Guest post by Brenda Harris
Logistics deals with the questions of what, where, how and when materials must be supplied from where to where, how should it be transported, and when must it arrive for the entire operation to progress smoothly with minimal interruptions. The logistics chain in any operation is difficult to manage, and unless you’re extremely efficient, prepared to anticipate problems and execute contingency plans, you’re going to find it stressful. So it’s important that you keep yourself sharp and continue to hone your skills. Efficient logistics managers generally adopt the following practices in order to excel at their jobs:
- Plan ahead: The hallmark of an efficient logistics manager lies in the planning process. When the plan is foolproof, there is minimal chance of failure or a breakdown in the chain, unless there are extenuating circumstances. So a good logistics manager will know how to plan well head to eliminate the possibility of any delays in the supply chain.
- Don’t be overconfident: Even though the plan may be foolproof, logistics managers worth their salt know that they can never be overconfident that nothing can go wrong. They always keep in mind Murphy’s Law: if something can go wrong, it will. So, have contingency plans lined up. They know that it’s foolish to depend on only one supplier or vendor and generally have a broad network of sources for the products and services they need.
- Never panic: Keeping a cool head in the face of a disaster is essential if you want to improve your logistics management skills. If you panic or worse, show that you’re losing control, the situation could go haywire and your entire operation could end up in shambles. To become a better logistics manager, you must be able to think on the fly and come up with temporary solutions instead of going into a tizzy and losing your cool. When you know how to make the best of a bad situation, you don’t tend to panic and upset everyone else working with you too.
- Cultivate strong relationships along the supply chain: Logistics managers know that their entire operation is only as strong as the weakest link in the supply chain. So they take great pains to forge strong and honest relationships with their suppliers and vendors so that the goodwill they earn keeps their operations moving flawlessly. They know that even one bad relationship can sour the entire supply chain and cause failure.
- Learn from mistakes: And finally, the best logistics managers know and accept that they are bound to make mistakes. They don’t make excuses for them, rather, they use them as stepping stones to success, learn from their mistakes and chalk it up to experience.