Critical Logistics Skills Vary by Position
An order picker works at a factory or a warehouse. They are in charge of completing incoming orders and delivering them to the shipping department. While this work does not need a college education or a high level of technical expertise, it does necessitate the following key abilities to guarantee orders are handled properly and on time:
- Focus. The ability to read detailed written orders or listen carefully to verbal orders, day in and day out, no matter how hectic the environment becomes.
- Organization and attention to detail. Order picking priority may be affected by a number of factors, including rush orders or a hold due to low stock levels. The order picker must keep the orders organized accordingly to ensure that no orders get lost.
- Physical strength and stamina. Continually pulling parts or products from the shelf can be physically demanding. It’s important that order pickers are in good enough shape to do the job.
- Good team player. Order pickers must work in concert with procurement and production staff, as well as the shipping department. They all must work cooperatively to meet customer demand; there is no room for difficult personalities or loners.
- Accountable. Each member of a logistics team, including order pickers, must accept full responsibility for completing their assigned tasks to the best of their ability, understanding that their efforts have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
A logistics manager must be able to handle several moving components in the supply chain process. Logistics managers do not need a college education, but they must have past logistics management experience as well as a proficiency with numbers and analytics. This is a high-pressure position that is not for the faint of heart. When something unavoidably goes wrong—for example, when a manufacturing run fails and a critical product element is suddenly in limited supply—it can have a cascading impact, causing a slew of additional issues. A logistics manager must be able to cope with quickly changing conditions and efficiently handle difficulties. Logistics managers must also have the following skills:
- Organization and attention to detail. Logistics is all about planning, scheduling and delivering goods on time which requires incredible attention to detail and follow through.
- Results driven. Logistics is all about the results: delivering products intact and on time. The manager is responsible for making this happen.
- Good communication with excellent powers of persuasion. Multiple moving parts means there is a need for excellent communications skills internally, as well as externally. Logistics managers must be in close communication with other members of the team to ensure they’re on the same page. At the same time, they must be able to communicate effectively with vendors, shippers, and customers for optimum relationship management.
- Conflict resolution. Logistics is a fast-moving area of operations with a lot of moving parts and personnel. Inevitably, conflicts will arise that need to be resolved immediately to avoid mistakes and a slowdown in work.
- Critical thinking. Logistics managers must be able to anticipate events and outcomes, and formulate contingency plans.This entails being able to think about big picture issues as well as detailed plans of action simultaneously.
- Adaptability. Logistics involves rapidly changing conditions; the manager must be able to change course, as necessary.
- Cool under pressure. Logistics is a high-pressure field which may not be for everyone. One wrong move and a customer delivery is delayed, costing the company money and perhaps future business. The manager must be able to calmly work to solve the problem.
Examples of Other Logistics Jobs:
An efficient logistics operation requires exceptional workers along every step of the supply chain. Here’s a list of other typical logistics jobs:
- licensed CDL drivers
- order packers
- data entry specialists
- production supervisors
- returns processors
- licensed forklift operators
- general laborers
- shipping and receiving clerks
- inventory clerks
- machine operators
- stock clerks
- mail clerks
- material handlers
- and yard drivers (non-CDL).
A Short History of Logistics
The military developed the notion of logistics long ago when it needed to find out the best method to supply and deploy troops across the world as needed. The thought of developing, manufacturing, storing, and providing equipment and supplies to troops ready to deploy at a moment’s notice has always been frightening. Wars have been won and the course of history has been altered due to a country’s military logistical competence. It is a vital sector that needs knowledgeable, motivated and mission-driven employees. By the way, this is the reason military veterans often make excellent logistics employees: they’re well-trained and understand the critical importance of moving goods efficiently through the supply chain.
Finally, it is critical that all logistics personnel understand the sector in which their firm works. This allows them to see the broad picture, prioritize efficiently, and think on their feet as needed. It’s a fast-paced business that requires quick-thinking, hard-working individuals who recognize the value they provide to the company’s bottom line.