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In-Depth Jobs


Issue no 29, 15-21 October 2022

Careers in Supply Chain Management & Logistics

 

Dali Agrahari

Prateek Singh

The vision of the National Logistics Policy is "to develop a technologically enabled, integrated, cost-efficient, resilient, sustainable and trusted logistics ecosystem in the country for accelerated and inclusive growth." The National Logistics Policy clearly lays down an action agenda for immediate on ground implementation of various initiatives; human resource development and creation of a pool of skilled manpower is one of them. This will require mainstreaming of logistics in higher education, upskilling and re-skilling of existing workforce. Currently, the Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to more than 22 million people. The National Logistics Policy will improve India's performance in global rankings and pave the way for India to become a global logistics hub. It is estimated that the worth of Indian logistics market will be around USD 215 billion in next two years compared to about USD 160 billion at present. Further, the policy will facilitate 10% decrease in indirect logistics cost leading to the growth of 5 to 8% in exports. Therefore, a plethora of employment opportunities will be added not only in the logistics sector per se but also the entire gamut of sectors involved in the value chain. National Logistics Human Resource Strategy Logistics is very important for any company as, without its proper execution, the company would cease to function and there would be chaos all over the organization. Currently in India, there is a noticeable lack of skilled manpower, inadequate system for job role identification and competency mapping. So how can you qualify yourself to help fill the void? By getting educated! The National Logistics Policy envisages that the Logistics Sector-Skill Council (LSSC) with the guidance of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Higher Education will pursue development of an overarching National Logistics Human Resource Strategy based on stakeholder consultation. The strategy will include mapping of each logistics sector job role to a nodal line Ministry/Department. The strategy will also provide a roadmap for promoting uniform presence of training institutes across the country. A target of six months from now has been set for finalizing the strategy.

Why Choose Logistics as a Career? India has a large stake in international trade with a propensity to grow further in the world order. Every trade, business or organization has a supply chain management setup to take care of the elementary steps that begin with obtaining the raw material and ending with taking the finished product to store shelves or client's door. However, its management is not the task of a single person whether it is a huge enterprise or a small business. A wellmanaged team can make it successful and logistics is the most important piece of the supply chain management (SCM) puzzle.

Role of Logisticians in SCM The job of logisticians falls under the broader umbrella of supply chain management (SCM). Typical job duties include developing relationships with suppliers, ensuring all materials are transported on time, understanding customer needs and finding ways to minimize the cost of moving goods and materials. Many other people in the supply chain will depend on the logistician. It is the logistician's diligence and planning that will allow everyone else to do their job, but there may be sticky situations when the unexpected occurs. This means the logistician needs to keep calm under pressure and communicate effectively to stakeholders who are likely under pressure as well.

Common Logistics Job Profiles: Logistics offer a wide range of career choices. Professionals in this sector have the lucky option of working for a variety of domains including the manufacturing sector, airlines, shipping, rail road, Online Export-Import Facilitators (OEIFs), retail chains, ecommerce platforms, defence sector, etc. So, whether you have recently completed a degree in this field or you simply want to change careers, following is a list of careers that are considered the best in logistics.

Freight Agent: A freight agent coordinates, oversees and tracks the shipment of goods through airlines, trains or shipping docks. They ensure that shipments are picked up and delivered on time, paperwork is completed, and fees are collected. For international shipments, agents prepare and verify customs and tariff forms. They coordinate transportation and logistics details with shipping and freight companies, determine shipping methods and routes from pick-up location to final destination, advise clients on transportation and payment options. They also estimate, negotiate, and determine postal rates, shipment costs, and other charges. Notifying the clients of cargo shipments, status en route, and time of delivery are also part of their job. Agents also prepare bills of lading, invoices, and other required shipping documents. They have to trace lost shipments when necessary. Cargo and freight agents typically manage shipments for multiple clients at once. They often arrange their clients' cargo and freight by destination, and send out many shipments simultaneously.

Supply Chain Manager: Supply chain managers are one of the lead logistics positions in a company. If you consider yourself managerial and communicative, this role might be for you. Supply chain managers oversee the import or creation of raw materials to be used by a business. They track the materials as they are combined, shaped, and altered to form new products, and monitor these items all throughout the product development process. This ensures that adequate supplies are on hand. Lastly, they develop a delivery system that will ensure maximum product creation and optimal shipments to customers or other manufacturers for further use. Ideally, the manager will be able to bring in fresh ideas that allow the company to deliver its products at higher quantities or at a faster rate to the market.

Warehouse Logistics Manager: The Warehouse Logistics Manager's main responsibility is to oversee and organise the operational tasks of storage for shipping client orders in the quantities and time frame required. He ensures the optimisation of the daily tasks in order to facilitate flow (unpacking, returns, preparation, shipment). As a manager he allocates the workload within the warehouse's operational staff and ensures the updating of inventory and transfers to other depots. He optimises the operational costs and ensures the purchase of warehouse consumables. He also participates in the improvement of safety conditions of the warehouse.

Transportation Analyst: Transportation analysts identify problem areas and budget deviations in a company's transportation and supply network. Their job is to collect and interpret data, identify faults, and prepare recommendations to save the company's time and money. They analyse the planning and movement of supplies using specialised software and determine new processes for inventory management, supply chain plans or procurement.

Logistics Engineer: These professionals apply scientific and mathematical engineering principles to the distribution of consumer goods and services to build more efficient infrastructure. They evaluate all aspects and methods of distribution or supply chain to improve efficiency and generate higher profits for their employer. They handle inventory, process orders, plan warehouse layouts, and help design product packaging for better and more streamlined shipping efficiency.

Inventory Manager: Job responsibilities include devising ways to optimize inventory control procedures; inspecting the levels of business supplies and raw material to identify shortages; ensuring product stock is adequate for all distribution channels and can cover direct demand from customers. A successful inventory manager is a reliable professional with excellent record-keeping abilities. They possess great attention to detail and a business mindset. The goal is to ensure that all business operations have adequate material to achieve their objectives.

Procurement Manager: A Procurement Manager, or Purchasing Manager, oversees a company's sourcing capabilities and supply chain. They are responsible for finding and evaluating suppliers, products and services, negotiating contracts and acquiring the most cost-efficient deals without compromising on quality. By networking and building relationships with suppliers, procurement managers can successfully work towards their goal of implementing cost-saving strategies and improving overall company operation.

Customer Service Representative: A logistics customer service representative acts as the middleman between clients or suppliers and the logistics team. They will communicate any issues to engineers or managers and relay the solutions to the client or supplier. This job also involves offering quotations, handling sales invoices and maintaining client records. Ideally, a customer service representative in this field should have experience or knowledge of logistics in order to properly understand the process and have a firm grasp of client and supplier concerns.

Logistics Consultant: Logistics consultants typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include planning and managing complex supply chains across multiple modes of transportation. They help companies improve efficiency through the use of technology, such as electronic data interchange (EDI) systems. They require creating reports based on analyses of performance data to help clients make strategic decisions about operations. Consultants also dig for new market opportunities for clients by identifying customer needs, goals, and preferences. They analyze data to determine the best locations for new warehouses or distribution centers based on population density, economic growth potential, and other factors. A career as a logistics consultant requires travelling to different distribution sites, maintaining relationships with clients and managing several projects at once.

International Logistics Manager: International logistics managers coordinate with overseas vendors to manage import activities in order to meet service level expectations. They also develop and implement supply chain strategy for international business expansions; assist in managing shipment and custom activities for import services and negotiate sea and air freight quotes with carriers. While doing so, they identify opportunities for cost reduction, material flow improvement, and business development. They create and maintain detailed financial reporting on all import activities including order management, logistics and shipping. International logistics managers will have to ensure that all the companies' logistics activities are carried out in accordance with local, national and international customs and regulations.

Educational Programmes/ Courses: Transport and Logistics courses are offered under the umbrella of supply chain management specialisation. Transport & Logistics deals with planning, implementing, and controlling the storage of goods and services, from point of origin to consumption. Owing to rapid growth in e-commerce and other related industries, a career in the transport & logistics field provides a promising future. Students pursuing transport & logistics courses are taught about purchasing, warehousing, decision inventory management, material management, supply chain analytics, supply chain benchmarking etc. so that as Supply Chain or Transport managers candidates can plan and manage growth, quality and stream of goods and services in a professional environment. The most successful logisticians have a strong understanding of Supply Chain Management as a whole. Therefore, degree program focused squarely on Supply Chain and Logistics Management can provide an excellent foundation for understanding how all of the individual elements of supply chain management fit together. In India, transport & logistics courses are available at the certificate level, degree level, postgraduate diploma and postgraduate degree levels. Students can pursue transport & logistics courses either full-time or through distance learning. Some institutes offer an MBA with specialization in supply chain management, operations management and logistics. The courses at all levels aim to provide a cutting-edge experience to candidates who wish to enter the operations, supply chain and logistics industry. Most of the programmes will offer you the following insights:

 

  • Introduction to Operations Management.
  • Business Statistics and Analytics
  • Quality Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Logistics
  • Contemporary Topics and Operations and Supply Chain
  • Project Management (On the job training)

 

Eligibility: For undergraduate courses, candidates need to have cleared 10+2 from a recognized board. For postgraduate courses, candidates need to have graduation or equivalent education from a recognized university. For pursing an MBA with specialization in supply chain management and logistics, candidates may also require to pass the entrance examinations conducted at national and state levels. Candidates qualifying the entrance exams will have to appear for group discussion and personal interview rounds. Listed below are some examinations for admission to Transport & Logistics courses:

 

  • CAT (Common Admission Test): It is the gateway to IIMs, FMS Delhi, IMT, SPJIMR, IIT-DoMS, MDI Gurgaon, IMI Delhi and other top ranked MBA colleges.
  • XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test): This is the gateway to XLRI Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur.
  • CMAT (Common Management Admission Test): It is conducted by the NTA (National Testing Agency) and valid for admission to all government institutions. Many private institutes also accept CMAT score for admission.
  • MAT (Management Aptitude Test): It is conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA) multiple times a year. This is also a gateway for 800+ MBA Colleges in India.
  • SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test): It is a national-level test held in computer-based mode for admission in more than 26 MBA /M.Sc. programmes offered by 15 Symbiosis International (Deemed) University affiliated institutes.
  • ATMA (AIMS Test for Management Admissions): Conducted by the Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS), the test is one of the popular national level MBA entrance exams for admission to MBA, PGDM, PGDBA and other post graduate management courses. ATMA is recognized as quality test by AICTE and Ministry of HRD, Govt of India. About 200 MBA colleges across India accept ATMA score for MBA admission.
  • NMAT by GMAC (National Management Aptitude Test by Graduate Management Admission Council): The NMAT by GMAC score is accepted by leading private Business Schools in India, South Africa, Nigeria, Philippines and Morocco.
  • TANCET (Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test): It is an admission test conducted to fill PG seats, across courses, in colleges of Tamil Nadu. Anna University conducts the state-level entrance exam for various PG courses, including MTech/ MArch/ MPlan/ ME, MBA and MCA programmes.

 

Transport & Logistics Syllabus: Though the curriculum varies from institute to institute as per courses, transport & logistics courses usually teach and train candidates in aspects like economic and management decisions, organizational behavior, marketing management, operations and materials manage-ment, business communication, introduction to logistics and supply chain management, accounting in logistics, multi-modal transportation, supplier relationship management etc. The institutes/universities design the course curriculum with an aim to develop business sense among the candidates and sensitize them regarding the global transport & logistics scenario. Syllabus for the UG & PG level mainly include the following:

  • International Business Management
  • International Business
  • Principles of Management
  • Financial Management
  • Fundamentals of Logistics
  • Logistics Information System
  • Introduction to Shipping
  • Logistics Freight Forwarding & Port Operations
  • Customs Procedures
  • Warehousing & Inventory Management
  • Transportation & Distribution Management
  • Materials Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Economic & Environmental Analysis
  • Operations Management
  • Industrial Internship program
  • Port agency Quantitative Techniques
  • Shipping Law
  • Shipping Business
  • English & Business Communication
  • Operational Management
  • Marine Insurance

Top Indian Institutes Offering Courses in SCM, Transport & Logistics

  • XLRI Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur
  • Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak
  • Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi
  • Academy of Maritime Education and Training, Chennai
  • Entrepreneurship and Management Processes International, Delhi
  • Chandigarh University, Chandigarh
  • Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur
  • Amity University, Noida
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka
  • St Xavier's College, Kolkata
  • Presidency University, Bangalore
  • Integral University, Lucknow
  • Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune
  • GITAM Institute of Management, Visakhapatnam
  • Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata
  • NIMS Institute of Management and Commerce, Jaipur
  • Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai
  • J K Business School, Gurugram
  • Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand University, Dehradun
  • KL Business School, Guntur
  • BK School of Business Management, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad
  • School of Business, UPES, Dehradun
  • Adamas University, Kolkata
  • Ajeenkya DY Patil University, Pune
  • Institute of Logistics and Aviation Management, Bengaluru

(The above list is indicative only) (The authors are career consultants and co-founder of a popular online coaching app. They can be reached at prateeksinghtalks@gmail.com)

 Views expressed are personal.