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Business is a massive field, and some career paths and degrees are better understood than others. You’re not interested in becoming a CEO at some prestigious firm. You just want a degree that will help you find the kind of job satisfaction you’ve been seeking—things you have yet to find in your current job. That’s where a supply chain management comes in.

A career in logistics—what does that even mean? You might have a basic understanding of what this field is about, but you definitely want to know more about a career in logistics before you start making any big plans for your future. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what logisticians do and what you can expect from a career in this crucial field.

Of course, before you’re convinced of that, you likely have a few questions: What does a supply chain management career entail? What can you do with a supply chain management degree? What is a typical supply chain management salary? We have the answers to those questions and more!

What is supply chain management?

Before learning about supply chain management careers, it’s important to understand the field itself. Put simply, supply chain management—also commonly referred to as logistics—is all about the production, shipment and distribution of products. It covers everything from inventory to sales, and is an important element of any business that makes and sells products.

Professionals in this field must work closely with others to acquire everything they need. More importantly, they need to ensure it’s all completed on time and within budget. There are several important supply chain job duties that will vary depending on the exact position.

There are several key components of the overall supply chain and logistics process, including:

  • Investment recovery
  • Distribution
  • Inventory control
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing supervision
  • Materials management
  • Packaging
  • Procurement and purchasing
  • Product and service development
  • Quality control
  • Receiving
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Transportation and shipping
  • Warehousing and storage

Most professionals in the field are focused on just one or a few of these areas. Even so, it’s helpful to have a fundamental understanding of the entire system and how different supply chain positions work together, particularly as you look to advance in your field.

The logistics industry has a plethora of career opportunities to explore. And as 2020 approaches, it seems that even more positions are opening up. From becoming a supply chain management superstar to engineering solutions, the industry is filled with opportunities.

However, passionate candidates must also have the right education, experience, and on-hands training. With the growth of the global logistics industry, the need to fill several supply chain careers is expanding as well. Some of them are quite lucrative and offer candidates multiple career paths that can range from entry-level to corporate management. 

Additionally in India, the union budget 2021-22 presented by Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman increased the infrastructure spending significantly with focus on new economic corridors, improved road, railway infrastructure and push towards digitalisation, which bolstered the Indian Logistics sector. There is an ocean of job opportunities waiting for people to grab in this sector.

10 Skills You Should Have To Be a Successful Logistics Manager

1. Forward Thinking

As a logistics manager, you must develop the ability to make accurate predictions of the possible needs of your company, as well as outcomes of actions made anywhere in the entire supply chain. Such skill will allow you to act faster, see risks that may arise, and develop contingency plans for problems that may or may not arise. Always think and plan ahead. As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Strong Numerical and Analytical Skills

A good logistics manager does not necessarily have to be a graduate of a mathematics or statistics degree, although it can be a plus. As long as you know how to read and analyze data, and make interpretations that are useful to the company, you will make a fine career in logistics. For those who want to take their data analyzing skills to the next level, there are several universities and MBA institutions that offer quality master’s degree programs in data analytics.

3. Extensive Industry Knowledge

Equipping yourself with information on the latest happenings and trends in supply chain is essential to being an effective logistic manager. A good start for a logistics manager’s education is taking a look at and how to calculate freight class and understanding how class is determined. Given that it is an ever evolving industry, you as a logistics manager, must ensure that your company’s supply chain is running in the most efficient way. Take time to do research on other companies’ processes, and benchmark on their best supply chain practices.

4. Team player

Being a good logistics manager is acknowledging that the success of every aspect of the supply chain is a group effort. Forbes offers ways you can be a leader to your team effectively, but you can start by allocating tasks wisely, paying attention to the team’s efforts, and learning to commend good work among your teammates. When it comes to working with other teams or units in the supply chain, it pays to treat everyone with respect and professionalism.

5. Keen attention to detail

The supply chain has numerous tiers and components. As such, logistics managers have plenty of responsibilities on their plate. As in most jobs (even those outside of the logistics industry), being organized and paying attention to even the smallest of details in your work is a must. As a logistics manager, you can come up with a system you can be comfortable with in reviewing and keeping tabs on things as efficient and fast as possible.

6. Sound Decision-making

A logistics manager like you must be able to make sound decisions and do it FAST. Although there will always be unforeseen circumstances when in the supply chain industry, being as prepared as possible can help you make better decisions. If you think you are not the best decision-maker, don’t fret just yet! This skill, along with a few more in this list, can be learned and mastered as you go along in your career in logistics.

7. Adaptability

“The only thing that is constant is change”. This famous quote by Greek philosopher Heraclitus is relevant to working in a supply chain. No matter how early you finished your planning, prepared all the paperwork, and finalized all the details of your transactions, unexpected things always seem to find their way to surface. Problems and last-minute changes are almost totally inevitable in a logistics manager’s day-to-day life, so always be quick on your feet to welcome change and make the necessary adjustments.

8. Accountability

Even just by the sound of it, a logistics manager seems like an imperative position in a company. But just like any other position, it has its fair share of consequences. When things did not go as planned, logistics managers must be ready to take responsibility for the blunder. A good logistics manager doesn’t play the blame game, and must know when and how to own up one’s mistakes and even take a bullet for the teammates and the company.

9. Quick Follow-through

Once you’re done with mastering the art of being organized, one thing you also have to learn as a logistics manager is following up with each component of the supply chain and making ensuring an important delivery gets to where it ought to be. Get involved in the process from the start right until the very end. If a problem arises along the way, take note of this and find possible solutions you can use, just in case it happens again in the future. Experience can be a very good teacher in the logistics industry.

10. Good Interpersonal Skills

Since your work requires you to deal with people from all walks of life—from workers and bosses, to suppliers and clients, you need to make a good connection with everyone you transact with. There is little to zero room for miscommunication both in the face-to-face and written form in the logistics industry.

For many, the idea of pursuing a career in logistics probably isn’t even on their radar. But now that you know more about this challenging-yet-rewarding global profession, you should have a better idea of whether it’s an option that’s right for you.

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