Explore logistics: Logistics Industry update, 2014
Transportation and logistics is a global industry. The reduction of trade barriers internationally has led to rapid growth in the logistics market. And as world trade grows, so do challenges for the transportation and logistics industry. Global trade in goods and services is likely to rise more than threefold to USD 27 trillion in 2030. In emerging countries, growing populations mean an increased need for logistics.
As the world becomes more interconnected and employees more mobile, logistics has become one of the most important career fields in the world. Worldwide, more than $1.4 trillion is spent annually on logistics and the amount will grow with the continued expansion of the global marketplace.
In the retail industry too, logistics which was once considered an important, behind-the-scenes operational activity, is now recognised as a strategic tool for creating customer value and loyalty. Companies like Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, and Nike attribute a great deal of their success to their global logistics systems.
Unlike some careers that require you to relocate to a specific area or region, careers in logistics can be situated anywhere. The logistics industry employs people worldwide, providing a cost-effective means of distributing goods locally and globally.
Nearly every Fortune 500 and Global 500 company can be considered a potential employer for logistics managers. From the largest airplane manufacturer to the smallest glue producers, any company that purchases and/ or sells products has a need for logistics professionals to manage the flow of product and information locally, nationally, and internationally.
The types of businesses and organisations that employ logistics managers include:
- Manufacturing firms
- Industrial and consumer goods companies
- Logistics firms – warehousing, dedicated carriers, forwarders, etc.
- Transportation firms – freight and/ or passenger
- Education organisations – universities and training firms
- Service institutions – banks, hospitals, etc.
- Consulting firms – strategy, technology, etc.
- Merchandising firms – retailers, wholesalers, distributors
- Government agencies
The increasing importance of analytical, strategic, and technological activities also makes logistics an attractive career. Many people who begin a career in logistics find that they quickly gain enough experience with international business to develop new skills or to explore new opportunities. A career in logistics is an easy foot in the door for relocating to other countries, temporarily or permanently.
Logistics management offers job openings at all levels, excellent salaries, upward mobility, exciting responsibilities and worldwide opportunities within the function and throughout the company. The Collegiate Employment Research Institute reports that logistics is a field with more positions than graduates each year.
As roles and value have grown, the need for well-educated, talented professionals with a diverse array of skills has emerged. A logistics career path can focus on a wide variety of functional areas:
- Logistics planning and analysis
- Transportation management
- Warehouse operations management
- Inventory planning and control
- Purchasing and materials management
- International logistics management
- Production planning and operations
- Supply chain management
- Customer service management
- Information systems and control
- Logistics services marketing and sales
- Logistics engineering
Any number of these areas can be combined under the responsibility of a single logistics executive.
Some organisations spread logistics functions across multiple departments. As a result, your career path may weave through marketing, manufacturing, operations, and/ or specific product divisions. The main role though is to identify areas that need improvement and to solve challenges to increase organisational efficiency and profitability.
Salary & compensation in logistics management
|Director of Logistics||$138,600|
|Warehouse Operations Manager||$78,700|
|International Logistics Manager||$69,200|
|Warehouse Outbound Operations Manager||$54,000|
|Customer Service Manager||$50,900|
The top-earning logistics executives and consulting partners command compensation packages worth more than $500,000. In addition to receiving outstanding salaries, logisticians receive a full range of valuable benefits and most are eligible for bonus pay. A recent study by William M. Mercer, Inc. indicates that more than 85% logisticians earn incentive pay in addition to their base salary. It is also important to note that salaries have risen each of the last five years – according to annual surveys conducted by Cahners Research.
Because logistics has so many facets and levels, opportunities for advancement are always available to either climb the ladder or move laterally. In addition, the logistics industry tends to promote and train low-level employees to high-level positions. Promotions are commonplace, and the hardest working and most innovative individuals can advance quickly.
These trends in logistics are quite visible throughout the Americas and Europe and are slowly attaining their due importance in Asia Pacific countries.
Geographies to target
The World Bank ranked Singapore as the No. 1 Logistics Hub amongst 155 countries globally in the Logistics Performance Index. Singapore’s strategic location has made it an important logistics hub with 20 of the top 25 global logistics players conducting operations there. The country also boasts the world’s busiest transhipment hub, handling about one-seventh of the world’s container transhipment throughput or 31.26 million TEUs of containers in 2012.
Saudi Arabia and UAE are among the top 10 countries in the world, in terms of their logistics industries. Dominated by oil and gas, several of the Middle Eastern economies have also become destinations for re-export to Asia, Europe and Africa. Further, with a growing number of rich consumers, the region is also a major destination for goods and services, in itself.
Right now, governments across the Middle East are focused on building infrastructure, including ports and airports, and networks connecting their countries. Dubai has won the bid to host World Expo 2020, leading to a host of multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects being announced. At the same time, warehouses are being built to serve domestic and international business needs. Thanks to these factors, the Middle East is experiencing huge demand for logistics professionals, sparking salary growth in key positions. A broad range of connected sectors such as aviation, ports, supply chain, FMCG, and oil and gas, too, are looking to hire.
Attracting and retaining new talent is the biggest challenge for the Supply Chain and Logistics sector, and is also a key focus of the region’s air cargo industry.
Profiles in demand include:
- Warehousing in-charge
- Supply chain managers
- Project managers
- Senior logistics managers
- Procurement specialists
- Store managers and supervisors
Emerging as a global economic power with a seismic effect on the global market, the logistics sector in China is booming.
India is steadily following China’s footprints by consistent marching ahead in the field of logistics due to favourable market trends, outsourcing and government policies. According to the National Skill Development Organisation of India, the transportation and logistics sector employed around 7.3 million people in 2011. This number is expected to increase to about 25 million by 2022. Transportation and logistics companies will need to find more than 17 million more workers over the next 10 years.
Developed nations like the United Kingdom and the United States already have strong logistics policies and are keen to outsource from China, India and Asia-Pacific due to the cost factor.
Estimates from the U.S. Department of Labour show the U.S. logistics sector is expected to create more than 1 million job openings between 2013 and 2016. Organisations in the U.S spent 1.3 trillion on logistics in 2011 – up from $678 billion in 1990. Logisticians held about 125,900 jobs in 2012. The top market for logisticians is Bellingham, WA, where the average annual salary is $96,740.
Australia’s rapidly changing transport technologies are increasing demand for more highly skilled workers. By 2020, they will need to move twice as much freight as today, and by 2050, the amount of freight will have tripled.
Home to 1 billion people who have become consumers, research by PWC affirmed South Africa as the top destination for transport and logistics companies. Countries in both East and West Africa are making strides in improving their infrastructure. In West Africa, Nigeria is investing US $2 billion to rehabilitate and reconstruct about 2,000 km of railway lines. This growth will only accelerate as the other African countries upgrade their road and railway networks.
Logistics is a discipline attracting the best and brightest people from all walks of life. With the right education, skills, and drive to succeed, you can build a prosperous career in logistics, in any part of the world.
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