Is all the doom-and-gloom talk about the economy getting you down? Are you worried about the housing market meltdown, the credit crunch, rising unemployment, inflation, stagflation, and the possibility of recession? Most important, are you concerned that your job might not be there in the not-too-distant future?
Well, if you're reading this page, chances are good that you're already working in the logistics field—and quite possibly, have risen to the top of your profession. If that's the case, you can sit back and relax. Though things may be pretty dismal in other parts of the economy, it appears that in your little corner of the business world, everything's going to be all right.
It's not that the logistics business is recession-proof—if the economy were to plunge into a deep, sustained recession (and I'm certainly not suggesting that's what's happening here), it, too, would feel the pinch. But even during severe slowdowns, there are things that have to be moved: drugs and surgical supplies to hospitals, for example, or milk and bread to grocery stores, or soybeans to Japan. Someone has to take charge of moving all that stuff. Someone has to make sure it gets exactly where it's supposed to go— whether it's Shenzhen or Sheboygan—when it's supposed to be there. And perhaps most important of all, someone has to find a way to get it there at the lowest possible cost. During hard times, in particular, the ability to move things cheaply can be a major source of competitive advantage.
As a result, logisticians remain one of the most sought-after groups of business executives on the planet.
For evidence of that, look no further than the stampede of corporate recruiters to business schools across the country.What are they looking for? Students who are about to graduate with a degree in logistics management. Logistics majors are in high demand these days. At Ohio State University, for example, 25 percent of the recruiters who visit the campus are seeking out students enrolled in OSU's logistics programs, according to a report in Business First of Columbus.
That's not to say that these new graduates are being ushered directly into the executive suite. After all, a degree is one thing; a degree plus practical on-the-job experience is quite another. Most of the employment opportunities for this spring's crop of graduates—or at least, for those graduating with a bachelor's degree— are found closer to the ground floor.Many of the recruiters swarming around college campuses right now want people who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. They're looking for on-site distribution center managers as well as demand forecasters and logistics analysts.
Though the general public tends to see these types of jobs as part of a boring, soulless profession, those of us in the field know better. We know that the supply chain is the engine that drives a company's success.We know that there are almost endless ways in which a fully optimized logistics operation can boost supply chain efficiency, in the process reducing costs, improving customer service, and driving revenue.
So, take comfort. While the business world fixates on a looming economic meltdown, you can relax and smile. The future for logistics professionals has never looked brighter. In fact, you just might want to reach for the shades.