Calling All Logisticians: Assist the Military to Bridge the Gap

Tags: Supply Chain Management, Military Logistics, Logistics, Supply Chain

Jay Hicks, LTC US Army (Retired), PMP, ITILv3, L6S

Military missions are complex logistical efforts, requiring a significant understanding of supply chain and transportation management. Service members at all levels have logistical knowledge. Whether moving to a new location, planning training, or executing maneuvers, all military personnel are intimately familiar with mission execution and the associated logistical operations.

As professional logisticians and supply chain managers, we are in a unique position to assist military service members transition into jobs in the supply chain sector.

Many service members are skilled and trained in the art of high-level logistics. These professional military logisticians support integrated operations with ever-increasing transportation and supply requirements and challenges.

Military requirements necessitate operational and logistical competency to optimize resources effectively. These demands make many veterans capable and ready for the commercial logistics community.

Additionally, service members acquire superb leadership experience, communication, and teamwork skills. They know how to work a multitude of simultaneous requirements, how to talk to senior managers, and how to get the job done.

The Gap

Unfortunately, most service men and women have no idea how well-suited they are for civilian logistics. Despite their experience with daily military planning and logistical operations, service members often find commercial logistics methodology and terminology challenging, if not foreign. When these outstanding women and men begin to look for civilian work, they will often have difficulty translating and applying their military experience.

Repackaging Skills

With an understanding of logistics and supply chain management concepts commonly used by corporate industry, military service members can transition smoothly and successfully to this career field. Service members need confidence to know their military experience has prepared them for professional logistics. Military service members need to be able to translate, repackage, and certify their skills so hiring managers can spot them.

Service members must be encouraged to network with civilian logisticians so they realize they have been performing logistical tasks in the military, like their corporate counterparts, just using different vernacular. After conversations with professionals in the industry, they will feel empowered to translate their skills onto a resume, get certified, and explain the value of their experiences to civilian hiring managers.

Help Bridge the Gap

As a professional logistician or supply chain manager, you can provide greatly needed support to these deserving young men and women. Seek out and engage veterans, guardsmen, reservists, or active military members with these three ideas in mind.

  • First, understand military service members want your help. They want to know they can be successful in the commercial logistic field. They seek your knowledge and encouragement as they crave personal confidence in knowing they can be successful.
  • Second, know you are an enabler. When you have the opportunity, discuss the alignment of commercial logistics with military members. You will be amazed with service member’s level of understanding and interest in learning commercial methodologies of supply chain management and logistics.
  • Finally, push military advocacy at work. You know how valuable the military veteran can be for your organization. Ask tough questions to your company’s human resources department and management. Do you have a corporate outreach or mentoring program for service members?

Stepping up to provide this support will be of tremendous service to these sharp young men and women. Your intervention will encourage them to pursue occupations in the field of logistics and obtain the necessary credentials. Helping transitioning service members get hired is a way of thanking them for protecting us during their military service. Your reward is the knowledge that you have encouraged and empowered service men and women to find high-quality jobs after their military service. 

Jay Hicks is an author, instructor, and consultant. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, which advocates the value of hiring military personnel.






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