If you're thinking about making a career change or just graduating high school with an eye towards a lucrative career path, you may have thought about the logistics industry. Logistics encompasses all the services involved in getting products from one part of the globe to another, and it is a growing industry. Here are two jobs that are always in demand in the world of logistics.
Distribution Center Supervisor
Distribution centers hold products in a warehouse setting for either one company or multiple companies. When orders for these goods are received, either from the company directly or from customer orders, the distribution center is responsible for shipping them. Sometimes they are sent to retail outlets while others are sent directly to consumers at home.
The manager or supervisor of a distribution center has to coordinate both the receiving of goods from their point of origin and their shipping to their destination. In between, the supervisor oversees storage, picking, packing, kitting, and other aspects of preparing materials for transport.
Distribution center supervisors need to have a variety of skills. They should be able to manage people while understanding the transportation and warehousing industries. A knowledge of information technology is helpful today too, as most distribution centers are organized with warehouse management software that makes receiving, storing, and shipping goods much easier, especially at high volumes with international traffic.
A freight broker is an independent intermediary between a company needing to ship its goods and a freight carrier to get them to their destination. A freight broker receives a commission for arranging the best transport of materials. Ideally, the shipper saves money by the broker finding an economical route of transport, and the carrier is rewarded by filling their trucks, planes, or ships.
Freight brokers should be highly organized and able to deal with stress, as this can be a demanding job with high pressure clients. Challenges with weather and labor strikes, for example, can necessitate having to make last minute contingencies. Having fluency in other languages and strong negotiating skills are a big plus for freight brokers.
How to Land These Jobs
While neither of these jobs require a college degree, more and more people who are interested in various aspects of logistics are studying it at the university level. In China, an epicenter of the logistics industry, there are whole colleges devoted to logistics.
Alternatively, distribution center managers often start out on the warehouse floor and work their way up. This gives them the first-hand knowledge they need to eventually manage a center.
Freight brokers have several routes they can take. Some get hired by large logistics companies and are trained internally. The advantage to this is that the company will help with requirements like a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator license, insurance, or surety bonds, which protect the customers' goods.
Many freight brokers, however, start off working in the transportation field, in trucking or shipping, and go on to take freight broker training at accredited schools. There, they learn about the legal and business aspects of brokering freight before applying for jobs in the field.
If you are interested in either of these growing careers, it's a wise idea to check out the educational options outlined above. If you are already in a related industry, ask your connections if they can arrange for you to spend time with someone who is already doing one of these jobs, so you can see what it's like on the inside.