If you’re at a point in your career journey where you’re exploring new options in preparation for a possible change, then you may want to consider a career in logistics if your interests, background, and skill set align. It’s a growing field with lots of interesting challenges and opportunities for those who are up to the task.
Are you intrigued? Let’s take a closer look at the field and what a career in logistics might look like should you decide to take the plunge.
Let’s get some of the basics out of the way first. At its core, logisticians are typically tasked with analyzing and overseeing supply chain management (SCM) for a company and making sure that productivity and efficiency are maximized at every step. Depending on the size and scope of a business, the range of complexity and interconnected parts of the supply chain can vary wildly, so you may be tasked with coordinating a massive system that requires nonstop effort.
An understanding of today’s leading-edge data analysis and SCM software tools is important for achieving success in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of logisticians is projected to grow 4 percent over the next decade, and job prospects should be best for candidates who have experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.
Sure, this field can be stressful and time-consuming to say the least, but if you’re up to the task the good news is that opportunities abound for talented logisticians. Nearly every conceivable industry employs some type of SCM and logistics experts to oversee it—handling everything from vendor and supply management to shipping and receiving; addressing customer needs and issues; reviewing workflow, materials, and costs of goods; and a myriad of other crucial data analysis tasks to keep it all running smoothly.
Make no mistake, this can be a full-time job and then some—but those who find satisfaction in high-stress work environments where mission-critical decisions need to be quickly evaluated and made it can be a great career choice. With a median annual salary north of $75,000 (which can easily go much higher depending on the size of the company and complexity of the supply chain) it can also be quite rewarding.
The “on-paper” requirements for entering the field are pretty reasonable—typically an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field can get your foot in the door for an entry-level position. That said, there’s nothing more valuable than practical on-the-job experience in this field, especially for positions higher up the ladder. So, if this is a completely new endeavor for you, make sure you’re okay with starting at the bottom and think about volunteer and internship opportunities to help you get your feet wet—this will also help you make a decision about whether the field is a good fit for you, so it’s a real win-win.
Is Logistics right for you?
So, if your curiosity is piqued, how can you determine whether a career in logistics is right for you? A great place to start is to do a critical self-assessment to determine if you possess the following crucial skills—if you do, then it may be worth exploring further.
- Analytical skills. It goes without saying that an effective logistician has razor sharp skills in data analysis, mathematics, and statistics, including a thorough understanding of today’s operations and database management software. This can often be learned on the job, though some companies will require that you possess these skills as a cost of entry.
- Organizational skills. As noted previously, logisticians often have to manage incredibly complicated supply chain networks in order for their businesses to operate smoothly. This requires a meticulous attention to detail to ensure that nothing gets overlooked or neglected, in addition to keeping detailed records and multitasking for a wide variety of projects amidst an often-hectic environment.
- Problem-solving skills. Are you good at facing each workday with an array of unexpected and unforeseen issues that you’ll have to handle? The life of a logistician can be chaotic, with problems and challenges arising when least expected that you’ll have to quickly jump on, often when the pressure is on and the stakes are high. Often, overcoming these challenges will require you to be flexible, forward-thinking, adaptable, and dependable, in addition to having solid decision-making skills.
- Communication skills. The very best logisticians are often great communicators and must work closely alongside their teams, as well as with vendors, suppliers, customers, and everyone up and down the supply chain, to make sure everyone is involved and informed appropriately.
Are you interested in a career in logistics? If so, then use the information presented here to help you determine if it’s a wise career option for you. Good luck!