Insider Blog

Welcome to LTL Online Supply Chain Education with SMC³

By: Joe Tillman CTL, SCOR-P, CLTL, Manager, Education Programs

“It depends.”

As a former traffic clerk, I heard that a lot every time I asked a question. There was no straightforward, simple answer to any question that I had. In addition, I had to ask, “what does that mean?” several times a day as I was exposed to new terms and acronyms such as bobtail, cub, milk run, NMFC, reefer, and pup. There was not a clear path to better understand the industry except by asking a lot of questions. 

Fast forward 20 years when I was invited to join a group of industry professionals who wanted to change that dynamic.

In 2018, SMC³ partnered with to create an supply chain education program that is practical, relevant, and rigorous in developing the foundational knowledge that is needed for emerging less than truckload (LTL) professionals.

Shippers and carriers have all hired great talent from universities across the country, but the students didn’t know anything about transportation, let alone how LTL really works. The supply chain education program was designed to give them a baseline understanding of the market, how it operates, how pricing and costing are done, and the legal issues facing us all.

How do you prove that you really know LTL? You can earn a professional designation from SMC³ by taking the supply chain certification exam and be certified in less than truckload (CLTL).  

Given the changing nature of the industry, and the many ways people learn, we’ve added a Hybrid Series to the calendar.

In this live online setting, students meet with thought leaders in LTL on specific topics relevant to a course. We’ve covered topics including building your career in LTL, understanding the NMFC and how to apply it to your products, regulatory updates impacting LTL, and how analytics can optimize LTL decision making.

Past speakers included representatives from Averritt Express Lines, Southeastern Freight Lines, NMFTA, WorldWide Express, C.H. Robinson, ArcBest, Redwood Mexico (part of Redwood Logistics), Estes Express Lines, and Women in Trucking.

As we start a new year, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a few questions. Can I learn anything new? Are there people in my organization that don’t know the basics, and would be best served by learning more?

Learning, growing, challenging yourself to be the best are all attributes that make our professional lives interesting and fulfilling. Maybe you should take up the challenge?

I will be blogging on topics in LTL that have prompted the most questions from the learners in our courses. In addition, we can see what we—as leaders—can do to develop and promote our emerging LTL professionals.

This post is part of the Supply Chain Education series. To learn more, visit

About Joe

Joe Tillman is the manager of Education Programs at SMC³. He brings over 20 years of supply chain experience to his role, having worked in distribution and transportation with Walmart Logistics, the University of Georgia, as a conductor with Union Pacific Railroad, an assistant professor, and as a consultant helping shippers. Joe’s authored over 100 articles appearing in Supply Chain Management Review, Logistics Management, DC Velocity, Supply Chain Quarterly, Area Development, and Supply & Demand Chain Executive to name a few. In 2017, Joe was recognized by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Pro to Know.”  Joe is certified in transportation and logistics by APCIS (formerly AST&L), SCOR-Professional certified by APICS (formerly Supply Chain Council) and certified in less than truckload (CLTL) by SMC³. 

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Categories: Education, LTL, Supply Chain