As with most jobs today, the competition in transportation and logistics is fierce. While it’s to your advantage to have a degree in business with a concentrations in logistics or supply chain management, an MBA or business degree can get you even more.
Once hired, you’ll be “brought up to speed” on the company’s various systems by going through a management training program. After you complete your training, you’ll be judged on your performance and testing scores. If you do well during this trial period, you may be given the opportunity to choose the specific area you want to work—be that warehouse operations, transport management, procurement, supply-chain or other related area. Environment and sustainability are emerging areas in this industry, so don't overlook going this route.
How far and how quickly you move up the ladder will be determined by a number of factors, not the least of which is your willingness to work long and hard in solving problems, as well as your adaptability as far as moving to different locations.
If you’re not a college graduate and you’re just starting out, the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) has a number of approved schools that offer logistics programs. Some schools will specialize in transportation logistics; others offer graduate degrees in logistics or supply chain management.
If you don’t have the funds to attend a regular college, many colleges offer online programs in logistics. Other schools offer a mix of online and classroom instruction. Some of these are listed on the ASTL website. The military also has online classes in logistics. Whichever you choose, make sure the school and its classes are fully accredited before you apply.
When you sign up for a college or training program, try to take classes that are specific to logistics. Concentrate on logistics management, international trade, supply chain network modeling and business logistics system analysis. If your interests lie in transportation, take courses in transportation economics and legal issues, ocean shipping, transportation analysis and international transportation.
If you served in the military as a supply or logistics officer, you can leverage that to find a job in the civilian sector. Today’s military use some of the most advanced supply chain and logistics tools currently available, as they face huge global challenges in these areas.
Regardless of your educational background or work experience, to succeed in the field of transportation and logistics, you’ll need strong analytical, IT and people skills. You should also be capable of making decisions and handling a high level of responsibility early in your career.
As businesses struggle to survive in an increasingly global economy, those ready to “hit the ground running” in transportation and logistics will be highly recruited.
If you have comments or suggestions on how to enter this growing field, post them in the comments section below.