A Guide to Getting the Most out of your Career Path in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
The modern workplace is having a lesson in how vital the supply chain and logistics industry is to our economy. The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is highlighting the importance of supply chain management to our everyday life. Not since World War II have logistics systems been under such enormous pressure, even with today’s modern technology. From factories to warehouses to point-of-sale, incredible consumer demand has strained the industry to unprecedented levels.
The global nature of the procurement marketplace means those who work in the field have never been more valued. In fact, salaries in manufacturing, transport and logistics last year grew by 3.8% to an advertised average of $76,163, second only to the banking and finance sector which recorded 4.2% wage growth.
Let’s explore why you would be smart to become part of this valuable industry by planning your logistics career path.
What does a logistics career involve?
Logistics and supply chain management is a field in which no two jobs are the same. Partly, that’s because it deals with virtually everything society consumes. Think of the washing powder with which you clean your clothes, the milk in your fridge, the clothes you’re wearing, even the device upon which you are reading these words. These goods are at your disposal because of a complex chain of actions which transport them to you in a timely, efficient, cost-effective manner.
Australia is a big country, with unique supply chain considerations that don’t exist elsewhere in the world. The supply chain sector employs more than a million Australians and accounts for nearly 10% of annual gross domestic product (GDP). There are many aspects to managing supply chains, from sourcing products to transportation and storage. At every stage, procurement and logistics professionals play a crucial role in acting as the ‘go-between’, bringing manufacturers and customers together.
Timing is everything, too, in a world where businesses want to hold stock for the minimum amount of time possible to cut storage costs. In a career with such complex challenges, a Diploma of Logistics (TLI50219) from the College for Adult Learning can set you on the right path to finding success.
The many benefits of a logistics diploma
A 2017 survey found that 81% of young professionals in the supply chain industry thought it was the right career choice for them. The beauty of a career in the supply chain field is its’ scope for specialisation, and that’s attractive to graduates in particular.
Variety is a key component of job satisfaction in the logistics industry. For example, you can specialise in the field of transportation, where your job is to work out the most cost-effective and efficient way of getting products from A to B. Or you could focus on storage management issues, factoring in considerations like the ‘just in time’ ethos many businesses use to minimise storage times.
Other areas like sourcing product components, stakeholder negotiations and final distribution mean you have a host of career specialties available to you. If you are already in the industry, an online diploma allows you the flexibility to apply your on-the-job learning to your qualification. If you already have a diploma in business, administration or other, then adding a logistics diploma to your name can make a significant impact toward gaining the experience you need to be a part of this exciting, challenging career space.
Career opportunities in warehousing
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that towards the end of 2019 the transport, postal and warehousing industries employed 655,000 people. The average weekly wage is $1,239 for a 41-hour week, and there’s been strong employment growth of more than 10% for the past five years.
Warehousing specifically has a direct impact on the economy, and there’s no shortage of variety in terms of the physical workplace. Large companies usually have their own warehouses, and many are automated thanks to robotic technology. Other businesses use specialist companies to store their goods (including self-storage facilities). Undertaking a diploma of logistics is a fantastic first step towards getting a ‘foot in the door’ with a warehousing position. You’ll be opening the door to a robust and stable career with multiple avenues for promotion.
Procurement and Warehousing Career Pathways
The variety of career options in the supply chain and logistics field means there are several different types of employers who are looking for staff.
- Supermarkets often outsource their supply chain logistics (although the larger ones usually operate central distribution centres)
- In other cases, specialist supply chain companies might source, move and store only one type of product (like pharmaceuticals, or frozen goods)
- Online retailers often have their own warehouses and designated staff to organise logistics
- National companies often keep all their supply chain employees ‘in house.’
There are so many variables in the procurement industry that one size most certainly does not fit all, which is excellent news in terms of career options for logistics graduates. Once you complete the diploma of logistics, you are job-ready to embark on an exciting new career. Even if you are already working in the supply chain industry, there are a lifetime of opportunities available to you, including supply chain management career opportunities. Studying a diploma or double diploma will expand your career development choices.
A Logistics Career Path Case Study
Once you’re qualified and have gained enough logistics industry experience, you’d typically be ready for a transport manager role. In this space, your job would be to plan and oversee transport system operations, which might be a complex and multi-layered landscape. For example, you might have to consider not just road and rail transport options, but air and sea travel as well. If the product you are helping shift needs refrigeration, that creates another set of important food safety considerations.
It would be your job to ensure these transport systems are safe and meet deadlines. You might also have to manage transport worksites, such as freight depots or even bus or train stations. If you add these elements to other tasks required of you, such as fleet and traffic management, you start to get a picture of how varied and dynamic a transport manager’s job can be. Start your journey into transportation logistics by getting your diploma from the College for Adult Learning.
Procurement supply chain jobs of the future
Every day, we see the impact that technology is having on the modern workplace and workforce. Technology will continue to be a vital part of procurement supply chain jobs in the future. From computer software to robotics, the supply chain is continually being ‘tweaked’ and improved to make it more efficient. Having knowledge of the latest technology and how it impacts the industry is a vital skill that will become even more important heading into the decade ahead.
A recent Australian career report found that logistics is one of 32 major industries which is expected to have skills shortages in the first half of 2020. In other words, if you get qualified and land an entry-level job in the supply chain industry, your career prospects are excellent. Employers of the future will need qualified, job-ready candidates. In addition, a federal government survey found there will be substantial future growth in employment for all procurement, supply chain, and distribution managers.
There are opportunities for women to join the industry, as employers look to diversify their workforce, of which currently only 22% are female. The average wage for a manager at this level is good too, at about $130,000 per year. Obviously, employers place a high value on workers who can effectively keep the logistics, transportation and warehousing arms of their business thriving.
Australia is the place to be for logistics professionals
Once upon a time, North America and Europe were the world’s leading centres for logistics and supply chain operations. These days, it’s all about China, and Asia more widely. Given we’re on Asia’s doorstep, that means Australia has a central role in getting products to and from the world’s most populous areas.
Right now, more than a third of property leases signed each year in Australia are for logistics and transport needs. Ask any commercial real estate expert where the biggest growth is, and they will recommend you look for land where warehouses and distribution centres can be built that are well-positioned to major roads in terms of transport links.
All signs pointing to the logistics industry’s future are lit up like green traffic lights. Knowledge of technology, business operations, stakeholder interests and global trends is essential for success. You also want to develop excellent communication skills, be an effective networker and be able to keep calm under pressure. Most importantly, to play a leading role in the point-of-origin to point-of-destination solutions of the future, then getting the right qualifications now is essential.
The College for Adult Learning, through our online learning model, modern case-study based assessments and excellent learning mentors will get you on your way to starting a logistics career path today.