Photo courtesy of Amber Ainsworth.
Photo courtesy of Amber Ainsworth.


On November 12, the Supply Chain Association at the University of Michigan-Dearborn welcomed Helmut Nittmann to speak to students and faculty interested in parts supply and logistics.

Nittmann works in the Customer Service Division of Ford and is the Global Director for Service Parts Supply and Logistics. Parts supply and logistics works with dealerships that need to repair vehicles and involves buying parts, cataloguing parts, and performance management of said parts.

Nittmann has worked in the logistics industry for over 20 years and spoke on his experiences in the field. Specifically, he focused on Ford’s transformation to maximize growth and customer satisfaction while minimizing costs.

Nittmann’s biggest emphasis was on customer satisfaction and how important it is, especially in logistics.

He spoke about problems his division has faced in the past, mostly involving issues that revolved around not being able to make guarantees about when work would be done and when parts would be in. He then ran through how the company addressed the roadblocks they encountered, noting how potential workers in the field could learn from past downfalls.

After his short presentation, Nittmann opened up the discussion to the audience, participating in a question and answer session.

Questions ranged from how Nittmann sees the future of Ford Motor Company once its current president Alan Mulally eventually retires to the current problems his division faces to how smooth changes Ford Motor Company has made have been, among various other inquires.

Perhaps the most important question and response for not only students interested in working in logistics, but many other jobs students may seek after college, resulted in a multipart response.

When asked how he got a successful start in his field, Nittmann pondered for a moment, replying first by saying that you need to take every assignment given to you, no matter how you feel about it. He also said that those in the logistics field need to have high integrity and be hard workers, noting that you will build on experience.

Perhaps the biggest point he made was that the field and most other occupations as well, depends on how you treat other people. This not only includes the customers and your superiors, but everyone you encounter while working.

Nittmann ended his lecture after that, saying that the last question was “25 years in two minutes.”

He then was presented with a University of Michigan-Dearborn bag from the Supply Chain Association as thanks for his visit.