February 2008 | Commentary | 3PL Line

Logistics Managers Earn Job Security

Tags: 3PL

As recently as a decade ago, most U.S.-based companies' supply chains were predominantly domestic, and providing manufacturing support to U.S. factories was a booming business.

Today, however, global supply chains dominate and the number of U.S. plants to support is dwindling. As a result, many North American supply chain professionals are concerned about how their roles are changing.

Job security shouldn't be a worry, though—especially for professionals involved in warehousing and freight management. Although much of the country's sourcing is shifting, its domestic demand patterns - who consumes products - are still essentially the same.

As a result, the need for qualified logistics professionals to provide and coordinate outbound distribution in North America is as significant as ever.

And with supply chains becoming increasingly complex, savvy logistics professionals with a firm command of how to move goods across the world and oversee their safe passage through numerous hand-offs and border crossings should have plenty of opportunity for success.

Also consider how goods enter North America - and what happens to them once they get here. Import/export gateways are becoming busier logistics venues. As a result, the transportation lanes between U.S. ports of entry and other key markets are growing increasingly popular - and congested. The competition for reliable transportation services and drivers is increasingly intense.

Logistics professionals who can either improve service within these lanes, or help their companies cope with challenges such as the driver shortage, will be hot commodities for a long time to come.

On the Move

Professionals who understand the importance of freight management should also fare well.

Companies face a formidable challenge trying to move their goods off docks and into the U.S. supply chain quickly and efficiently. Freight management services help them consolidate and convert LTL shipments to truckload, find and negotiate with reliable carriers, and determine when it makes sense to upgrade to more expensive modes to save a sale or business relationship.

As for North American warehousing professionals - DC managers, operations managers, and the people who work for them - it has been a long time since they garnered as much respect as they do now.

During the 1990s, as systems became more advanced and widespread, warehouses faced huge pressure to remove stored product from the supply chain and keep inventory on the constant move - with some degree of success.

But now that global supply chains have entered the equation, warehouses have gained respect as an excellent way to get goods into the country ahead of time and offset supply chain volatility.

John Donne once said, "no man is an island." These days, that's especially true of individuals working in logistics.

Whether we're located on the Pacific Coast or deep in the heartland, business activities going on across the globe will have an impact on how we operate - not only today but well into the future.

Sure, we face a lot of change, but that creates new opportunities because U.S. companies need more help than ever to keep their supply chains running smoothly. We're just the people to help them do it.