For years, no one understood the powerful asset supply chains were for companies. The supply chain was treated like an expense – an expense without the need of leadership and dynamic strategy.
In the past 15 years, however, supply chains have become one of the most integral departments of any business, and now logistics is being consulted in every step of new product creation, marketing and production. Supply chain management is rising to the occasion but needs logistics leadership to grow and maintain a dynamic supply chain.
Here are some ways to position yourself as a leader in the field of logistics.
Start with the right education.
It is getting more difficult to rise up in the management ranks as based on experience alone. Post-secondary education for logistics leaders comes in two levels: The first level is improving formal writing, dynamic communications practices and quantitative analysis – essentially a business degree. The next level encompasses learning the industry, logistics management styles, leadership, logistics laws, economics, finance, freight systems and global trade. These can be learned with an apprenticeship or through some grad school programs.
But the need for education doesn’t end with school. Good leaders should be growing in understanding of related fields like marketing and retail. Challenge yourself to think big-picture in many aspects of your life, as that is the primary function of a manager in supply chain.
Stay focused on the horizon.
The defining characteristics of a great manager include the ability to tune out all the noise and steer his/her team through challenges. Avoid getting bogged down in day-to-day operations. That will often lead to a reactive way of handling problems, but identifying them in advance will allow you to proactively fix problems instead of treating symptoms.
You can achieve a methodical attitude toward daily operations by cultivating 4 abilities: future planning, simple organization, diligent motivation of yourself and your team and control without micromanagement.
Collaboration is key.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people refuse to lean on someone else when things get too difficult or don’t meet their skill set. Wherever you lack as a leader, build a team around you to pick up the slack. Making your second in command the yin to your yang shouldn’t feel threatening. It’s just good business sense.
Play to Win.
Set far-reaching goals for your team to push their limits and strengthen the supply chain. Businesses are always trying to do more with less: fewer warehouses, longer supply chains, fewer employees. Have your team ready for challenges that will most certainly come. Treat your supply chain like an integral team by addressing needs, goals, opportunities and threats.
Growing yourself and your team by investing time in others and forward thinking is the key to success in becoming a true leader in any field.