Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From Point A to Point B: Veterans Power Logistics

No matter the industry, logistics are what keeps it moving. Supply chain, operations, quality engineering, and inventory control are all a part of making sure goods get from their point of origin to their point of consumption. Thought to have originated from the ancient Greek and Roman military's need to supply itself as it moved around, it is only fitting that veterans are powering this very important job function.

Samantha Holys, a former Army Captain Medical Service Officer and instructor of Medical Logistics, is a great example of how training in military logistics translates into civilian logistics. Now a Corporate Warehouse Supervisor with Best Buy, Holys explains how her military experience helps in her civilian career: “I was very fortunate to have worked in the logistics field for the last several years in the Army. I think it is a great fit for me. I feel like Military Officers encompass many of the skills employers are seeking in today's market, such as leadership and the flexibility to work under difficult and demanding circumstances and still complete the mission.” 

And completing the mission is what logistics is really all about—making sure all the moving pieces come together when, where, and how they’re supposed to. With this definition in mind, here are four career fields within logistics in which veterans have found particular success:

Supply Chain Analysis

Veterans have experience moving people, fuel, and materiel over long distances under difficult conditions.  Mission-oriented, veterans are able to evaluate multiple variables in constantly changing conditions to get the right amounts of what they need where they need it. Additionally, JMOs have experience with inventory and supply databases, technology, and software systems.

Operations Management

No two days are the same in the military, and veterans understand how to lead while staying flexible to get the job done.  Veterans have experience building and leading diverse teams and dealing with different groups of people.  Whether biggest customer or hourly laborer, they maintain respect for each individual.  And the military’s as a dedication to safety translates into a safe civilian workplace environment.  From the loading dock, to the warehouse, to the pier, veterans are the prime movers getting the job done with the highest production and lowest possible cost.

Quality Engineering and Improvement

During the mid to late 90s, companies became increasingly aware of the relationship between quality, waste, cost, and efficiency.  Veterans were brought in to help improve and influence change in the logistics trains of many companies.  This occurred through quality initiative programs that included six sigma programs or upgrading technology and machinery.  Veterans are often the change agents companies seek.

Inventory Control Management

From MREs to missiles, the military has a constant need for inventory control.  Veterans have experience in maintaining inventory control with the latest computer systems and technology.  From tracking cargo across oceans, to maintaining an orderly warehouse, they are trained to do things right the first time and know how to take care of their customers.

With 100+ different military occupational specialties (MOS) across all branches related to logistics, veterans may see a direct correlation between a Marine Corps Logistics Officer, a Senior Army Noncommissioned Logistician, or an Air Force Logistics Readiness Officer, and civilian logistics positions. But they should also consider the logistics inherent in many, many other MOSs. Indeed, officers and enlisted alike are poised to make an impact on the logistics of industries ranging from construction to manufacturing to retail.

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