I spent 20 years in logistics. I started out unloading trucks and ended up being the head of operations for a small company. As I advanced in my career, I discovered that the better the job the more the logistics.
Now logistics is procuring, maintaining, supplying and moving anything from facilities, to material, to people. Obviously the importance of logistics can't be overstated. You don't move milk in dump trucks or store windows in busy forklift traffic areas.
Ironically, in life, I found that less important deliveries were sometimes more important to a customer. I've seen a customer angrily explode when food ordered was delivered 30 minutes late; yet later, the same customer was quite kind and generous when a $ 100,000 window order didn't arrive.
Still, the more the logistics, the better the job. Obviously this means better pay. The pizza deliverer makes more than the pizza baker. The salesman who orders product makes more than warehouse personnel. And often the person who coordinates the logistics makes more than everyone but senior sales personnel and upper management. So how do you get into and advance in logistics, especially since logistics' promotions are often in-company.
- Become a truck driver. With this you need the appropriate license which probably involves schooling and definitely requires a good driving record. While in school, get work delivering flowers or pizza. Experience is experience. To advance in logistics in this position it is key that you consistently arrive early to work. Keep a maintained, ironed uniform and good work boots. Don't shy away from long hours and get to know your route. From experience, I recommend buying a disability policy; especially when young, when it's inexpensive. Trucking can be physically hard.
- Work in warehousing . To advance up the logistics' chain, have a clean, pressed uniform and maintained work boots. Be polite. The customer is “Sir or Ma'am.” Work hard, learning from others above you. Obviously, you're learning to be an asset, not a rival. On the job backstabbing only works in the movies. Some old sayings are good advice for you in this field, “ Keep what is supposed to be private, private,” ( In other words, complaining about your roommate isn't a promotion skill), “Early to bed, early to rise, “and “All things in moderation,” within the bounds of common sense. A disability policy is good advice here too.
- Take a job as a salesperson. For logistics' advancement, learn the area and make sure orders for delivery are addressed and filled out correctly. Roofers won't be happy if you send roll roofing when they wanted shingles. Educate yourself on computer systems that your company uses and be organized. And become an expert in your field. Obviously, appearance in sales is important. Those who don't want to dress and look the part because they are free and independent, I have found, may be needing things that are not free and totally dependent on a meager income when they retire. Be free and independent at home. If a job was a vacation, they'd give you a Mai Tai with it. Remember, sales is a tough job which is why it can pay so well.
Honesty and integrity still go a long way despite the occasional business scandal. Common sense and attention to detail are keys to getting the job as well as the job advancement you are seeking. It's worth it to heed good advice if it helps you focus on the right career path.
Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive of a small company that specializes in industrial water treatment, and lives happily with his wife in Western Pennsylvania. He is a contributing writer to Logisticsjobsite and Nexxt. You can read more of his blogs on logisticsjobsiteblog.com.