Insights & News

Shipping Managers, it’s Football Season. That Means We Should Talk About Specialization.

Posted On September 11, 2017

The last full-time two-way player in the NFL was Chuck Bednarik, a center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949-1962. Bednarik, who passed away in 2015, was a Hall of Famer known for his hard-hitting style and for knocking Frank Gifford unconscious with one particularly fierce tackle. In fact, Bednarik’s nickname was “Concrete Charlie.” But Bednarik’s nickname didn’t come from his playing style.

It came from his off-season career as a concrete salesman.

That was in the NFL in the era before specialization took hold: small, often regional, and the furthest thing from what it is today. Even players like Bednarik, who was listed by the NFL Network in 2010 as the NFL’s 35th greatest player of all time, couldn’t support their family solely by playing the sport.

While specialization isn’t the only reason the NFL grew into the multi-billion-dollar behemoth it is today, it certainly played a role. Bednarik’s durability and skill as a two-way player was the exception, not the rule. Specialization helped make players more durable, made the game more exciting, and did what specialization does in every industry:

Allowed talented people to focus on doing what they do best, which in turn improves performance across the entire team. Chuck Bednarik was a really good offensive lineman. However, he was a great linebacker. Had the Eagles focused his talent exclusively on defense, they might have won even more games and championships during his time with the team. That’s why later players with Bednarik’s skill at one position weren’t asked to play both sides of the ball, and why the NFL became a league based on specialization.

However, had Bednarik been told to focus on utilizing his talents in the most productive way possible, there is a good chance he would have felt like he was less valuable to the team.

(Of course, men in the 1950s named “Concrete Charlie” who played pro football without a face mask probably wouldn’t have been too open about their insecurities, but deep down even tough guys feel something.)

At Flat World Supply Chain, we occasionally see a similar concern from shipping managers. The fear is that our technology is intended to make shipping managers expendable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our solutions aren’t designed to replace shipping managers. They are designed to help shipping managers take their performance to the next level. Our technology allows shipping managers to be more specialized and to focus their talents on the tasks and functions that make the most of their skill, judgment, knowledge, and experience. We firmly believe that a team achieves excellence when its members can utilize their talents in the most value-added ways possible. That’s how we manage our own team at the Flat World Holdings family of companies—and it’s the same approach we bring to a partnership with your shipping department.

As a shipping manager, you might be really good at doing it all, but by partnering with Flat World Supply Chain, you can bring your performance to the next level of excellence.That’s our goal with every shipping manager and department we work with: to help you achieve excellence by helping you specialize in doing what you do best. (P.S.: Whether it’s college or the NFL, enjoy football season!)