Welcome to our detailed blog on logistics interview questions and answers! As a supply chain and procurement professional, I have received numerous requests for coaching and mentoring to help candidates prepare for their logistics job interviews. My previous blogs on supply chain interview questions and procurement interview questions have been very popular and received positive feedback, so I decided to spend two months putting together this comprehensive guide on logistics interview questions.
Working in logistics can be a challenging job, with various problems and obstacles to overcome on a daily basis. However, with the right skills and knowledge, you can excel in this field. As a logistics professional, you are responsible for implementing effective logistics and supply chain plans to ensure products and services reach their destination on time.
If you’re preparing for a logistics interview, it’s essential to be ready for a wide range of questions that may come your way. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top 20 logistics interview questions and answers to help you feel confident and prepared for your next interview. Whether it’s your experience in the industry or your problem-solving skills, our guide has got you covered. We hope you find this blog useful and share it with others to benefit from it.
Interview Questions for Logistics Manager: Your Ultimate Guide
Congratulations on landing an interview for your dream job as a logistics manager! You’ve done the hard work, from studying the best supply chain resources to watching all the YouTube videos on top tips for preparing for the next logistics interview. However, the anxiety and excitement that come with the interview can leave you thinking for hours about possible logistics interview questions.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! To help you succeed in your interview, we’ve compiled a list of real and must-read logistics interview questions and answers for both freshers and experienced logistics professionals. These are the questions that I have either been asked in an interview or that I typically ask during an interview.
In addition to these specific logistics interview questions and answers, there are also guaranteed possibilities of facing several generic job interview questions. Fortunately, this blog provides resourceful tips on how to tackle them. Plus, don’t forget to watch The Supply Chain Show’s awesome interview to understand what it takes to become top talent in the supply chain industry. With our guide, you’ll feel confident and prepared to tackle any logistics interview questions that come your way!
What to Expect?
In this blog, you can expect:
- A comprehensive list of logistics interview questions
- Commonly expected technical logistics interview questions
- Knowledge-based logistics interview questions and answers
- Personalized interview questions for all levels of logistics professionals
- Tips to tackle upcoming interviews successfully
Logistics Interview Questions and Answers
Q1. In your opinion, what are the Key Competencies for Logistics professionals?
What are the key competencies required for logistics professionals to perform their job function at the highest level? As a logistics professional, you need to have the following competencies to succeed:
- Distribution design, sourcing, and management
- Global trade compliance
- Sourcing and supplier selection/management
- Supply chain continuity planning
- Transportation sourcing and management
- Contract management
Logistics is a vast and critical function that impacts standard and logistical systems, and there are several other essential logistics competencies to know. Having the right logistics competencies can support the marketing function, product development, price promotion, and new ideas to drive change across the organization.
Competent logistics professionals can increase revenue, save costs in operations, and simplify the complexity of distribution networks. To make all this happen, logistics professionals should acquire the above competencies. For more information, check out my article on “6 Must-Have Logistics Competencies for Supply Chain Professionals.”
Q2. How will you achieve 99.9% accuracy in inventory management?
To achieve 99.9% accuracy in inventory, two procedures can be used: Cycle Counting and Stocktaking. These procedures provide high-level accuracy and can be adapted to solve specific problems. Cycle Counting is recommended to minimize physical count pain and maximize the value of the audit. Stocktaking enables assessment of stock loss within a business site and provides an accurate basis for planning and stock control procedures. To learn more about these procedures, check out our guides: “Cycle Counting Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide” and “Stocktaking Procedure: The Ultimate Guide“.
Q3. What’s the most important thing in warehouse management?
When it comes to warehouse management, safety rules should be a top priority. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and paying attention to warning signs and signals. A warehouse management system that prioritizes safety provides consistency, efficiency, and quality control to the entire fulfillment process, leading to improved outcomes at every stage. To learn more about improving your warehouse activities, check out my article on the 5 Basic Warehouse Activities You Should Focus to Improve. And don’t forget to familiarize yourself with warehouse safety audits and the 14 categories they include.
Q4. What type of WMS (Warehousing Management System) or TMS (Transport Management System) or an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) application have you used in the past? What did you like the most when using that application, and were there any limitations that you faced?
WMS, TMS, and ERP are tools (software) that play a crucial role in inventory optimization of a business operation. These tools also help optimize input and output processes alongside slotting, packing, and shipping duties. There are several variants available today for these tools, thus picking the right one is not always easy. WMS comes in three major types (integrated ERP, supply chain execution modules, and standalone warehouse management).
Q5. How would you reduce distribution costs?
When it comes to reducing distribution costs, there are several areas to focus on, including inbound and outbound freight costs, storage costs, indirect costs like energy and customs duties, and direct manning costs. Reducing these costs is essential to saving potential revenue and contributing to the overall profitability of the business. There are several strategies that can be employed to reduce distribution costs, such as optimizing the transportation network, negotiating with suppliers for better rates, implementing automation technology, and improving inventory management.
Q6. Have you launched any ‘space management’ initiatives to reduce warehouse cost per sq. ft.?
Warehouse space planning is a critical aspect of reducing warehouse costs per square foot. Proper planning can improve efficiency, coordination, and control. When planning for warehouse space, the first step is to find a suitable location. Planners should determine the amount of square footage required to store their goods and calculate the necessary space.
To learn more about warehouse space optimization, you can refer to Warehouse Space Optimization: 17 Tactics That Can Be Used to Improve Space.
Q7. From your past experience, tell us about one or two of the most complex problems you faced in warehousing/logistics management and what was your contribution to solve them.
Give us an example of one of your most creative contributions during your past experience preferably related to warehousing/logistics.
This type of question is a frequently asked logistics specialist interview question. It requires you to reflect on your past experiences and provide a response using the STAR method, which involves describing the Situation, Task, Action, and Result – more about that here.
Q8. What are the most important logistics KPIs that you have used to drive process improvement?
When it comes to driving process improvement in logistics, using the right KPIs is crucial. During a logistics interview, you may be asked about the most important KPIs you have used to achieve this goal. While this may seem like a simple question, it requires careful consideration.
One approach is to discuss a specific KPI that you have used to drive continuous improvement in warehouse management. For instance, if you have worked on inventory reduction, you can discuss one of the 7 Inventory Management KPIs and explain your approach to achieving inventory reduction. For more insights on this topic, check out some of the helpful Inventory Reduction Strategies available.
Q9. What would you first do in the department after being hired?
When asked how to answer this question, my acquaintance Melissa Pertusi suggested that “The answer usually is not only the first step but all the backbone of a strategy for 6-12 months. That’s also an opportunity to analyze how organized (in thoughts and actions) someone is, given that the role requires a lot from this skill.”
So remember to do your thorough research on the company and the role before you go in that interview and think about what pain points you might have uncovered and how you go about planning to solve them!
Q10. How to maximize customer-satisfaction in logistics?
When it comes to logistics, customer satisfaction is key. To maximize customer satisfaction, it’s important to focus on the eight “rights” of logistics: the right product, the right way, the right quantity, the right quality, the right place, the right time, the right customer, and the right cost. By ensuring that each of these elements is appropriate and efficient, you can create a supply chain that satisfies customers and maximizes success. Check out my article on the Traveling Salesman Problem and the Eight “Rights” of Logistics for more information and insights.
Q11. Who will be the key stakeholders if you are successful in this job as a Logistics Professional?
When it comes to the success of a Logistics Professional, key stakeholders include the Customer Service Team, Production Team, and Finance Managers. These stakeholders are crucial for creating a vision and strategy, implementing innovative initiatives, and promoting employee engagement. Additionally, Finance Managers provide valuable insights on how finance can contribute to the success of logistics jobs. For more information on why Finance Managers are important stakeholders in the supply chain, check out the article “5 Reasons why Your Finance Manager is Amongst Your Key Supply Chain Stakeholders“.
Q12. Have you designed and created any Standard Work Process in your previous job as a Logistics Manager/Professional?
Creating standard work processes is crucial in reducing variability in daily warehouse and distribution activities, and it is considered one of the four pillars of supply chain strategy. As a logistics professional, designing a solid standard procedure can help ensure consistency and efficiency in tasks such as pick and pack, shipping, safety rules, and packaging instructions.
Q13. What are the best approaches to Supply Chain Modelling?
When it comes to supply chain modeling, there are three main approaches: network design, rough cut methods, and simulation-based methods. Each approach requires careful consideration of critical factors like location, production, inventory, and transportation to make informed decisions. A well-designed supply chain model can lead to significant improvements in performance. For more information, check out my article on Supply Chain Modeling: Approaches and Characteristics to Consider, which can serve as a useful reference.
Q14. How do you evaluate a Fulfillment Company?
Following the e-commerce boom, evaluating fulfillment companies would involve taking consideration of a few core areas of differentiation and capabilities that typically characterize their best metrics. These core areas include:
- Define your goals
- Get a specific price
- Clarify support and training
- Ask for guarantees in writing
- Review your warehouse needs together
My article on How to Evaluate a Fulfillment Company could be a good reference point.
Q15. Given the experience with COVID-19, what is the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for Warehouses during a crisis?
A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for the Warehouse in terms of crisis is only as effective as the planning put in place beforehand. It is critically important to set specific guidelines about who gets directly involved, and which stages everyone gets involved. Engaging the right employees and partners goes a long way in the planning stage, and these create a more transparent, consistent, and more reliable plan.
For businesses with Warehouse (s), the effects of any crisis can be highly damaging, especially to meet customer service expectations. The likely anticipation and preparations through sensible Business Continuity Plan (BCP) require specific vital considerations to help guarantee operational continuity within the shortest possible period.
These key considerations include: Planning, Warehouse/Site contamination, Process/supplier identified for quick decontamination in case of contamination of warehouse/office, Work from Home, Alternative Warehouse location planned/set up in case of contamination, Plan for blue-collar replacement resources in case of sickness/absence, Identify Critical Inventory to duplicate, Operations Disruption, Have a backup Call Center to take customer calls during a crisis, Inbound Routes Planned, Plan of re-routing of incoming shipments, Outbound Routes planned, and Last-mile distribution.
My article 13 Things To Consider in Business Continuity Plan for Warehouse During Crisis could be a good reference point.
Q16. To deliver improvements, which warehouse activities would you focus on?
In general, warehouse activity consists of receiving, put away, storage, packing, and shipping. Warehouses could have different activities according to product specifications, customer requirements, and service levels ordered. The complexity of the warehouse activities depends mainly on:
- the number and variety of items to be handled
- the amount of daily workload to be done
- the number, the nature and the type of processes necessary to fulfill the needs and demands.
My article on 5 Basics Warehouse Activities You Should Focus to Improve could be a good reference point.
Q17. What are the new set of Incoterms® 2020?
As per January 2020, the new set of Incoterms® 2020 are set of trade terms which describe:
- Obligations: Who does what in organizing the carriage, insurance of goods, obtaining shipping documents, arranging for export or import licenses;
- Risk: Where and when the seller delivers the goods, in other words where does the risk transfers;
- Costs: Which party is responsible for which costs
Q18. Is DAT better than DPU?
The use of DAT (Delivered at Terminal) implies the goods were delivered unloaded. For DPU (Delivered at Place Unloaded), the seller is responsible for export, but not for any import formality, including post-delivery transit through third countries.
Q19. Why do CIP and CIF have different levels of insurance?
The insurance covers for damages and losses for two days before and after the moment of actual arrival at the place agreed. However, the reality is that insurance only covers general average and salvage charges sustained to evade loss from any cause except those left out.
Q20. Why is “Bill-of-Lading On-board Notation” added for FCA?
For goods transported by sea, buyers or sellers (or likely banks) may require a Bill-of-Lading (B/L) with an on-board notation alongside FCA (Free Carrier). Nevertheless, delivery under the FCA rule is completed before loading the vessel. Under Incoterms®, the carrier is, under its contract of carriage, bound and entitled to issue an on-board Bill-of-Lading only when the goods are on-board.
Land your next Logistics dream role.
In conclusion, we have covered a range of logistics interview questions and answers that will help you prepare for your next job interview. It is essential to be knowledgeable about the supply chain and logistics industry, and having a solid understanding of these questions will put you in a better position to succeed. Remember, the key to success is preparation, and these questions will help you to do just that. At my end, I am committed to creating helpful guides and tools to help logistics professionals succeed. If you have any additional questions or ideas, please feel free to share them. Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the best in your career!
About the Author – Dr Muddassir Ahmed
Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speaker, vlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles. Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.