Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Nov-Dec 2014 Contents 82 LAA NEWS
It is an unexpected honour to once again be
president of the LAA Ltd. I fully intend for my
tenure to be short, as my personal aim is to
transition the association into the next phase of
At the recent LAA Ltd Annual General Meeting
we presented the LAA Leadership in Logistics
Awards. I wish to congratulate the winners:
• The Robert Lamb Leadership in Logistics
Customer Support, Systems and Services
Award. Won by Asixa, a Victoria-based freight
distributor for achieving a DIFOT of 98%.
• The Malcolm Walker Leadership Innovation
in Supply Chain Operations Award. Won by
Manhattan Associates, for the SCALE platform
with it six modules supporting the supply
• The Kim Rothwell Leadership in Logistics
Education Award. Won by Urban Global, for
chain of responsibility training and consulting
solutions for the industry.
• The Larry Smith Leadership in Technology
Award. Won by Honeywell's Vo Collect, for
voice solutions in the warehouse.
• The Keith Campbell Leadership in Logistics
Mentoring Award. Won by ATSI (a majority
indigenous-owned employer) for developing
learning partnerships for employees with the
The occasion caused me to reflect on my own
journey to leadership in logistics. My adult life
has been focused upon being a leader in one of
human endeavour's most challenging professions --
the profession of arms. In this and the next edition
of MHD, I will write about formative leadership
experiences as a junior military logistician and then
provide some insights from these experiences.
From the Royal Military College, Duntroon, I
joined the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps
as a Supply Officer in 1982. I had met two fine
supply officers at Duntroon who strongly influ-
enced my career selection and demonstrated the
power of positive role models on a young person.
Duntroon also reinforced to me that education
should be for a purpose and should be life-long.
The early years in the Army are where you
learn and your mistakes are forgiven. I made
plenty as a young logistician, but they made
me better at my profession. My superiors fully
expected I would make mistakes and ensured
that I learned from them.
In 1983, I spent twelve months at the
Mangalore ammunition depot in Victoria. Safety
of our people was paramount. We allocated time
each week to review the safety arrangements of
every activity planned for the next week, and each
month formally reviewed the safety of our facilities.
When I headed north to Townsville in 1984,
two very experienced senior soldiers taught me
a great deal about logistic processes. This hit
home to me the importance of the relationship
between the junior leader and the senior
supervisors. I also learned that I did not have to
make all of the decisions, I could delegate.
I returned to Sydney in 1987 and joined a
mechanised Infantry Battalion. Being the sole
supply officer in a 500-strong Infantry Battalion,
there was no shortage of people prepared to test
my character - did I meet their standard, was I
one of them? I learned the lesson of being true
to myself. I didn't have to become one of them;
I just had to be a good supply officer. Their
trust did come and they valued the diversity of
thought that I brought to the battalion.
I toured the country with the 1988
Bicentennial Military Tattoo where I worked with
many 'truckies'. My eyes were opened to event
logistics and strategic movement. In event man-
agement, you need to have a sound project plan
and a good ability to react quickly to changed cir-
cumstances. I learned the Army had a very good
decision making process and I realised it needed
to be a core skill of mine as a logistics leader.
My first job with a computer on my desk
was in Canberra in 1989. Quickly, I learned
that emails were not an appropriate forum for
expressing rebellion or emotion. My boss was
a real people-person. He acted as a mentor
for me for the next five years. Mentoring is a
powerful device. There are few people in a
leadership position who would not benefit from
either a mentor or mentee relationship.
A further two and a half years at Duntroon
followed where I assessed officer cadets in
training. It reinforced to me that leading people
was not simply about issuing directions. It is
about guiding people down a path that they
know about and want to travel -- the 'narrative'
as it is called in politics. As a leader, your
behaviours, as well as your words, had to shape
In my final year as a junior leader, I served
on the Golan Heights and in South Lebanon
with the United Nations. I regularly observed
and reported clashes between Israeli forces and
fighters from 'Hezbollah'. It hit home to me that
my profession was one where I could be killed
and that my actions were subject to scrutiny.
In Part 2, I will provide insights from these
experiences during my formative years as a
leader in logistics.
Brigadier Allan A. Murray CSM is the
president of the Logistics Association of
Australia, Limited. Contact Allan at amurray@
LOGISTICS -- PART 1
"... my personal aim is to
transition the association
into the next phase of its
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS --- NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2014
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