Logistics is critical in maintaining an organisation’s competitive advantage. It describes the management of activities associated with the planning and movement of materials, parts and finished goods across companies, together with the information flow that accompanies it. It is a crucial process enabling organisations to provide their customers with the desired product on time, competitively priced and in the right quantity and quality. It involves:
- Managing the supply chain which incorporates purchasing and supplier management
- Materials management and manufacturing
- Inventory management and warehousing
- Distribution and transport
- Customer service.
An effective logistics process will result in cost savings, reduced inventory, improved efficiency and improved delivery time.
Career opportunities in logistics
Graduate programmes are available both in-house and through specialist logistics service providers. Although programmes vary in content, they generally involve rotating between departments such as transport, freight forwarding and warehousing. Graduate roles typically involve exposure to material planning, customer services, inventory management, transportation and material flow.
Promotion to the role of logistics manager is a clear progression route. Logistics managers are responsible for liaising with purchasing, warehouse and transport departments in order to ensure goods are received on time, stored correctly, and delivered within agreed timeframes. The role also incorporates responsibility for monitoring stock levels, overseeing the ordering, re-ordering and packaging process, route planning, and tracking the movement of goods. It involves keeping up to date with customs procedures and international transport regulations.
Who would it suit?
Key skills include: a results focus, initiative, flexibility, self-motivation, and a commercial understanding of how IT facilitates supply chain management. Accuracy, attention to detail and excellent organisational, problem solving and planning skills are also required. Interpersonal skills are crucial, as a significant part of the role involves liaising with suppliers and customers. While graduates from all disciplines will be considered, a second language can be an advantage.
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