The world runs on supply chains. An average of 67% of companies believe that supply chain management and logistical efficiency offer a great competitive advantage over their competitors to grow their business. The nerve of the modern economy and even the minute disruptions in the supply chain create a ripple that is felt in all domains of our everyday lives.
The recent event of the Evergreen cargo ship that got shored in the Suez Canal in 2021 and the unexpected semiconductor crisis that toppled the world market recently gained a lot of public attention. These are considered the one-offs and the fluke that stood out, but the supply chain industry runs unhindered most of the time. It works subtly underneath the flashlight of our every life, only to support and sustain the very foundations of the current financial status quo.
If you think about it, it’s also one of the most exciting places to be if you are a fresher looking for growth. The supply chain industry has enormous potential to offer valuable life lessons and grow exponentially while climbing the ladder of learning and experience.
Supply chain management and logistics have indeed evolved over the years. The current systems and technology help make the whole operation smooth and hassle-free for those working inside and outside the network. If you are dreaming of a challenging career that offers excitement and panache, and if you want to make actual impacts on the lives of thousands of people, then this is the path for you!
Exciting or intriguing? Let’s find out!
Before laying out the essential skills for a Logistics and Supply Chain Management Professional, we want you to get versed with some of the specifics.
First of all, there is no single job description that is accurate for a logistics and supply chain management professional. It varies from company to company, and it involves problem-solving. But before that, you should also take its correct meaning into consideration. Logistics and Supply chain management involve two different things. Though they are correlated, slight variation is crucial to understanding the field.
Logistics management involves the integration, procurance, and maintenance of the company assets. In contrast to this, supply chain management deals with the coordination and management of the channel through which those assets are transported. For example, if you’re working with Amazon as a logistics manager, you are in charge of the warehouse. You oversee the products that come in, their storage location, and their destined locations. On the other hand, if you are in charge of the supply chain, you shall be responsible for ensuring that the packages reach safely to their destinations without any delay.
Let’s now dive into 10 most important soft skills necessary for a logistics and supply chain management professional.
1. Team management and interpersonal skills
When you are in charge of a supply chain or a logistical facility, you have to deal with numerous people on a daily basis, including the customers. So, you need to attend to different requirements and complaints on a regular basis irrespective of your mood. You need to maintain a calm composure. There are numerous subordinates working as drivers, delivery personnel, packers, accountants, warehouse employees, distributors, manufacturers, etc. You will thrive if you are a people person. If you’re not, you will have to put in double the effort to engage them in being efficient.
2. Analytical and problem-solving skills
This is a very important skill that cannot be emphasized enough. If you’re a manager, your day will be filled with having to resolve disputes. You will need to step up to conflicts between people, comb through stipulated data, make informed decisions, analyze difficult situations, and devise creative solutions.
3. Industry knowledge
Since you manage and transport the assets, it is a massive advantage if you know what you are dealing with for responsiveness. This helps you to make better choices when faced with a difficult situation. More importantly, this also extends to the supply chain. If your delivery is stuck, finding a solution to ensure that the shipment reaches its destination on time is dependent on your knowledge and expertise in the supply chain. So you need to learn about the technicalities of your supply chain.
4. Attention to detail
If your job depends on saving space and reducing the wastage of resources, minute details matter significantly. You are considered a success if you can get multiple items delivered in one go.
Effortlessly blending into various situations is also key to success in the supply chain management field. You have to often deal with multiple people and different environments. So, the quicker you adapt to a new scenario, the better. This will also offer you an opportunity for opening avenues for growth simultaneously.
6. Time management
This is a no-brainer. The essence of your job is to make sure the deliveries are done on time, so punctuality plays a huge role in building the foundation. It might venture through the works of the veterans to learn and analyze your operations to find scopes for improvement.
7. Customer experience.
If your specific role involves talking to the customer and dealing with their queries and complaints, you should be well aware of customer management skills. Offering a smooth and hassle-free experience to your customer is the basis of success for any business.
8. Innovation and technological aptitude
You need to be informed and updated with the recent developments and latest news. These help you to think out of the box and utilize the upcoming technological advancement to your benefit. There are a lot of innovations happening in the field of logistics. Some are new AI programs that can predict blocks and wastages in the supply chain, enhance efficiency, and improve operations through automation. So keep an eye out for them and learn about the latest news to keep yourself informed and updated.
9. Organisation and project management
Again, when your job depends on accounting for every package delivered and every asset accounted for, organizational skills come in handy. You can learn these skills reasonably quickly if you put in a bit of effort.
Being in a managerial position also means you should take care of those who work under you. You should maintain a healthy working atmosphere while ensuring the morale stays up. Coordinating tasks and being there for your colleagues and subordinates is a massive advantage for efficient and smooth operations.
So there you have it. These are the ten crucial soft skills that any management professional in logistics and supply chain should have. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, the specifics may vary from company to company, but the core concepts stay the same. If you are interested in pursuing a career in logistics and supply chain management, check out Seekho Select Membership to prep you for the role. We cater to aspiring youngsters like you to reach for their dream job and grow higher than you had imagined.