Thinking about a career in logistics? With nearly 25,000 new job openings projected per year over the next decade, opportunities for supply chain specialists to impact this exciting (and essential) industry are increasingly abundant.
Today we highlight five core abilities logisticians of the future will need to handle whatever supply chain challenges come their way.
1. Problem-Solving Skills
Strong problem-solving skills are a must if you want to be successful in the logistics industry. Supply chain management largely consists of piecing together cost-effective shipping plans amidst ever-changing conditions. This requires the ability to synthesize data from a variety of sources, identify (and even anticipate) potential obstacles and both objectively analyze and implement potential solutions.
Those working in logistics tend to have a natural talent for problem-solving, but all of us can take steps to further hone our skills:
- Practice being an active listener. Great problem-solvers are also great listeners. They take time to gather information and make sure they have all of the facts before trying to identify or solve the problem.
- Practice identifying cause and effect. Tracing effects back to one root cause can help you evade future supply chain complications when similar conditions arise.
2. People Skills
Supply chains are often based more on personal connections than many people realize. That’s why great logisticians have excellent people skills.
Supply chain managers work with suppliers to ensure materials are delivered on time, manage warehouse personnel and negotiate rates with carrier partners. The more contacts a supply chain expert develops within the industry, the larger their available shipping network will become — and the more resources they’ll have to draw upon when disaster strikes.
Reputation is also extremely important in logistics. Positive, long-lasting relationships with others in the industry reap much greater rewards than those with a reputation for being dishonest or difficult to work with.
3. Organization and Management Skills
Healthy supply chains are in constant motion, and a successful logistician has to be able to keep track of all the moving parts. To do this well, logisticians need to quickly define their priorities even as conditions continuously shift.
When shipments fall through the cracks, the entire supply chain suffers. Great logisticians work tirelessly to master the skills required to multi-task. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing several things at the exact same time, but rather learning how to properly balance an array of important tasks to keep things running smoothly.
4. Adaptation Skills
Even the best-laid plans can fall through in logistics — and supply chain managers have to be flexible enough to adapt quickly when they do. Shipping delays, damaged goods, mechanical failure, inaccurate inventory and extreme weather events are just a few of the reasons a standard operation might require an alternative solution at a moment’s notice.
Those who avoid panic and focus instead on entirely new shipping solutions will last much longer in the industry compared to those who have a hard time deviating from a set plan.
As you gain experience in the industry, you’ll start to develop a feel for some of the most common problems and methods to overcome them. Each situation you face will give you a new solution or backup plan to add to your logistics arsenal, so you’ll be even more prepared to take on whichever challenge comes next.
5. Crisis Management Skills
The logistics work environment is genuinely fast-paced. This can add a considerable amount of pressure to perform the job as quickly and efficiently as possible. The ability to keep a clear head and stay calm under pressure is a vital skill that all supply chain managers must have, especially in crisis situations.
Disruptions are an inevitable part of the job — experienced logisticians keep their emotions in check when tensions are high, reassuring other members of the team and working to analyze the problem to find the next best solution.
While these aren’t the only skills that make for a long, successful logistics career, with these five in your repertoire you’ll be ready for anything the industry can throw at you.
Ready to start your new logistics career? Join the First Call Team!