New WERC Board President Gerald Perritt emphasizes organization’s relevance in changing industry
Monday, May 4, 2020
After a 32-year career spanning multiple roles in engineering, sales and operations management for contract, third-party logistics (3PL) solutions providers, Gerald Perritt started his own consulting firm at the start of 2020. As managing partner of The Perritt Group, he relishes the opportunity to help 3PLs with both operational and sales strategies, as well as with cultural and leadership development across multiple levels — from supervisors, to managers, to executives.
Perritt also intends to channel his passion for those topics into his new role as the 2020-2021 President of the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s (WERC) Board of Directors.
“I want to continue to help advance the organization, and to do that, we have to assess and determine what content is the most relevant to the current and future practitioners in the industry,” he says. “From supervisor to manager to executive, I want to make sure people in the industry continue to see value in the organization and to bring even more credibility to what WERC offers.”
Continues Perritt: “Even before the pandemic, everyone recognized our industry is changing; WERC is not only changing with it, but its also a place where people can gain a better understanding of how they can be a part of that change — instead of being caught up in it.”
Perritt himself has benefited from his own 20-year participation in WERC, leveraging both his networking connections and the educational sessions as his career developed. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, he initially found himself in a management training program for a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier, where he transitioned from operations to sales and engineering.
In 2000 he joined a South Carolina 3PL that was acquired by UTi Worldwide. The president of contract logistics, Bill Gates, was heavily involved in WERC, Perritt recalls. “He was a big believer in creating a learning organization,” he says. “Because of that, his team was encouraged to get involved as well.”
Perritt attended his first WERC Annual Conference in New Orleans, rarely missing an event since. After a decade, he was asked to join the WERC Board — something he readily agreed to do. He continued to serve on the Board throughout his last position as vice president of the U.S. contract logistics business unit at Kuehne + Nagel.
“There’s such a value in connecting with your industry peers,” he says, explaining his dedication to being a WERC volunteer. “Even if you work for a great company, being involved in an organization like WERC gives you an opportunity to network with people at your level whom you wouldn’t see or talk to everyday in your normal work environment.”
Perritt describes those connections as being almost therapeutic. “Whether you’re at a WERCouncil monthly or quarterly meeting or attending the Annual Conference, it’s easy to discuss with and relate to somebody who either has similar challenges, or who can help you look at things through a different lens,” he continues.
The educational content offered by WERC during webinars and Conference sessions — as well as the chance to step away from the day-to-day minutiae and focus on the bigger picture — is also something Perritt has valued throughout his career.
“Like most industry conferences, WERC chose to cancel the 2020 Annual Conference to protect our members, solutions partners, speakers, and staff,” he says. “WERC will, however, continue to provide relevant research and education to our members digital learning outlets, webinars, and — when permissible — WERCouncils and Conference. We are focused not only on assisting our members as they navigate through today, but also helping them assess risk and respond to future business disruptions.”
Most supply chain and distribution operations professionals are problem solvers who rely on facts and data to tackle what everyday issues, including disaster recovery and business continuity planning, concludes Perritt. “I think we would all agree this has taken on a whole new meaning. Consumers, stockholders, and insurance companies will demand that, within reason, future business disruptions resulting from supply chain and manufacturing issues are identified and addressed. Warehousing industry professionals are more than up to this task and WERC is a great resource to help companies be more proactive in the future.”
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