career in logistics JOB TODAY
How to Start a Career in Logistics
By: Sharmain Zain
Reading time: 3 min

A career in logistics can be extremely rewarding because it covers a whole range of different jobs. It involves everything from driving and delivery to positions in IT, accounting, scheduling and management. Some logistics companies are huge international corporations, like DHL. There are also many smaller companies that specialise in niche fields or geographic areas. With e-commerce becoming bigger each day, you will find a career in logistics offers plenty of opportunities to grow and learn.

Job basics

  • Entry salary: Around £15,000pa
  • Experienced salary: £30,000 – £45,000pa
  • Average hours: 35-40 (full-time); around 20 (part-time)

What’s involved in Logistics?

All manufacturing and sales companies need to move their products to and from various locations. This could include food, raw products, finished goods, parts, or machinery. They might need to bring in tractors from China or send sponges to Sweden. In any case, they need to have a smooth supply chain. It is the responsibility of the logistics team to make sure that everything gets to where it’s supposed to. Some of the jobs are:

  • Van or lorry driver
  • Loading, packing and unpacking
  • Warehouse manager
  • Logistics analyst
  • Scheduling and dispatch coordinator
  • Logistics manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Procurement or sales manager

What qualities should I have?

The number one quality you need to have for a career in logistics is good time management skills. Think about it — a one hour delay at one end of a supply chain can domino into a two-week delay further down the line. If a box of bolts isn’t delivered on time, it can shut down a whole factory.

You also need to have good attention to detail. You should be comfortable following orders carefully, but also be able to think on your feet. Some supply chains can have very strict rules to make sure everything runs smoothly. However, accidents and delays happen. If you can figure out how to solve problems quickly then you will really excel.

Many logistics jobs are quite physical, so a certain level of fitness is needed. This is less important if you focus on the management and technology side.

How do I become qualified?

It’s possible to start out in logistics without any special qualifications. Licensed lorry drivers are always in demand, and some companies also hire scooter or motorbike drivers for last mile or smaller deliveries.

You may also be able to get an entry-level job working as a warehouse assistant. This is a varied role that may include moving objects around, talking to suppliers and customers, as well as assisting with the management side.

For more senior roles, it could be beneficial to do some study. Basic skills in IT, management or accounting are always useful. There are also a few online schools that specialise in supply chain and logistics. Check out Futurelearn, EdX and Coursera – these all offer free courses that will introduce you to the key concepts involved in supply chain and logistics.

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