Commentary | Smart Moves: Supply Chain Careers & Education Advice

Supercharging Your Supply Chain and Logistics Career

Tags: Education & Careers, Certifications, Industry Associations, Logistics, Education, Careers, Supply Chain

Tisha Danehl is Vice President, Ajilon

Thanks to the adoption of new technologies and emerging business models, the global supply chain offers many exciting career opportunities today.

According to predictions made by the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the supply chain and logistics field by 2018. In addition, it is projected that the number of supply chain employees will increase from a rate of 8.4 percent for tactical occupations, to 14.9 percent for managerial occupations by 2017.

As the demand for talent in this industry continues to grow, new candidates are seeking advice on how to make a smooth transition to an exciting career in this field, while current supply chain and logistics professionals are focused on how to move their career forward. By taking advantage of key resources and tools available to you, you can land the right position in an organization that will offer you room to grow your career.

Take Inventory of Your Skill Set

To advance your career in supply chain and logistics, you will first need to evaluate your skill set to assess what your strengths are and where your interests lie. It’s important to understand how your knowledge and expertise can benefit an organization to determine what kind of position you would thrive in. This will also allow you to better market yourself to prospective employers.

Since there is no traditional succession planning in the supply chain industry, the possibilities for growth are endless. You may be surprised by how transferrable your skills could be or where they will take you, so be sure to keep an open mind when it comes to new opportunities that may help build your exposure to the industry as a whole.

Network for Success

Building a strong network is crucial in making a successful career transition and meeting other influential experts in your field. Start by joining a professional association, such as the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) or the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). By doing so, you’ll have the chance to meet a specialized group of industry professionals who can offer career advice, share best practices, and help you make new connections—which can be incredibly valuable if you are seeking a mentor to help guide you in your career development.

Another way to network within the supply chain and logistics industry is to utilize social media. Social media can be used to research job openings, connect with like-minded professionals, and understand company and industry areas of focus. Create a professional profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to help build your personal brand, and leverage these sites to find companies and people you may want to work with. It’s also a good idea to follow key industry blogs, and interact with both the authors and other followers by posting comments and sharing their posts with your followers.

Stay Relevant With Emerging Technology

New technologies are helping to evolve the supply chain. With software services such as Tableau and SAP that allow you to forecast, plan, and report more efficiently, companies are now more interested in hiring candidates with up-to-date knowledge and skills within the software and technology space.

To help your resume stand out from the crowd, highlight any software experience you have and consider enrolling in classes and programs that focus on these technologies. Hiring managers will be impressed if you have a working knowledge of key software programs and the latest technologies.

Never Stop Learning

As innovative technology continues to make its way into the supply chain and logistics sector, it’s crucial for professionals to continue developing new skills. For example, data security is now at the forefront of the industry, due to the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as advances in cloud computing that give businesses, sellers, marketers, manufacturers, and suppliers real-time information from their connected devices. Logistics professionals may therefore want to consider certifications in data security, such as the TENEX Security Management System for the Supply Chain, to help protect sensitive consumer and company data stored in the cloud. Remaining educated on this topic will help enhance your resume and show employers that you place value on growing your skill set.

Other certification programs with professional organizations can also help you to enhance your operations and supply chain management skills. For example, APICS offers The Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certificate in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certificate programs, while CSCMP offers The SCPro™ certificate. Each certification offers different benefits and eligibility requirements depending on which position or career track you are most interested in.

By understanding how your skills can impact an organization, networking with other industry professionals, and continuing to develop critical skills, you can advance your career in supply chain and logistics and become a trusted member of any organization.






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