Talking to a Rising Supply Chain Star: Christian Goehring, Avnet

Electronics companies, including OEMs, distributors, and component manufactures are working hard to attract and retain young talent. The good news is that it's working and many of these companies are feeling the impact that this new influx of supply chain professionals are making on the electronics industry.

Christian Goehring, logistics support supervisor at Avnet, one of the biggest global electronics distributors in the world, was recently recognized as part of the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition program, a jointly sponsored initiative of ThomasNet and Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Goehring started his career with Avnet as a technology consultant and the company soon recognized burgeoning talent and brought him into their supply chain to work on transportation issues.

Like many newbies to supply chain, Goehring wasn't aiming at a career in supply chain and logistics. He earned a master's degree in information management from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Now, though, he's combining the technology and analytical training to leverage big data to provide standout shipment solutions to Avnet's customers.

Christian Goehring, logistics support supervisor at Avnet

Christian Goehring, logistics support supervisor at Avnet

We recently got to talk to Goehring to ask him his thoughts on the electronics industry and the opportunities that a career in the supply chain provides.

EBN: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about a career in the electronics supply chain?

Goehring: Electronics distribution is an ever-evolving supply chain, which provides many challenges and opportunities due to market conditions and external influences. By entering the electronics supply chain field, you will be faced with dynamic situations, which while potentially challenging, provide excellent experience and growth opportunities.

You can prepare for a career in the electronics supply chain field by focusing on high-value and time-sensitive products, including computer components and hardware. Flexibility is also vital in success in any supply chain, as there are numerous variables that are out of your control. You must understand different macro-economic conditions and the inherent intricacies dealing with international suppliers, such as their customs and ways of conducting business. This industry offers great personal satisfaction as you could have an important role in managing a company's supply chain. Your decisions have a direct impact on your company's ability to service their end customers appropriately.

EBN: Tell us a little about your role in the organization. How do you see your role evolving over time? 

Goehring: At Avnet, my primary role is to analyze all freight and transportation data for Avnet's logistics operations in the Americas. This includes providing details for business reviews with carriers, to supporting and analyzing all carrier-related RFQs, and providing actionable data to the senior management team. Due to my analytical abilities, I am often directly involved with decisions that impact Avnet's productivity and bottom line. Over time, I see my role evolving into a more global capacity to better support Avnet's global logistics operations.

What are the biggest challenges in terms of getting beyond old school attitudes and ways of doing things? What evolution do you see younger workers bringing to the organization?  

Goehring: During my time in the electronics supply chain role at Avnet, I operate in a fully digital capacity, which I understand is different from the old way of doing things. However, due to the nature of my work, and my utilization of reporting and analytic tools, everything is digital. As long as I am able to generate actionable outputs, I am not challenged for my methods. As Big Data becomes more prevalent in everyday operations, a transition to digital processing is not only necessary; it is the only way to handle massive amounts of data. I am a strong proponent of the “work smarter, not harder” mentality, and by using the tools at my disposal, I am able to complete the same tasks in less time. I believe younger workers have the ability to disrupt the old school mentality by bringing new ideas and methods to complete existing tasks more efficiently.

EBN: What help and support have mentors offered you?

Goehring: My mentors have been more than supportive in ensuring that I have all the tools necessary to successfully complete my day-to-day duties. Having support from mentors is essential to drive productivity and personal growth. I strongly believe having a strong mentor program and allowing the next generation of employees to introduce new concepts and ideas are key components for electronics OEMs to become employers of choice for the next generations of supply chain managers.

EBN: What else would you like to say about supply chain as a career or your experiences?

Goehring: Having entered the supply chain industry from a highly technical role within Avnet, I was not aware of everything that is encompassed in the term “supply chain.” Since entering the supply chain field, I have been challenged, have experienced a large amount of personal growth, and better understand the supply chain and logistics required to ensure successful customer interactions. While the supply chain field is vastly different from what I learned in earning my IT degrees, I feel that my technical background and understanding of systems have aided my ability to complete my job to the best of my ability.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

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