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10 Key Logistics Skills for Managers


It is the responsibility of a logistics manager to deal with the physical resources of an organization. Logistics activities primarily involve procuring materials, storage, transportation and distribution of the end products. To effectively work in logistics, it is critical to understand of all aspects of the supply chain and develop some key logistics skills.

Here are some of the key logistics skills that a manager should have:

1. Forward Thinking Skills

Forward-thinking may be defined as the act of thinking about the future and planning for it. This is one of the key logistics skills, especially where innovation and entrepreneurial leadership are critical components of an organization. Forward-thinking managers have the following qualities;

a. Courageous – Logistics managers who are forward thinkers are brave enough to make bold decisions and venture into calculated risks that set them apart from the competition.

b. Emotional intelligence – they are able to empathize with clients and critical investors and partners. This makes them good listeners, negotiators and communicators.

c. Strategic planning – forward-thinking managers are able to craft long term strategies and plans.

d. Execution-oriented – they ensure strategies are well executed for guaranteed success and profitability.

e. Commitment – they are highly committed to the set goals and do not allow obstacles to sidetrack their resolve.

2. Strong Numerical and Analytical Skills

This does not necessarily mean that a logistics manager should be a guru in mathematics. Their ability to analyze, collect, visualize, gather, read and interpret data, is what makes them exceptional managers. These logistics skills allow them to solve complex problems and make effective decisions. There are various aspects of analytical skills;

a. Attention to detail – this means you are able to notice, retain and keep track of details. It ensures that work is done accurately and with precision.

b. Critical thinking – you can independently assess a situation or problem. Critical thinking means you question arguments or assumptions and don’t blindly accept them.

c. Decision making – it requires a keen evaluation of a situation to arrive at a choice with the best results.

d. Research skills – for effective research, you must consider the problem, plan, define your research, and collect data.

3. Extensive Industry Knowledge

Knowledge is power. Effective logistics managers equip themselves with information on the latest happenings and trends in the supply chain. It is the work of the manager to ensure the supply chain runs effectively and efficiently. With their use of their logistics skills and expertise, they should conduct research on the processes of other organizations and benchmark their best supply chain practices.

4. Team Player

Being a team player means the manager understands that for success to be realized, everyone has to be involved. It has to be a team effort. The manager should know each team member’s strengths to ensure effective allocation of tasks. It is also wise to commend team members for excellent performance. When working in a team, it pays to treat everyone with respect and in a professional manner.

5. Attention to Detail

An attention to detail is one of the important logistics skills for managers. Logistics managers have a lot on their plates due to the many components of the supply chain. You may decide, as a logistics manager, to set up systems that assist in reviewing and keeping tabs on the organization to enhance efficiency and productivity.

6. Decision Making Skills

For smooth running processes in an organization, a manager must have the ability to make quick, yet effective decisions. They also need to prepare for unforeseen circumstances that may hinder this process. If you are a manager who continually makes poor decisions, do not to worry since you can acquire this skill through learning.

7. Adaptability

You might have done your paperwork, planning and finalized transactions, but there is almost always something you had not considered; an unforeseen cog in the wheel that could bring down the entire system. During such times, your ability to quickly adapt to the changed circumstances and make the right decision will set you apart from the rest.

Change what needs to be changed and make adjustments wherever and whenever necessary. A logistics manager should always remember that ‘the only thing that is constant is change.’

8. Accountability

A logistics manager must take responsibility for blunders that occur under their watch. They must never try to shift the blame when it is daylight clear the fault was on their end. They should be ready to take one for the team.

9. Quick Follow-Through Skills

It is the mandate of the logistics manager to follow up on the various players in the supply chain. Nothing should catch them by surprise. Problems arising in the supply chain should be dealt with and filed away for future reference. In this industry, experience is a great tried-and-tested teacher.

10. Great Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are important logistics skills for managers. In this line of work, the manager meets with people from all walks of life. It is therefore critical for them to establish good relations with everyone. They should be clear, precise and straight to the point since there is zero to no room for miscommunication.

In supply chain management, efficiency is essential to an organization’s success. An effective logistics manager makes it their priority to promote effective and efficient operations, while at the same time making sure customers are satisfied. The end-game scenario should always be an increase in productivity and profitability.