The Logistics Profession has Changed!

The Logistics Profession Has Changed!

The opportunities and skills needed in the modern supply chain are vastly different than they were 20, 10 even 5 years ago.  It is no longer a profession limited to the movement of goods from the receiving dock to the shipping dock.  It has become much bigger and more complex than the four walls of a dusty warehouse.  The pace of change has left organizations scrambling to find workers that fit the new mold.

Due to the gap in talent most organizations have had to establish internal training programs to develop individuals from other disciplines to fill needs.  This gap should be encouraging to ambitious young professionals as it will provide significant career opportunities but only for that that make a commitment to the profession.  The logistics & supply chain profession has a lot of facets and like most professions it takes time and experience to master it.

 The Modern Logistics Professional

For those that are interested the modern Logistics & Supply Chain profession offers a unique intersection of people, process, technology & data that can add a lot of value in an organization.  In fact, in some organizations the logistics & supply chain groups are driving business strategy instead of just enabling decisions made by sales & marketing.

A logistics professional continues to be exposed to the traditional touch points of the supply chain, the warehouse floor, the transportation network, the purchasing teams…etc but increasingly there is a need to go beyond this.

Today the logistics professional needs to be comfortable interacting with a spectrum of people internally and externally.  Logistics professionals more than ever need to come along side IT to solve technical problems to enable a more efficient supply chain.  It is critical that they partner with sales & customer to understand evolving needs to better plan the future of the supply chain.  These changes need to be clearly collaborated on with vendors partners to ensure a healthy collaboration.

A logistics professional has always been drawn to defining & improving process but in today’s chain it is no longer sufficient to focus on ones silo.  In order for companies to survive all logistics employees need to see their processes in the context of the bigger picture.  All process adjustments impact others throughout the supply chain.

Like many industries technology is changing the logistics profession in dramatic ways.  Traditional Enterprise Recourse Planning systems were never designed manage the complexity of the modern supply chain.  As a result, supply chain professionals have had to build and purchase a spectrum of third party applications that often their IT departments are unprepared to support.  These systems include but are not limited to warehouse management, transportation optimization, forecasting, purchasing, and network optimization systems.

One of the most overlooked skills needed in the modern supply chain is that it needs logistics professionals that are capable of organizing and interpreting massive amounts of data.  The new technologies driving the supply chain produce more raw data than ever before.  Traditional measurements like service rate & inventory turns are not sufficient at producing a reliable supply chain that delights the customer and is cost effective.  It needs individuals that are capable of synthesizing data into measurements that explain the past and proscribe solutions for the future.

 The Spectrum of Roles

The logistics profession offers a spectrum of roles and my advice to an aspiring logistics professional is to just start.  Starting is more important than determining the perfect career path within the Logistics profession.  Any of the disciplines across the supply chain will give an aspiring professional the opportunity to explore the various options a logistics career has to offer.  More importantly, forecasting, purchasing, warehouse management & transportation are all so interconnected that it is now expected that logistics professionals have exposure to more than one discipline.

My hope is that over the next year I can offer some further detail into the key roles, responsibilities & attributes of the logistics profession.

Over the next year I will be highlighting in more detail some of the key roles, responsibilities & attributes of a logistics professional.

Robert