Logistics Jobs and Careers, Transport Jobs and Careers
In the UK, Logistics and Transport remains a fast growing industry. It covers a range of transport areas and accounts for around 15% of all employment in the country.
Employers include the major retailers and manufacturing companies, the armed services, specialist transportation companies, contract fleets and parcel delivery firms.
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Some areas are growing rapidly despite the recession: outsourcing to specialist distribution companies and consultancies, offering not just transport but purchasing, freight forwarding and warehousing, is expanding continually. Today, it represents around 40% of all logistics work.
Transport and logistics managers oversee all the processes of these supply chains, ensuring that the right product arrives in the right quantity at the right time.
Transport and Logistics Manager Job Description
The transport and logistics manager's role encompasses some or all of the following responsibilities.
- Planning routes and scheduling loads for deliveries to be dropped in a multitude of locations.
- Liaising with customers and agents to book in collections and deliveries.
- Allocating and recording movements and location of resources throughout the transport planning system.
- Coordinating every agent along the supply chain to ensure that operations run smoothly and effectively.
- Negotiating with and booking subcontractors and communicating requirements, while ensuring the delivery terms are met.
- Working on developing new relationships with clients and contractors.
- Projecting transport budgets and ensuring these are adhered to.
- Responding to unforeseen circumstances and utilising contingency plans, for example in extreme weather or traffic problems.
- Managing staff involved in warehouses and distribution centres.
- Utilising IT systems to coordinate and control the flow of goods and manage inventories.
- Ensure all operations comply with legal regulations concerning driver hours, vehicle safety, customs requirements, food transportation and environmental factors.
Skills and Type of Person Required for Logistics Jobs / Transport Jobs
The effective transport and logistics manager needs to display the following skills and aptitudes.
- A strategic and logical approach is essential, with sharpened problem-solving abilities. Organisational and planning abilities are a significant part of this.
- Numeracy and financial acumen are important, in order to run operations in a most cost-efficient manner, as well as operating to a budget.
- Strong communication skills to ensure strong lines of communication with customers and subcontractors.
- IT and computing abilities due to the essential use of software and networked communications to plan and operate supply runs.
- A systematic approach with excellent time management abilities.
- The ability to work well under pressure, which can be extreme at times.
- Leadership skills, especially decision-making coupled with the aptitude for lateral thinking, coupled with a team-working approach.
- The ability to react flexibly to changing situations and to revise plans at short notice.
- A diplomatic approach and tact when dealing with customers and subcontractors who are working under pressure.
- Knowledge of the transport industry combined with solid geographic knowledge.
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Training Needed for Transport and Logistics Jobs
Traditionally, this role has been one that people have worked their way into. It is still possible to work in another area of the supply chain, such as retail management or purchasing, before moving laterally into logistics. Consultancies usually require several years of such experience before employment at a management level.
However, the growing sophistication of transport and networked systems within the industry, as well the critical finances involved means that graduates are now being sought for many roles. The complex blend of skills and aptitudes required for these management roles is well served by degree holders.
Degrees can be in any subject area, although a business, marketing or logistical component is highly advantageous. Other subjects are economics, environmental subjects, geography, IT, psychology or social science.
Postgraduate degrees and qualifications that are specific to transport and logistics are also available. Graduate training programmes exist with many of the large transport logistics companies. As with all such schemes, competition for limited places is often strong.
Work experience, either during a secondment from education, seasonal work or employment on completion of studies, is extremely valuable. This can be in any relevant area of warehousing or storage, retail or administration.
With a specific combination of qualifications and experience, it's possible to gain membership of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).
Hours and Conditions
This area of work invariably involves long hours. Transport activity can vary throughout the year, with clear peaks and troughs. The peak times are generally going to involve working under pressure and consequently longer hours. Flexibility regarding hours is useful, as weekend working may sometimes be involved.
Some travel may be involved, depending on the role. It usually isn't a feature of the working week, as the manager is based at a centralised location. Offices are usually in urban locations across the UK.
Salaries vary depending on the company and specific industry, as well as location. Starting salaries for graduates are around £15,000 - £18,000 a year. This can rise to £30,000 - £40,000 within six years.
Transport and Logistics Jobs Sites
- Website for logistics and supply chain professionals - www.supplychain-jobs.com
- Transport jobs' site - www.jobs-in-transport.com
- Jobs' website - www.careersinlogistics.co.uk