Ever heard of logistics and supply chain management and wondered what it’s all about? Here we break this qualification down.
The logistics and supply chain industry is an important driver of economic growth and development in South Africa. Furthermore, every company that manufactures and distributes a product of any type will inevitably require the expertise of a logistics and supply chain manager. So having this qualification means you’re in demand. Before we discuss what studies in logistics and supply chain management would involve, it is important to first understand what it is, as well as what the main differences between logistics and supply chain management are.
What is Logistics?
At its most basic definition, logistics involves the distribution of a product. It is essentially about getting the right product, to the right customer, in the right quantity, in the right condition, at the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost (commonly known as the seven R’s of Logistics). Logistics includes dealing with the increasingly complex information, communication and systems required for profitable business in today’s world.
What is Logistics Management?
Logistics Management deals with efficient and effective management of day-to-day activity in producing and distributing a company’s finished goods. Fundamentally, it is about maximising both effectiveness and efficiency throughout the process from inception to manufacturing, all the way to final distribution.
What is Supply Chain?
A supply chain is a system of organisations, people, activities, information, and resources that are involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. This includes the product or service development from the very beginning of its lifecycle all the way to distribution to the final consumer.
What is Supply Chain Management?
Supply chain management is the management of supply chain activities to maximise customer value and achieve sustainable profits for a company. It deals with the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Supply chain management involves coordinating and integrating three flows – product, information and finances – both within and among companies.
Studying Logistics and Supply Chain Management
As logistics and supply chain management is such an important part of any company’s business operations, there are numerous routes for interested individuals to study. For anyone interested in becoming a logistics or supply chain-related field, short cuts don’t really exist. You can study the following programmes: higher certificates; diplomas; and degrees. While these three options differ slightly on their content, they all teach students the fundamentals of logistics and supply chain management.
Open Learning Group (OLG) is a fully accredited education institution that offers all three of these logistics and supply chain management options. All programmes offered in logistics and supply chain management offered at OLG are ideal for any individual wanting to enter the field or already working in a logistics-related industry. So if you would like to obtain a formal qualification behind your name, this is the way.
Programmes offered at OLG are conducted via a blended distance learning mode of delivery, offering limited contact classes. This method provides much-needed flexibility for someone who wants the option of fitting their studies into their lifestyle.
What if I Need Extra Support?
Luckily, there are opportunities available to individuals who are looking for extra learning support during their studies. If you need extra support, individuals can apply at the OLG Learning Hub where students can meet in a secure environment to interact and access tools to support the logistics and supply chain distance learning qualifications. The Hubs are situated close to transport services and on main routes.
At the Learning Hubs students have access to:
- lecturers in support sessions
- academic and administrative support
- a computer centre and library
- WiFi in the Learning Hub
Want to apply and need support? Check out the OLG Learning Hub
Let’s take a look at the three different courses in more detail:
Higher Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The higher certificate programme is designed to equip students with basic management knowledge as well as the skills and competencies suitable for operational level logistics and supply chain management personnel. At the end of the course, students are introduced to the importance and contribution of logistics and supply chain operations to any productive organisation . The course aims to equip the individual with applicable, industry-related skills including the following:
- Practical skills in the logistics sector
- General management principles
- Logistics management principles
- Practical decision-making skills
- Situational analysis skills
This programme at OLG must be completed within a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years.
Diploma in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.The diploma in logistics and supply chain management offered at OLG offers prospective students a more extensive exploration into what logistics and supply chain management entails. For starters, the programme is more practical than the higher certificate and must be completed is a minimum of three years with a maximum of five.
This diploma is designed to equip students with the skills to critically analyse, interpret and understand logistics and supply chain principles, processes and procedures such as:
- Applying planning as a management function within a dynamic environment
- Demonstrating an understanding of the basic principles of economics and the economy
- Identifying the various types of business communication in the logistics and supply chain environment
- Applying the principles of logistics management
- Explaining and applying transport economic, management and regulatory concepts and principles
Degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Finally, there is the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in logistics and supply chain management. This degree offered at OLG seeks to develop and refine basic business concepts, analytical skills, business communication, problem solving, and decision-making methods for the prospective student. The outcome of the programme is to equip students with the necessary logistics and supply chain management skills to ensure they will become a dynamic asset to any team. Graduates of the BBA degree at OLG will be taught to do the following:
- Describe supply chain drivers and the metrics used in evaluating them
- Analyse the design, planning, and activities of logistics networks which support domestic and global supply chain operations
- Formulate a framework for a viable and sustainable supply chain and defend it by identifying and addressing relevant supply chain drivers
- Collaborate in teams to make decisions pertaining to the operation of supply chains and logistics networks
- Communicate supply chain decisions in a professional written and oral manner
Careers in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
There are a number of careers that one can follow after having studied a formal qualification in logistics and supply chain management. Such job types include the following:
- Logistics engineer
- Logistics manager
- Supply chain manager
- Materials manager
- Systems support manager
- Logistics and supply chain management analyst
- Logistics and supply chain management consultant
- International logistics manager
Each career will be determined by the electives taken during the formal qualifications, as well as the pathway a person decides upon when working in industry. Furthermore, changing from one of the above to another is a relatively easy transition for someone with experience in the industry. This is since the core fundamentals of the logistics and supply chain management are relevant to each of the above.
One of the most common starting points for graduates entering the industry is generally in customer service management. This plays an important part of logistics and supply chain management on an individual level, since listening to and helping your consumers is the backbone of any business. You can also work managing product inventory, planning and overseeing product transportation needs, and managing the various supplies needed for manufacturing a product.
Importance of Logistics and Supply Chain Management in the Future
In our ever globalising world, in which international trade opportunities are expanding, logistics and supply chain management becomes all the more important for companies wanting to maximise their market share and profits. With globalisation making even the furthest reaches of the globe more and more connected, now is a great time to be looking into the field of logistics. To illustrate, in the United States it is expected that employment in the field is expected to grow by a whopping 22% by 2022. South African statistics won’t be far off this I presume.
Nowadays, companies need to compete with rivals in other countries, who in many cases are able to produce products at a much cheaper price. They also have extensive distribution networks across the globe. This challenge presents an intellectually stimulating opportunity for those who study logistics and supply chain management.
Improvements in transportation systems are becoming increasingly more efficient, allow for the faster distribution of goods. As such, logistics and supply chain managers are required to develop innovative models. So this is a really cool industry to get involved in. As the world continues to change, studying any course in supply and logistics management will be your ticket job opportunities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]