Warehouse logistics is a hot topic these days, as the nation’s unemployment rate drops and there are fewer people to even work in the hands-on shipping and receiving parts of the supply chain. In upper level warehouse management, the field is even narrower. Industry insiders in supply chain management are advising companies to work with academic institutions to identify potential candidates for higher level positions. Only two percent of available candidates have the job skills or training necessary for these positions, so companies either need to invest in training or work with the schools to modify the curriculum so graduates are prepared. Many area colleges have added certification programs in supply chain management or parts of it, which is a viable option for someone with an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field. The industry is thriving now for those thinking about careers in logistics.
As for logistics companies, they are feeling the sting of this shortage of upper management candidates because now they have to invest more in training the right people for the jobs. Rather than hire from outside, many of these companies can move personnel around within the organization, opening doors to new opportunities that were previously not even considered. Current employees already know the organization and the company culture. The employer only has to invest in the specific logistics training. It’s a professional development opportunity for both employer and employee.
By the time the logistics company gets its teams to the customers, they’ve pretty much filled in all the gaps. We don’t see the shortages. We see the product as presented – shipping and receiving services. We also see plenty of competent people on the job. At Everything Warehouse, we use anywhere from three to five different vendors for our shipping and receiving. There are a few reasons for this.
- First, it’s simply not good business sense to have only one company handling logistics. A check and double-check system assures timeliness and accuracy. In addition, if something goes wrong with one company, we always have others to support our needs without starting from scratch.
- It’s a rate-based business. Rates change on an ongoing basis, and although at Everything Warehouse we look for more than just a low price, many people don’t. Most customers want the cheapest rates, no matter what. This is not usually a loyalty business`.
- In addition to good rates, we look for value for the money. That includes delivery timing and consistency. Our customers expect timely delivery as part of their purchase. You can have the cheapest rate on shipping a container but take a full month to get it delivered, and it’s not worth the savings and the aggravation. We look for carriers who are on time, every time.
- Convenience is another big requirement. If the shipping company makes it easy to get an estimate, book a shipment and report on its arrival, they get my vote.
- We look for responsibility. Is the vendor willing to take responsibility for the shipment as if it were his own? That means loading it carefully and properly on the truck, not taking chances with the shipment, and instilling the confidence in us that they will make the best possible decisions when faced with choices about our shipment.
- The vendors we select are those who understand our business. They understand the needs and nuances of our physical products, their packaging and their storage needs. How do they learn this? They pick it up along the way to developing a relationship with us. It’s a two-way street. If you pay attention to how we do business and present us with valuable options that will have a positive effect on our business, we’ll invest in your company. If we need a better price for a shipment, we will request it, and because of our relationship, you’re more likely to have a positive answer.Finally, we do check references. We listen to recommendations for all of our vendors. It’s important to us to know who we’re hiring and who will be handling our product. Our reputation is on the line.