How to get into the supply chain/logistics industry with no experience
Are you thinking about a career in the supply chain? Well, you probably are not alone. Due to the unexpected event of the global pandemic, this has raised awareness of the worldwide importance of this crucial sector and has shown it to be an attractive career choice.
Firstly, let’s investigate the role of the supply chain worker.
They are involved in either contributing to or managing the process of securing the goods and guaranteeing that they reach the end customer on time and in good order. They do this with customer satisfaction and profitability at the forefront of their mind.
Below are reasons as to why a career in logistics offers so much diversity to so many workers:
- Not only do you learn about the supplier’s business, but you learn about their customer’s businesses—an in-depth overview of the entire establishment.
- It covers various departments from shipping, procurement, accounting, production, finance, warehousing, and sales.
- It’s an ever-expanding industry that is constantly changing.
- No two days are ever alike – it allows you a variety of experiences.
- There is a vast scope for movement within the organisation, including changing careers.
In brief, the industry has something to offer to everyone, for those who enjoy physical activity or are interested in the analytical side of the business, or someone who desires a combination of both. The logistics industry may also appeal to those who enjoy leading and managing and those who prefer to be led and inspired.
Getting started in the Supply Chain industry
You will need to think about what you would like to be doing. Do you want to work in finance? Or in operations? You could also work in the warehouse, transport, or in customer service. There are so many different segments within the logistics industry that you could work in.
What Qualifications Will I Need?
This question depends on your ability and time for high education.
A business degree or a finance degree with a supply chain focus will benefit you within the industry. One of the common routes into the supply chain industry is a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, logistics, or international transport.
Do I need qualifications?
You don’t always need qualifications to start in the logistics industry. Licensed lorry drivers are always in demand. You can also get an entry-level job working as a warehouse assistant. This role includes moving goods around, communicating with the suppliers and customers; it could also involve assisting the management team.
For the senior roles, it would be helpful to do some research and update your skills in IT and management.
There are several ways to get into the supply chain industry at entry-level. Below are a few suggestions:
- Recruitment agency
Talking to recruitment companies is a benefit if you want to see if the industry is for you before committing to a job and an employer.
However, it is hard to stand out from the crowd with a recruitment agency unless you’ve got outstanding qualifications.
See if there are industry-type events in your local area, as these can help you meet lots of people who work in the supply chain/logistics industry. Try and speak to as many professionals as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice.
- Put yourself out there
Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Polish up your profile so that managers can find you. On your LinkedIn profile, incorporate all the keywords for the type of work you want to do. Social media is being used more now (especially LinkedIn) by recruiters and managers to assess potential candidates through their profiles and posts. Not only does this help you get in front of recruiters and managers, but you can use this social media platform to see what jobs are being advertised.
- Internships at 3PLs
Most third-party logistics companies, offer an environment where you could grow, so try to get an entry-level position with one of them. You could get a job as a forklift driver, warehouse picker, or even a lorry driver. You could also get a position in product reception and dispatch. This entails receiving products at the warehouse from delivery vehicles and unpacking and storing them.
It is essential not to stress or overthink at what level you get in at. Getting into the industry and gaining experience is a significant achievement.
What qualities should I have?
The best quality to have when working in the logistics industry is good time management skills. This is an important quality to have. Imagine, if there was an one-hour delay at one end of a supply chain, this could cause a domino effect and possibly lead it to become a two-week delay further down the line. Therefore, having a considerable impact on the customer.
Attention to detail is also vital when working in the supply chain. Working in the logistics industry means that you should be able to follow orders vigilantly and think on your feet. It is not unusual for supply chains to have strict rules that ensure everything runs efficiently and smoothly. Nevertheless, delays and accidents do happen. So, if you can figure out how to solve problems quickly, you will find the logistics industry will suit your skills.