The current economic climate and employment trends have had a direct impact in the logistics industry. Additionally, with ecommerce rising almost 50% in the second quarter of last year, supply chains have stumbled to keep up with the growing demands and expectations. The result has meant an increased need for qualified supply chain professionals to bring innovative solutions to the field. Working through warehouse management challenges, transportation services, and new technology requires grit, ambition, and a passion for improvement.
A great place to start a career in the supply chain field is by working in a distribution center as a material handler. This is a highly sought-after role that allows individuals to get introduced to a warehouse environment without needing an advanced degree or extensive background and experience in the field.
Many warehouse managers and distribution center leaders rise through the ranks after gaining experience as material handlers. Some individuals come to the field with degrees in business, engineering, mechanics, communications, project management, and more. If your goal is to land a role in a supply chain company in general, the options can be overwhelming.
Here are four roles that are growing as rapidly as supply chain demands.
Four supply chain management areas in high demand
1. Business Operations
Everything that happens within a company to keep it running and earning money is referred to collectively as business operations. With the help of warehouse employees, operations directors and managers often help companies’ founders and stakeholders better understand the systems, equipment, people, and processes needed to make the organization function.
Well-managed supply chain operations are critical for growth and expansion. With a pulse on best practices, inefficiencies, and technology, key roles within business operations are often the stepping stone for other leadership positions. If you’re looking to break into supply chain roles and quickly move up the corporate ladder, business operations is a great starting point. These positions touch many aspects of the business, allowing one to learn the ins and outs of the supply chain and sharpen valuable skills in warehouse management, forecasting, technology, and business process.
Procurement is the act of obtaining goods or services, typically for business purposes. Typically, it refers to the final act of purchasing, but it can also include the procurement process overall, which can be critically important for companies leading up to their final purchasing decision. For supply chain roles, procurement is an integral part of operations that can significantly impact a business’s overall budget.
These positions require a high level of competency in data analytics and the ability to negotiate pricing, contracts, and services. Relationship building is also key to navigating the path between business objectives and your bottom line. If you’re a recent college graduate or looking for entry-level positions, procurement positions often include strategic sourcing, purchasing and logistics.
Managing the transport of goods is arguably one of the most critical roles in the supply chain. Shippers of choice, route optimization, last mile delivery, and of course, disruptions are just some of the areas that transportation professionals have to thrive in. These positions focus on agility, requiring teams that work “in the now” and can quickly pivot when circumstances arise.
Transportation managers are ultimately responsible for the delivery of the goods for the business and the quality and speed at which deliveries are received. Managing load size and weight, safety precautions for drivers and operators and the latest on qualifications and certifications are at the forefront of transportation. With the increase in delivery demands this past year, transportation managers are needed now more than ever.
4. Customer Service
Though not always thought of as a highly sought-after sector of the supply chain, customer service is vital to a successful supply chain operation. Thriving supply chains begin and end with quality relationships built on trust and superior service. The only way to achieve that kind of reputation is through unparalleled customer service.
For example, while many businesses are cutting costs by moving their call centers offshore, WSI believes in the value of its company-owned and operated domestic call center. WSI provides outstanding, timely customer service. Additionally, a cross-functional customer service team ensures continuous support and consistent performance for a variety of customers with a variety of product-specific needs.
Customer service roles focus on the company’s core values while helping with growth and employee and customer retention. Like other supply chain fields, there are many career opportunities within customer service, including various entry-level roles. From an account specialist working to coordinate product shipments and resolve customer issues to more senior-level management roles, customer service career opportunities can significantly impact a company’s success.
Supply chains and logistics companies are ever-evolving and rapidly growing. To keep up with demands, new management positions are being created every day. From technology, to strategy and creative roles, there is something for everyone in the supply chain industry. Looking to jump-start your career but don’t know where to begin? We’re happy to chat about our experiences and how WSI works to provide professional development.