18 Sep How can ex-Armed Forces support your business’ logistics and supply chain?
You may have heard us and others banging the drum about the value that ex-Armed Forces candidates can bring to organisations. Their unique experience and extensive training combined with discipline, focus on delivery and excellent communication, provide a fantastic potential employee. But how could ex Armed Forces candidates transition into logistics, storage and supply roles?
There is a lot of cross-over between those who’ve been in the Forces and the logistics sectors. Teamwork, time-pressure and working with multiple agencies whilst trying to achieve the same end goal. All this whilst working in fast-paced, constantly changing environments are common to both parties. But additionally, some specific trades in the Armed Forces, lend themselves to a 2nd career in these logistics, storage and supply chain roles.
The Armed Forces relies on its logistics specialists to supply, transport and deliver everything it needs. This ranges from water, ammunition, people, medical provision, fuel and materiel. They use combinations of land, sea and air to provide the military what it needs to operate. However, they don’t work in isolation. Military logisticians will work with civilian agencies and contractors, gaining exposure to both sets of working practices. Consequently, those who have served in logistics, have many trade and soft skills of value.
- They may have worked in equipment supply, ensuring the military has a constant supply of what it needs to operate. This includes conducting local procurement when deployed, sourcing suppliers, negotiating costs and rates and agreeing contracts. Key responsibilities will be logging and tracking all of those items through sophisticated computer software and mobile equipment. This can include working with customs services and ensuring that all loads are correctly accounted for when moving globally.
- They could have been responsible for the day to day running of a warehouse with fast moving inventory, including office machinery, engineering parts & general stores. The value of this could run into the £Mns
- The could have worked in air dispatch, ensuring loads are made up correctly, safely and securely for loading onto and off of aircraft
- They may have managed the flow of petrol, oil and lubricants, building and securing fuel supply sites for land vehicles
- Or they could have conducted port enabling tasks such as driving and maintenance of boats. This requires marine, mechanical and electrical engineering skills.
Most of these roles have stock-taking responsibilities as well as the investigation and resolution of any stock discrepancies within current supply chain regulations. Military logisticians normally work to tight deadlines. So reducing lost time and increasing process efficiency, whilst maintaining safety and security of people and materiel, is second nature. Logistical professionals often deal with multi-levels of complexity, balancing organisational processes, legal regulation and operational requirements finely, whilst working in austere, hostile and arduous environments.
Throughout their career, they will have received extensive training. This would be in both their specific trade and in people management and team leadership. As a result of this work, military logisticians develop excellent resource, project and contract management skills.
Depending on their time with the military, this could range from Level 2 Certificate in Logistics and Transport to degree level qualifications in supply chain/Logistics management. It is also recognised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Soldiers and Officers can be awarded Associate up to full Chartered membership, depending on experience and seniority. Most also leave military logistics with B, C and +E licenses for driving also as well as tickets for forklifts.