The world needs more data-driven, tech-savvy logisticians to manage the flow of goods and services in a technology-obsessed world – and that’s exactly where a pragmatic education can help. How can aspiring logistics professionals ensure their college program offers the curriculum and the resources they need to succeed? Check out this blog post followed by a great infographic at the end.
Here are the key components of an effective logistics education:
A STEM Education with Logistics Focus
There’s no substitute; logistics professionals need a strong STEM background. A STEM education equips its graduates with the hard and soft skills they’ll need to succeed in the logistics industry: data-driven thinking, technological know-how, a foundational understanding of logistics processes and a problem-solving mindset.
Logistics is all about interconnectedness and multi-faceted processes, and an impactful logistics education will explore multiple fields of study to teach this.
In logistics degree programs, students analyze the details of smaller logistics processes to prepare for the larger supply chains they may someday manage. This insight allows them to be better, more understanding leaders, who operate from a comprehensive perspective. Without a cross-disciplinary curriculum, students may fall into the trap of thinking too narrowly, and miss the big picture, which is an essential skill to lead in the logistics industry.
A varied course load also equips students with the soft skills necessary to thrive in the logistics field, including time management, team collaboration and business intelligence.
Hands-On Workforce Experience
In such a hands-on industry, there can be no gap between educational and practical applications. The ideal logistics education puts students into the industry as soon as possible. This pragmatic learning approach makes everything in the classroom more tangible, ensures students have no misconceptions about their field of study, and gives them a chance to apply their learning to real-world situations. If internships and industry connections aren’t built into a logistics degree, students won’t be prepared to jump into a career.
Future-Oriented Thinking and Creativity
At every stage in the educational process for logisticians, educators must encourage forward thinking and open-mindedness. Logistics professionals fuse data-driven insights with innovation to create more efficient, cost-effective processes; and in the future, logisticians must also be prepared to make bold changes to adapt to emerging technology.
Regardless of your role in an organization, it’s important to be an effective communicator who works collaboratively with others. Since logistics professionals often act as a catalyst for change, great relationships with peers are even more crucial. Colleagues must trust logisticians to make decisions about processes that impact them and their organization. Building this trust and prioritizing clear communication are the human elements that make logistics innovation possible.
Familiarization with Industry Tech and Tools
Robots, drones, tracking technology, increasing automation and other cutting-edge technologies are increasingly prominent in production and distribution. It’s important for logistics students to practice with these technologies early so their understanding of these tools becomes second-nature by graduation. When it comes time to transition into the workforce, students who already understand the capabilities and limitations of technology are at an advantage. And it’s versatile: a technology-driven education prepares graduates for any number of STEM careers, including numerous logistics positions.
Overall, the single most important factor in preparing for a logistics career is education. A high-quality STEM education fine-tunes the skills logisticians are required to have, and it will incorporate the key components noted above.