Logistics is a complex industry that requires meticulous planning and execution to ensure deadlines are met. Not doing so can have a knock-on effect, which can damage professional relationships and lead to lost revenue.
To consistently deliver a high level of service, what logistics skills are necessary? Below, we’re going to take a look at which skills employees need to progress in logistics, and what skills managers need to lead their teams effectively.
Many logistics skills and competencies are needed to make sure an operation runs smoothly. Without your team members possessing these crucial skills, your business won’t work as effectively as it should.
Data is the key to making good decisions, so the ability to analyze data will allow employees to put plans in place. By having and using data, employees can spot trends and patterns, and accurately forecast what may come in the future. This means solid knowledge of spreadsheets and mathematics is also important.
Without strict planning and organization, it’s impossible to successfully progress in logistics. Without proper organization, deadlines won’t be met, which means unhappy customers who won’t continue to use your services. Not only can this lead to lost revenue, but also potentially increased costs as your business struggles to pick up the slack caused by poor planning.
This may seem obvious, but skills in certain industries may not translate to the relevant skills for logistics and supply chain management. For example, knowledge of engineering and technology is needed, and the ability to inspect and maintain vehicles.
Warehouses are full of potential risks, so good safety knowledge is imperative not just from a legal perspective, but also from a moral perspective to ensure all employees work in a safe environment.
Part of this includes optimizing the layout of a warehouse to improve workflow and productivity and using the relevant technology to improve safety and automate certain processes.
Online warehouse safety courses are a quick and cost-effective way for all employees to learn this important information.
Despite meticulous planning, unfortunately, sometimes there can be unexpected and unpreventable delays. Because of this, flexibility and adaptability are crucial, especially for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road. Supply chains are complex, with many individual moving parts, so the ability to remain calm and evolve will ensure any changes are dealt with swiftly.
Every member of the team plays an important role in the supply chain. It’s a cliche, but also one that’s true - a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Stepping up and being accountable means every team member can shine.
The skills needed for logistics and supply chain management don’t end there - for those looking to climb the ladder and advance their careers in the industry, there are plenty more skills to develop.
An important part of good warehouse logistics skills - and logistics skills in general - is team management. It also falls under organizational skills but is more specific to how managers organize and manage their teams.
One of the difficulties with team management in logistics is how to manage employees who are on the road for most of the day. Warehouse staff are a little easier to manage, but trust also goes a long way.
Strong leadership skills will allow managers to effectively oversee teams, and keep productivity and efficiency high. To do this, managers must motivate and engage employees on a consistent basis.
A big part of effective team management, but also important when dealing with stakeholders and customers, is communication. Encouraging openness and honesty will allow for communication to come from both sides and create a more comfortable working environment.
As well as being able to communicate what it is they want to say, managers also need to be great listeners. By not listening, managers will never be destined to be truly great communicators.
Your teams can learn more by taking easily accessible communication courses.
We’ve already covered flexibility above, but more specific to managers and senior employees is contingency planning.
Disruptions can and do happen, so having confidence and the ability to quickly create a solid contingency plan will prevent further issues. This includes assessing potential risks, communicating with customers, and sourcing alternatives where necessary.
As with any business, budget management is a key skill for a logistics manager. Because budgets are fixed, any unexpected or higher than anticipated costs can eat into potential profits, which can have a negative impact on the entire business. So, while the task of delivering on time is crucial, doing so within budget is equally as important.
A part of progressing in a logistics career is also helping others progress in their own. To do this, developing talent by providing feedback and constructive criticism will ensure employees continue to grow. That means becoming a mentor and coaching team members, contractors and freelancers will not only help them to progress but improve the overall performance of their team.
Ready to help develop talent within your organization? Go1 has a wide range of online logistics courses available to access right now. For more information on how Go1 can help your business with its training and development, book a demo with a member of our team today.