The APQC Blog

APQC's New Voice of Supply Chain

APQC has a new supply chain management research principal lead, Joe Tillman, and I had the pleasure of recently speaking with him. In his new role, Joe will be the voice for supply chain research, benchmarking, and process improvement.

Joe has a keen interest in all things supply chain and uses his high-energy approach to life to author articles for industry publications, blog on supply chain related topics, and speak to supply chain industry groups. He also co-leads the Warehousing Education and Research Council's (WERC) influential annual benchmarking study, "DC Measures." 

Prior to joining APQC, Joe founded his own company, TSquared Logistics, which specialized in supply chain education and research. He has worked with SCVisions as a senior researcher, Wal-Mart Logistics as a distribution professional, and Union Pacific Railroad as a conductor. Joe is certified in transportation and logistics (CTL) and SCOR-Professional.

Joe has an MBA from Georgia Southern University with an emphasis in Logistics and Organizational Performance.  He also holds a BS in Geography from the University of Georgia.

The following conversation was derived from my recent sit-down with Joe where he shared information about his background, his plans for his new role at APQC, and tips for supply chain professionals.

Q. What are you bringing to APQC?

I am bringing a different point of view having come from the lower level frontline. I have driven buses, trains, and trucks. I know what it is like to be a driver of an eighteen wheeler and what it is like to work in a warehouse. I also understand how much coordination it takes  to get everything moving in a supply chain. I think that is the big picture, look at how we coordinate and communicate. Through my experience, I think I bring an interesting perspective, especially where to take the research over the next couple of years here at APQC.

Q. What do you think the biggest differences are (or will be) between your former role as a business owner and your new position as a supply chain management research principal lead?

I don’t think it is really going to change much, because you still must have the same focus as a business owner. In both positions you own something, whether it is ownership of a company or ownership of a functional research area. If you don’t have ownership there is no accountability or responsibility. This new position will provide a more structured environment with additional resources to help support the supply chain management research I will be leading. As a business owner I was focused on the research, delivery of services, finding new services, procuring, accounting and finance. As a business owner, you have to wear many hats. Coming into a role like the principal lead role, you don’t have to wear so many hats. The new position allows me to focus my efforts on the research.

Q. What attracted you to work at APQC and how did you know APQC was the perfect fit for you?

I have been working with APQC since 2008. I began using APQC's Process Classification Framework® (PCF) to update the  supply chain standards through the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). CSCMP and SCVisions were looking for a model that would allow us to look at the full organization or the entire business, as well as how each area of the business impacts the supply chain. We created benchmarks that could be used for each process and that would allow organizations to evaluate whether they are meeting the minimum standard required, what does best in class look like, is the organization at an advantaged positon or is there a major opportunity for the organization to improve what it is doing.

I have also worked with APQC as a subject matter expert on a number of research projects and written articles for the Knowledge Base, as well as spoken on webinars. I knew APQC’s reputation as the foremost authority in benchmarking and process improvement, and I was familiar with the culture. I knew it would be a good fit based on the culture of the organization, the people working at APQC, and my personality. 

Q. What are you most excited about coming into your new role?

The data that APQC collects from its Open Standards Benchmarking® (OSB) surveys presents an opportunity to conduct analysis that will provide insights not only into the performance of certain peer groups, but what is driving that performance.  There are so many questions that haven’t been explored from a practical standpoint, and I would like to take part in that exploration. Further defining supply chain management for organizations is also a research interest. I think organizations want to understand whether supply chain management is a functional area of the business and we treat it as a functional area, or do we treat it like a management philosophy. Nothing can run by itself, everything is interdependently linked. For example, an organization can’t ship a product unless capital and financing are involved to get the assets that will enable organizations to get the product to the customer.

Q. Let’s talk fun facts! Is there something that gets you really excited to discuss?

I LOVE wine! I love everything about wine. I’m really fascinated by how the grapes are grown, how it is made, what barrels did they use, the smells and flavors of wine, and especially how it is transported and stored for distribution.

APQC is happy to have Joe with us.


*Stay up to date with our upcoming supply chain management and product development research, webinars, and more by visiting our expertise page.

Follow Joe on Twitter:  @pfmgmt