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10 Skills your logistics team need to know
Many companies rely on the transport of goods for the day-to-day operation of their business. Logistics should integrate all the supply chain functions, and bridge the gap between locations which will then be a catalyst for job creation. Globally, the industry has seen immense growth in recent times, but to ensure these growth areas remain efficient, businesses within the logistics arena need to hire employees with the right skill sets.
Burak Cetin, Manager Procurement & Supply Chain, Michael Page:
“Right now, logistic companies need to serve their day-to-day challenges but also prepare for tomorrow’s requirements. Many companies are in the verge of doing the right things but most organizations still look to cover their daily operations. They are hiring individuals who have the educational and professional background, have done and can do the job. But the world is becoming more and more connected which affects the customers, compliance and sustainability. They are becoming the new pillars of logistics instead of cost, lead times and freight.
In order to succeed in the future, companies will focus more on talent to serve this complexity and invest in new systems to better align the technologies with the required skills. Last, but not least, sustainability will become a core part of their operations. “
These are the key skills in highest demand right now.
A high level of competency in dispute resolution refers to handling all forms of logistical disputes. For example, in arbitration and mediation. Dispute resolution specialists project manage the various teams involved, paying attention to detail and ensuring that all channels of communication remain clear and timescales are adhered to. Minimizing the effect of a dispute benefits productivity and costs; therefore, an employee with the ability to work alongside clients, businesses, and legal teams is a very valuable asset and can save on time, money, and protect productivity.
Peak planning and execution
It’s always a challenge to deliver a successful peak period due to the continued growth in eCommerce and national retail events like Cyber Monday. However, peak is a crucial time of the year for many businesses, especially those with seasonal spikes - and navigating it successfully is the key challenge. Competency in eCommerce, particularly in managing its ongoing growth, is fundamental, along with excellent forward-planning, performance analysis and forecasting – all of which fall under the umbrella of peak planning and execution. Access to information is a key factor in delivering a successful peak, so getting the right people on board that understand and know how to manipulate data is key. They’ll also need to possess comprehensive knowledge of the interim marketplace at all levels, as the workforce expands according to demand.
No organization wants to be bogged down with snail-pace work processes that affect productivity. Staff with an aptitude for process development are, in essence, people that have the valuable ability to identify ways to streamline work processes. This may include cost minimization, utilizing production capacity and improving quality. People like these are critical for your organization and play a major part in any logistics operation by providing effective logistics management.
Getting someone on your team to manage the reverse logistics process for your business is a smart move. Debate may rage over the true definition of reverse logistics, but it essentially refers to all activity after the point of sale. Therefore, having the right people with experience in areas such as managing returns, product updates, end-of-life manufacturing and refund administration, is indispensable. This will enable your business to better manage the logistics/aftermarket supply chain process. The benefits are not just monetary - they can also ensure you’re meeting your environmental responsibilities too.
Smart transport modelling
Being able to offer a comprehensive modelling solution is a competency that remains at the heart of any logistics business. So it would make perfect sense to shore up your business with a specialist in the area. Transport modelling is the effective planning of routes. It involves an evaluation of existing conditions that are generally expected, alongside a more detailed investigation into future projections. Logistics companies require smart people who can take a mathematical approach to logistical routes ensure trips are designed to be the most cost-effective; e.g. when a lorry makes 50 drop-offs, can savings be made on fuel, time and labour? Many practices incorporate a lean/agile method so being flexible in those approaches is beneficial.
Succession planning and team training are the foundation of any procurement or logistics operation. Getting in someone that knows how to identify talent, internally and externally, will help the operational business in many areas. The right person will know how to attract the right calibre of employee, whether that be graduates or experienced hires, by structuring development plans implementing innovative initiatives to keep them engaged, while developing their careers.
Burak Cetin observes:
“Businesses realized over the last years, that the required education over history was tailored to transportation and logistics industries. So, people know how to move things from A to B. But today, the market and industry has become much more complex. Companies who want to grow their business are looking for more strategic individuals who can actually shape the industry with their business.”
Transport management certification
If transport management plays a big part in your business, you’ll need your staff to apply for a Goods Vehicle Operator's License. To enter the profession of Road Haulage Transport Management, a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification is needed. The CPC qualification will allow your transport managers to attain either national standard or international standard licenses to manage the movement of freight domestically and internationally. It is a fundamental requirement of the operator licensing system to hold the CPC license as it demonstrates a high level of competence.
Warehouse layout utilisation
Your warehouse management team is expected to be proficient in utilizing the various layout options to optimize workflows, enabling the development of warehouse processes and standard operating procedures. They are charged with investigating improvements to existing warehouse infrastructure, system integration and process design, in line with supply chain and logistics strategy requirements. In addition, professionals in this area handle design layouts on CAD and assist in supplier negotiations. A warehouse that is designed to utilize the most efficient ways of working is in prime position to increase long-term productivity targets.
Warehouse management technology
Warehouse management systems (WMS) are software packages that support day-to-day logistical operations. In order to best manage your processes, ensure that someone in your team has the all-important WMS knowhow. This would typically include the centralised management of tracking inventory levels and stock locations. With retail increasingly moving away from physical stores to a digital-dominated model, the need for more efficient WMS systems is growing at a rapid rate. Those who are able to identify and deploy the most effective tools for their business will forever be one step ahead.
“Effectiveness empowers better sustainability”, Burak Cetin sees this as one of the most important skills, because “data is controlling supply chain activities and an effective data analysis, and a better system integration will enrich a better alignment between parties. This way, organisations generate a more optimised supply chain that eliminates waste and decreases its CO2 footprint. This in return helps companies to (over)achieve their targets, whilst continuously seeking for better ways to serve their customers and the environment. Hence, through effectiveness comes a better sustainability.”
Teamwork is one transferable skill that lies at the heart of logistics. Collaboration and communication within your team across various business departments ensure that projects are run most effectively and efficiently. A quality that has been rated highly by employers for a very long time, teamwork within logistics is now an essential skill for every professional. At a time when speed and quality are of the essence, the ability to work as a team is fundamental to the success of any area of a business.