Logistics and supply chain management demands unique leadership capabilities. Logistics represents a large investment for most companies, so a strong leader is critically required to develop innovative solutions to optimise logistics and supply chain strategy as well as operations to gain a competitive advantage.
Logistics and supply chains cover a broad area that can only be operated by great leaders. These leaders must be able to address executives at a boardroom level as well as walk to truck drivers and warehouse workers. Great logistic leaders also need intimate knowledge of an entire supply chain because logistics professionals work across functions within an organisation.
As logistics encompasses a wide scope and is a key profit centre, the right leaders can be a critical component to a company’s success today. But what are the key characteristics of successful logistic leadership? Here are the secrets to lead logistic and supply chains successfully:
1. Learning to lead
Successful supply chain leaders get involved with industry organisations and follow current events to help stay up to date on issues affecting the logistics sector. Managers have to look at the whole supply chain and fine-tune the operation, secure better services, reduce costs, and make partnership agreements work to their company’s advantage.
In addition, leaders have to recognise that logistics is part of a broader picture of supply chain management, thus they should be able to design and apply detailed processes for managing day-to-day activities in each sector. Having a broad vision, communicating well, anticipating future trends, and staying competitive are among the secrets to leadership success.
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2. Identifying and seeing the bigger picture
Achieving success in logistics requires 2 levels of skills. First is a basic level that includes basic skills and core competencies such as writing, communications, and quantitative analysis. The second is skills specific to the logistic sector. Hence, improving your educational profile is important. Certificate programs and workshops can help you prepare for the future.
3. Communication mastery
Working in the logistics and supply chains industry demands employees to be good communicators. Leaders must be able to communicate effectively to higher management, peers, as well as truck drivers, warehouse workers and others. Having effective communication with the other departments and teams will ensure smooth operation processes.
More than communication, keeping up with the sector’s fast pace is also essential. In the past, logistics systems moved slower with fewer routes while having customized services. Today, data is more real-time which requires good leaders to move quicker, too.
4. Get competitive, play win
Supply chain has grown more competitive and continuously widened its business to achieve global recognition. When a company moves from domestic to international distribution, challenges multiply as it must deal with different laws, a variety of shipping modes in different countries. Managing international freight requires more effort and different sets of skills and experiences- leaders need to be prepared for this. Moreover, as the supply chain expands its wings internationally, knowledge of geography is not only what’s required, leaders must also master how to optimise supply chains by using the correct mode or combination of modes.
Understanding the overall process and challenges of logistics and supply chains will help the industry thrive. Only by knowing the different steps that are involved in a smooth operation will leaders realise the necessity of current logistics operations, allowing them to make better preparations in forecasting issues that might happen, while having ready solutions to overcome obstacles!
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