Logistics professionals: the control of workflow and timing in business operations

8 essential skills in a logistics specialist


*This content is a summary of the blog article "8 Logistics Skills That Can Help Advance Your Supply Chain Career", by Jess Scherman, content writer in Rasmussen University .

Supply chain management—also commonly referred to as logistics—is all about the production, shipment and distribution of products. It covers everything from inventory to sales, and is an important element of any business that makes and sells products.

Logistics means different things to different people, from simple transportation, or a bit more complexity to the field to include loading, packaging, warehouse, consolidation, distribution, cross-docking and the like,

Professionals in this field must work closely with others to acquire everything they need. More importantly, they need to ensure it’s all completed on time and within budget. There are several important supply chain job duties that will vary depending on the exact position.

There are several key components of the overall supply chain and logistics process, including:

  • Investment recovery
  • Distribution
  • Inventory control
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing supervision
  • Materials management
  • Packaging
  • Procurement and purchasing
  • Product and service development
  • Quality control
  • Receiving
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Transportation and shipping
  • Warehousing and storage

According to Rasmussen University, (Jess Scherman blogger), there are 8 Must-have qualities and skills for logistics professionals , besides skills like a broad knowledge and experience of logistics, IT , database experience, critical-thinking skills, and customer service abilities.

1. Ability to see the big picture

To find success in supply chain settings, professionals must be able to zoom out and visualize processes from start to finish. The successful supply chain expert will be able to anticipate what could go wrong with everything from packaging to shipping and delivery,

The combination of critical-thinking skills and past experience often aid in a professional’s ability to anticipate in this way.

Planning ahead is a major component of logistics.

2. Adaptability

Adaptability and flexibility are crucial when it comes to the amount of changes supply chain professionals will face.

3. Calm under pressure

The supply chain work environment is often very fast-paced, and each step relies on the successful completion of the step prior.

4. Effective problem-solving skills

An effective supply chain management professional will use the multiple aspects of problem-solving—analysis, business development knowledge, operational information, psychology, etc.—to accomplish a task. Technology, data, goods and people will all have to be utilized and often cajoled into helping obtain positive outcomes for your company.

5. Honesty

It’s not uncommon in the logistics world to run into the temptation to use a white lie to cover a mistake, such as a late shipment. But a lack of integrity will only hurt your company in the long run.

The best logistics employees have learned that honest communication with customers—while potentially embarrassing in the moment—creates lasting trust.

6. Continually seeking improvement

The job is not only to understand logistics and the supply chain, but to also know the scope and dynamics of your company’s goals so you can assist with the processes put in place to achieve them.

Once you see what the finish line is supposed to look like, you’ll be able to use information gathered from your various systems to monitor, analyze and adjust processes accordingly, 

As the name suggests, continuous process improvement is a never-ending cycle.

7. Proficient in project management

The most successful logistics professionals have a couple things in common: They’re organized, and they’re detail-oriented.

It’s important to plan your day and tasks as effectively as possible. Supply chain management involves so many important details that must be reviewed carefully and planned for accordingly.

8. Able to manage and release stress

Logisticians need to be able to handle stress and high-intensity environments, as this business is full of unexpected changes.

In a world where everything should have been delivered yesterday in the mind of the customer, you have to be able to work in a stressful environment and then let it out—let it not affect you day after day,

Optimizing processes, complete visualization in operational workflow, incident resolution skills, and practical expertise in international shipping procedures and compliance are the final characteristics for sucess in logistics and supply chain management.