can we depend on China for our manufacturing? Will the future be onshoring production and cutting the length of the supply chain? Understanding how it works can be a profession, you can have expertise as an analyst, or you can simply keep it in your back pocket for your own business.
Action Line: Everything we eat, buy, sell, invest in, consume, or deliver to customers is part of Operations Management. Bring your expertise wherever you go, and you will be a valued professional, not just a commodity. If you know someone who is about to graduate from college or did so recently, click here to give them a copy of my free Special Report: How To Invest After Graduating College. It’ll get them started off on the right foot.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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