At no other time in recent years has the importance of the supply chain been more obvious. The Financial Times reports that developments in digital technology are having a transformative effect on the industry, and with employee priorities changing rapidly too, the roles available in logistics are adjusting to require new skills and abilities. For those looking for a career change or a new role in logistics, what are the areas to focus on to access a fresh and challenging occupation?
Get the basics right
In logistics, the end customer is always the focus. How will goods and services be efficiently delivered in a timely manner? It’s the job of any successful logistics company to understand and invest in making sure this happens – and having the right staff in the right roles is a key element of any successful supply chain business that wishes to constantly improve upon customer satisfaction and relationships.
To work in logistics, an excellent understanding of people is also very important. Building relationships with a wide range of people, working well within a team, having excellent organizational skills and practical experience of conflict management (including minimising levels and actively identifying solutions) are all essential components within a logistics position – when it comes down to it, an effective supply chain is just a series of relationships from one end to another. Pursuing a career in logistics may require different levels of qualifications or experience, but relationship management will always be at the core.
The area of major change in logistics is technology. As a competitive industry, staying on top of the latest innovation is a must for those businesses that value their reputation and pride themselves on providing excellent service. Consequently, those wishing to undertake a career in logistics must be equally enthusiastic about, and understanding of, the latest technology and trends which boost and support services in order to achieve the best results for everyone.
An effective logistics employee should therefore possess the skills to analyse existing systems and make recommendations for improvement, demonstrating how investment will achieve rewards and meet current and future business needs. Implementation of new systems will run in tandem with regular review and should offer the flexibility to adapt and integrate additional or replacement processes and technology as required. A developed understanding of the Internet of Things and the implications of real-time data access upon supply chain capabilities, alongside knowledge of blockchain technology, digital ledgers, and tracking and scanning solutions will assist prospective employees in standing out from the crowd.
A role in logistics has always been demanding, often including long hours and a lot of travel – but like many sectors, logistics is experiencing changes in the way people and systems work. Digital technology and a rise in connectivity have reduced the need for travel and face to face meetings, and many logistics businesses are also shortening supply chains where possible to cut expenses and time in the face of rising costs and requirements for import and export of goods. Employees who can demonstrate excellent lone working skills, time management and prioritization, and are adept in undertaking risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis, will be well placed when applying for a logistics position.
There is a wide range of roles available in the logistics sector, whatever stage of their career an applicant is at – and for all, relationship management and adaptability are key elements. Keeping on top of the latest tech is a really important aspect of logistics, and this seems likely to continue in a world that is rapidly evolving to ensure that people have access to and receive the things they want at the times they need them.