The on-going evolution of the supply chain in the logistics industry is prompting us to think about what its future looks like. More and more industry experts from all parts the supply chain are influencing this future. From the physical movement of goods to technology development, supply chain thought leaders are optimizing the old and introducing some new. Here are just a few industry thought leaders to keep your eye on:

What is a supply chain thought leader?

The supply chain ecosystem’s dynamic is actively transforming in congruence with today’s world and we’re seeing how its culture is adapting and ultimately reinventing itself. The industry’s collective expertise and experience make up the innovative minds cultivating the big ideas that are molding the supply chain’s future. These thought leaders and influencers are heading changes around things like technology trends, policy changes and talent development.

Following these changes, the logistics industry has become illimitably diverse in its capabilities. In turn, the acquisition of advanced capabilities surfaces new challenges. These new challenges open opportunistic doors for newer, more dynamic solutions.

Thought leaders are guiding the industry through this sequence, contributing to growth and advancement of supply chain solutions.

Group of people raising their hands

Bradley Jacobs

CEO and Chairman, XPO Logistics

Bradley “Brad” Jacobs isn’t new to the scene. Known as the thought leader behind consolidation of freight brokerage segments, Brad went on to obtain his last mile objectives at XPO Logistics, integrating logistics services with major mergers and acquisitions- something that was unprecedented in the aughts. Since the success of this rollup strategy 20 years ago at United Rentals, Inc., he’s changed third party logistics and as CEO at XPO logistics, he’s still trailblazing.

Brad has led supply chain suppliers by example, demonstrating the efficiency of consolidation in the supply chain and revenue patterns affirmed the game-changing strategy. So what’s the business savvy chairman up to today?

Artificial intelligence. XPO launched a productivity system this year and we’re hearing fun buzz words like “predictive analytics” and “collaborative robots.” Optimization in warehouse management is pivotal in the supply chain management today. Labor productivity systems, like XPO’s, could be the technology that logistics operators didn’t know they needed, until now.

Brad’s notable M&As and keen business investments influenced the way we conceptualize consolidation and how the rest of us run our supply chains, particular third party providers like RTD. We already know the relevance of things like route optimization and warehouse automation so knowing what we know about Mr. Jacobs, we can expect XPO’s cutting edge optimizations to make a mark on the supply chain.

Read about XPO’s new labor productivity system, click here.

Read about Brad’s recent plans to grow XPO, here.

Check out Brad on LinkedIn, here.


Kathy Wengel

EVP & Chief Global Supply Chain Officer, Johnson & Johnson

This year, Kathy Wengel was the recipient of AWESOME’s Distinguished Service Award. AWESOME’s (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management & Education) organization focuses on the advancement of women in supply chain management. Kathy, an AWESOME advisor, represents the organization’s values with her 31 years of innovative work in the industry.

After experiencing the leaps of innovation in the supply chain over the last 30 years at Johnson & Johnson, Kathy seems to be as focused as ever on the future of the supply chain. She recognizes in her remarks at the AWESOME awards ceremony that she is contributing to an “exciting, rewarding – and rapidly changing,” profession.

Kathy is responsible for the supply chain solutions at Johnson & Johnson that deliver SKUs, impacting some of  the world’s foremost healthcare challenges like HIV, Ebola and cancer. Her influence on the industry exemplifies how leadership can alter the supply chain’s future. And in her case, alter the trajectory of the world’s healthcare.

With a commitment to advancement in supply chain management and the industry’s future, Kathy is a supply chain thought leader to watch out for.

Great ideas and breakthrough solutions can come through strategic collaborations. And as we all work within the ever-accelerating march of technology and faster social changes, the role of CSCMP and AWESOME becomes more critical. We look to each other to lead the way across industries, offering venues for us to stay current, stay connected, and to facilitate the sharing of idea.

Read her full remarks at the AWESOME award, here.


Brian Tobey

Corporate Vice President of Manufacturing, Supply Chain Information & Services, Microsoft

Brian Tobey is an operations expert. He oversees the end-to-end physical and digital supply chains for all of Microsoft’s hardware and software products. But Brian’s 28 years of experience have amounted to more than just operational expertise.

More and more, companies are learning the value of investing in young leadership. Microsoft subscribes to this philosophy- then takes it a step further. Brian heads “Grad Week,” a program created exclusively for new hires.

An increased boom in university supply chain programs, following the industry’s growing need for talent, has forced companies to rethink the future of not only the supply chain, but the future of the supply chain profession. Microsoft’s Grad Week program suggests that talent and skill development starts early on in a career. Brian Tobey is leading what could reframe talent acquisition in the supply chain.

Brian’s operational expertise gives him unique, first hand insights into the needs of the supply chain. And since it’s widely accepted that logistics providers are wise to invest in intangible assets, like skill and expertise, programs like Grad Week are added value. Incorporating executive-level insights and experience into early talent development can enrich the inventions of young supply chain professionals.

Today’s evolving supply chain is calling for skill and leadership at an innovative level. Who better than our young supply chain professionals?

Read about Microsoft’s “Grad Week”, here.


The industry’s thought leaders are important in thinking about the future of the entire supply chain.

At RTD Logistics, we act as thought leaders for every individual client. Our diverse, innovative capabilities allow us to create dynamic solutions to your challenges.

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