Thursday, March 20, 2008

Is a new WIRED model coming to Central/Western Maine?

[Lewiston-Auburn has a lot of positive things happening, particularly from an economic/workforce development perspective. Back in December, at our quarterly board meeting, for the Central/Western Maine Investment Board, an intriguing idea was brought forth by Paul Badeau, marketing director for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. Badeau talked about brought up the possibility of exploring avenues of economic growth tied to the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics ( or TDL), in industry parlance.

With Maine’s recent success through the North Star Alliance (NSAI) partnership, Bryant Hoffman, executive director of the Central Maine Workforce Investment Board initially met with Badeau in early January and has been pursuing the possibility of developing a similar WIRED model for TDL for Central/Western Maine.

Hoffman and NSAI Liaison, James Westhoff were in attendance at a two-day TDL Institute, in Memphis, March 18th and 19th.

Here is an overview, courtesy of Hoffman of the two day institute:]

What in the World Is TDL ?

TDL: Transportation, Distribution, Logistics. Making sure that the products and services people need and demand to lean on and live by are at the right place and the right time delivered as efficiently as possible within competitive profit margins.

TDL is the virtual glue holding the planet together: without its application life as we know it wouldn’t exist—locally, regionally, worldwide. TDL involves a wide application of products and human talent to market, develop, distribute, warehouse, assemble, sequence, deliver, and evaluate products and services using seaports, rivers, canals [the Panama and Suez, for examples], rail, highways, airways, and/or electronically.

Never slowing. Always growing. Always more competitive. Daily more sophisticated. Finding better delivery models and “unheard of” customer services. That’s TDL in a tight nutshell.

It’s a fast-paced, hands-on, active field that offers a wide variety of career and re-careering options to both wired “nerds” who can’t stand passive learning methods and “advanced degree” candidates who spin the next webs for effective product and service logistics. It’s one of those “secret” career paths that parents, teachers, guidance counselors, career development people frequently overlook or never even think of. A lot of folks don’t “get it”: TDL is itself a product—a product that everything else depends upon, since business development and growth depend on “just in time,” careful warehousing, inventory, and distribution in turn depending on people who can apply and train their many talents: people who can produce and package on line, operate forklifts, drive trucks, check and develop inventory, write programs for product distribution, design and engineer delivery systems, for examples.

Why the TDL Institute?

On March 18 and 19, the TDL Institute, a gathering instituted and managed through a partnership developed by the WIRED program in the Employment & Training Administration [ETA] in Washington, met and kind of “reinvented” itself at a gathering of public and private practitioners, business leaders and consultants, economic and career development professionals at all levels, educators and trainers offering a variety of TDL initiatives for training from 7th and 8th grade applications through PhD programs. The Institute convened at the University of Memphis (the “distribution center” of the US) at the FedEx Institute of Technology [The Fogelman Center]. The Institute did and made plans to do a number of things, including the following:
  • Continuing comprehensive review and interchange of information focused on this key industry cluster;
  • Exploring ways to make TDL a more “visible” container for virtually all of the world’s communication, services, and products;
  • Developing a web site (and BLOG] to actively track the “distribution” of programs and practitioners.

Key partners:

--Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

--US Department of Labor—Employment & Training Administration

--Global Insight

--Manufacturing Extension Partnership

--National Association of Manufacturers

--North Carolina State University. School of Business and Economics

--Power Transmission Distributors Association [PTDA]

--Herff College of Engineering, University of Memphis Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Studies

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