Career spotlight: What top skills are needed in logistics?

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The logistics sector is the backbone of global trade. It's the reason we take next-day delivery for granted. Or, why during a trip to the supermarket we’ll normally find all or most of the items on our shopping list. It makes modern life possible by keeping the UK supplied with the goods it needs to function.

The huge, catch-all area of logistics covers a single busy, bustling warehouse ranging right through to a fleet of vehicles for a multinational company.

And it’s only when there are problems within the logistics sector that we realise how important it is (foall r example, when there was a chronic shortage of HGV drivers in 2021 impacting Christmas deliveries).

Logistics and supply chain are intertwined. If you’re unsure of the difference between ‘logistics’ and ‘supply chain’, here’s a brief explanation. Logistics is how items and materials are distributed within one company. And supply chain is how a network of companies, for example suppliers, retailers and manufacturers, work together to distribute items and materials.

Transportation and driving are crucial areas of logistics (which we recruit for at HR GO). Other areas to work in are:

  • Warehousing
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Infrastructure
  • Digital tech
  • Engineering
  • Solutions design

Top skills needed for a job in the logistics sector

Talking to the logistics clients we help, we get a sense of the skills they’re asking for in their candidates. Here’s a rundown of a few of them.

Interpersonal skills

Even though logistics as a sector is now led by technology and data, it’s still crucial to be able to communicate effectively to get things done.

From colleagues to customers, suppliers to management, what counts is dealing professionally and building connections with everyone you interact with.

Adaptability and a focus on solutions

Things don’t always go to plan. Faced with last-minute changes or sudden problems, would you panic and freeze or be quick on your feet to adjust Adaptability is crucial in all levels and areas of logistics, whether you’re driving an HGV or managing the supply chain for a large organisation.

OK, it’s an extreme example, but when the giant container ship Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal for six days in 2021 it was a logistics manager’s worst nightmare. The incident paused deliveries of goods around the world and held up trade valued at over $9 billion a day, with a knock-on impact to thousands of people working in logistics and supply chain around the world. We’re sure that those involved drew on their abilities to think clearly and stay calm under extreme pressure!

Sound numerical skills

Logistics revolves around data. So while you certainly don’t need a degree in maths to succeed, you will need to have sound numerical skills to help you in your day-to-day work.

And depending on your role, it might be helpful to read and analyse data to make decisions on what the numbers say, too.

IT skills

An understanding of spreadsheets is useful in a lot of logistics roles. But there will be on-the-job training for the specific IT systems used in whichever job you go for.

It’s handy to understand how IT systems coordinate the different stages of shipping and supply chain management. Whether it’s to manage stock levels, oversee delivery times or monitor transport costs, these systems make every stage of the process more efficient.

An openness to innovation

Cutting-edge technology? It’s often all part of the day job if you work in logistics. The sector is continually evolving and leading on areas of innovation like:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Advanced robotics
  • Self-driving vehicles
  • Start-of-the-art warehousing

Whatever area or level you’re interested in, it’s clear that logistics and supply chain management need organised and practical staff to keep things flowing around the UK. People will always need food and goods delivered, and so when it comes to future proof career options it’s a safe bet that you can help keep the wheels of the economy turning.

Logistics roles that we’re currently recruiting for include:

  • Warehouse operatives
  • Team leaders
  • Shipping coordinators
  • Customs clearance clerks
  • Transport planners
  • Delivery drivers
  • Fork lift drivers
  • International planning & transport managers
  • Logistics coordinators
  • Picking and packing operatives

Get the full list of all of HR GO’s logistics roles currently available.

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