Linda Green

Director of Operations, NTN Bearing Corporation of America

Education

Undergraduate degree in business from University of Montana, Missoula, Montana and an MBA in Operations Management from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Specialized areas of Expertise

Supply Chain Strategy. Integrated Logistics-including inventory management, transportation, warehousing, procurement, and manufacturing.

Years of Experience

Over 25 years of experience

Professional memberships/associations/certifications?

I belong to Council of Supply Chain Management and OESA (Original Equipment Suppliers Association). In the past I have also belonged to APICs and WERC.

W&L: Current role and responsibilities within it?

LG: I am the Director of Operations at NTN Bearing Corporation of America. Globally, NTN is the world’s third largest bearing manufacturer. I am responsible for NTN’s transportation, warehousing, and inventory in the U.S.

W&L: Tell Us A Little About Yourself What Ship-Shapes You? (Tell us about your career goals, what drives you as a woman in Logistics?)

LG: In my current company and always, I have strived to make the supply chain drive tangible value to a company’s overall strategic direction as well as financially to the company’s bottom line. In many cases the importance of supply chain is still undervalued or unrecognized. One of my goals is to gain recognition for the importance of supply chain and the role it plays within a company, through driving excellence in supply chain service and cost performance.

I also very much enjoy coaching and helping others learn and be successful at their jobs. Recently I participated with the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management to critique student’s internship presentations and afterwards meet with them to discuss “our lessons learned.” At NTN we are also working hard to improve performance. This means we need to both bring in new talent and help our current team understand what are the requirements to achieve excellence.

W&L: Have you received any special recognition for your work? What is a career highlight?

LG: Yes, I was selected as one of NTN's MVP, and I received the Triple Diamond award at Navistar for leadership while working in the Service Parts organization. While at Accenture I received the Thought Leadership Award in Supply Chain for my work in inventory management.

One of my career highlights was when I was the managed an Accenture supply chain project at US Airways. When we first arrived, the US Airways team did not want to work with us because they didn’t think we knew anything, especially about airplanes. Our objective was to help US Airways better manage service inventory for their fleet of planes. Our team worked very hard to integrate with US Airways, understand their business, and figure out where they needed help. By the time we left, we had developed new tools and processes which were fully integrated, and the US Airways project head went on record with Gartner on the quality of our work.

W&L: Success Factors?

LG:

  1. The ability to think strategically and not get mired in the day to day requirements.
  2. Recognition of the importance of people, building a team, providing leadership and encouragement
  3. Placing value on others’ ideas and collaboration-working well with peers
  4. A strong work ethic

W&L: What drew you to working in logistics/supply chain management? Planned or fell into it?

LG: When I was in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, I had an excellent professor in the area of logistics-Fred Beier. His classes were the most interesting. He helped get me a part time job in transportation management which opened my eyes to how fun supply chain could be. For my final paper, he supported me to interview several major companies in Minneapolis to understand the relationship of their organizational structure to integrated logistics. I was sold when I had the opportunity to do an internship at General Mills with real assignments such as negotiating a contract for flour and filling in as an inventory analyst. I thought then that Supply Chain was the “last frontier” of untapped opportunity to really make a difference in a company’s success. I was able to land my first job as an inventory analysis with Land O’Lakes which was one of the companies that I met through my work at the University of Minnesota.

W&L: How has the business changed since you have joined?

LG: E Commerce - use of the computer for all aspects of business. Being computer illiterate is not an option in using systems. Using the internet as a valuable research tool, staying connected with others.

Global economy - the need to be able to understand and function as part of a global team of customers, suppliers, and co-workers.

A multi-cultural, diverse work force and more of a focus on life balance

W&L: Would you recommend logistics as a career choice?

LG: Definitely. Logistics can make or break a company. To be successful you have to work across the company with Customers, Sales, Manufacturing, IT, and Finance. Often you are out in the “field” making it happen - visiting plants, suppliers, warehouses - making sure the product is moving. You need to keep updated with what is going on in the field with systems, technology and communication. Logistics continues to change and evolve, to me, it is always fun and challenging.

W&L: Have you ever felt that you were at a disadvantage being a woman in logistics?

LG: I have had the opportunity to grow my career and be in jobs traditionally held primarily by men. Although I think the bar is sometimes held higher for women, the best way to be successful is to do a great job, document it and communicate results.

Also, I think that in some cases relationships are developed outside of work with activities like golf. I don’t think women who are new to an organization are always invited to these types of outings. The best way to overcome this is to be proactive about joining in and expressing an interest in being included.

W&L: Any advice for women entering the field?

LG: Being smart just gets you in the door. Your ability to network and develop collaborative relationships with customers, suppliers, and your peers is the key to success. Don’t “protect your turf”- being strong enough to let others in and offer their suggestions and advice only makes you and your team stronger.

W&L: What is your Favorite Online Logistics Resource?

LG: I really don’t have one. I use the internet widely to research topics such as Sales and Operations Planning, WMS, TMS, etc. Wikipedia often comes up as a good first step. Also, software vendor sites often have a wealth of information and free white papers. Of course, I use CSCMP and also visit the APICs and WERC sites also.

Favorite quote or words to live by?

“Leadership -The art of getting someone else to get something done because he/she wants to do it.

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.

~ Andre Gide