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Supply Chain Management

Logistics & Supply Chain Management job interview questions and answers

Admin | September 21, 2022

Key takeaways:

  • Logistics management has a wide scope and offers numerous career options such as logistics manager, logistics analyser, logistics supervisor etc. 
  • Supply chain management includes a lot of activities, including logistics management. 
  • Logistics and SCM interview questions help individuals prepare better for the interview. 
  • Modern logistics managers must be well-versed with technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and predictive and artificial intelligence. 

With the growing stronghold of e-commerce businesses across the globe, logistics and supply chain management have become more significant than ever. The processes involved in the to and fro of goods need to be robust through and through. Besides, it also necessitates the involvement of many personnel at various checkpoints.   

This includes managing the transportation of freight, parcels, raw material and finished goods from the originating point to the end consumers. While most firms today utilize tools and digital software to automate the process, some continue the process manually, depending on the scale of the organization. 

This also demands professionals who can effectively oversee activities at different levels. So, if you are looking forward to making a career in logistics and supply chain management, this article will help you crack the interview and acquire a job role that best compliments your caliber.

Important Logistics interview questions

Following  are the most important questions often asked in the interview for various posts related to logistics –

What is the role of a logistician?

A logistician manages supply chain, transportation and storage of materials. 

What do you mean by advanced shipping notice?

Before the delivery, the customer is given a detailed shipment information notice, known as an advanced shipping notice. It includes information such as the shipment route and its expected arrival time. 

Explain affreightment.

The contract between the ship’s owner and the merchant is known as affreightment. According to this contract, the merchant rents the space on the ship for an agreed amount and period. They have to make the payment, whether the ship is ready for shipment or not. 

What is consignment inventory?

Consignment inventory is a supply chain model or a business agreement which is in possession of the customer. It means you will pay the supplier only after their goods are sold.

What is anti-dumping duty?

It is an import duty which is implied on imported goods and priced comparatively less than the regular price in the exporter’s domestic market. This causes a loss to the domestic industry of the country. 

What is cross-docking?

Cross-docking is the process that includes unloading materials from a semi-truck and loading them onto outbound trucks or trailers. This significantly reduces operating costs, handling costs and storage costs. 

Explain batch picking and wave picking. 

Batch picking is the technique of transporting inventory by grouping it into small batches in a single go. On the other hand, wave picking is a technique in which the orders are assigned into groups and released together so that several activities can work together. 

What is the difference between logistics and transport? 

Logistics is the procedure that involves managing goods, their information and other resources from the source to the customer in a way that meets the requirements of both parties. On the other hand, transportation is the movement of goods from one place to another and is part of logistics. 

Explain reverse logistics

Reverse logistics is the compilation of all the processes that are used for goods moving in the reverse direction- transporting goods from the customer to the business. 

What are carton clamps?

Carton clamps are the most versatile attachments used for handling unmatchable products like cartons, appliances, furniture etc. 

Important Supply Chain Management interview questions

Let us now have a glimpse at the ten most important questions to crack a supply chain management interview. 

What is the role of supply chain manager?

Supply chain management or SCM is the role that includes supervision of the elements of a supply chain, such as raw materials, finances, etc. Supply chain management works to improve the flow of tasks beginning from production to the shipping of commodities. 

What should an employee do to be a successful SCM?

An employee needs to possess good communication capabilities and know how to negotiate with suppliers. They should also have good customer support skills and should be professional and polite. They must possess cost accounting skills, have the ability to understand financial statements, understand e-business and e-procurement systems and practice business ethics. 

What should an SCM do in case the factory runs out of inventory?

The SCM should deal with this situation calmly and start by figuring out the remaining amount and the shortage levels. Then, they should connect to the supplier that can provide the lacking stock on an immediate basis. 

What is the ulterior motive of supply chain management?

Supply chain management works to maximize the efficiency of an organization by obtaining effectiveness in all activities. It is a mandatory process to help organizations fulfill the expectations of their customers while ensuring minimal waste. This ensures effective utilization of time and effort of all stakeholders in the organization while lowering expenses. 

What is the difference between direct and indirect distribution channels?

Direct distribution channels have no intermediates between them, and the seller makes direct sales to the buyers. It is advantageous for small businesses. Indirect distribution channels, on the contrary, include wholesale suppliers and are good for large-scale productions. They increase the cost of the product as the products pass through multiple channels and vendors. 

What information is included in the bill of lading?

The following details are included in the bill of lading- 

  • Name and address of the receiver and the firm
  • Special account number used for tracking
  • Date of the shipment
  • Instruction for secure delivery
  • Number of shipping units
  • Type of packaging
  • Description of the shipped material
  • Value of the goods being shipped
  • Disclaimer for hazardous substances
  • Weight for each commodity separately and the inclusive weight for all commodities
  • Freight class of the items shipped

Mention the activities to be performed at the operational level.

The mandatory activities to be performed at the operational level in logistics include the following- 

  • Checking and goods receipts
  • Bulk storage
  • Order picking
  • Order marshaling
  • Stock replenishment
  • Load scheduling
  • Returns
  • Availability of employees
  • Stock update
  • Documentation 

What factors is the freight class based on?

A freight class is based on four factors- 

  • The density of the shipment (weight per cubic foot)
  • Freight to ability (width and length based)
  • Ease of handling (effort required in transporting)
  • Liability (liability to break, damage, or perish)

What are the vital components of inventory preparation and management?

The two most vital components of inventory preparation and management are examining the product orders and inventory figures to find out the number of items required for the upcoming months. 

Mention the differences and similarities between supply chain management and logistics. 

Similarities between logistics and supply chain management- 

  • They focus on boosting the earnings of the company.
  • Their main goal is the achievement of customer satisfaction.

Differences between the two- 

LogisticsSupply Chain Management
Logistics is an individual activity that is a part of supply chain management and ensures management of goods efficiently. Supply chain management involves several processes including inventory planning, raw materials, products, labor cost, etc. 
Logistics focuses on the effective delivery of items from the sender to the receiver.SCM adds value to the operational process. Experts in supply chain management oversee the improvement of raw materials and tackle the transportation of goods and services. 

How to prepare for Logistics and SCM job interviews?

Before applying for any interview, you must read the job description thoroughly to ensure whether you will be able to fulfill job requirements successfully. You must ensure whether you have the necessary skills to take up the job role. 

Here are a few tips that can help you prepare for your Logistics or SCM interview better. 

  • Get a strong hold on terminologies

There are a plethora of terminologies and acronyms associated with both logistics and supply chain management. You should know the full form and the meaning of all of them to answer correctly in an interview. Some commonly used terminologies relate to –

  • 3PL/4PL
  • LTF/FTL
  • Types of trailers
  • Ocean, air and ground freight
  • Carries
  • Freight forwarders
  • Domestic and International shipping
  • Prepare the most basic questions

You should have answers ready for the most basic question with the highest chance of being asked in the interview. It may include- 

  • “Why logistics?” 
  • “Why supply chain management?”
  • “What is the role of a logistician?”  
  • “What skills are required to be a supply chain manager?”
  • Research and practice as many questions as possible

You can look for questions online, in some books or ask candidates who have been to a similar interview recently. You can note down all the questions you gather and create answers for them so that you can be prepared if any similar question is asked to you. 

  • Build a portfolio

You must build and carry a portfolio to the interview containing all the necessary documents, such as your qualifications, resume, previous experience letters etc. 

  • Practice conversation

Sometimes, candidates are quite confident and know all the answers but cannot give appropriate answers due to a lack of conversational skills. You should practice conducting casual yet informative conversations with your interviewer for an interview, portraying problem-solving and problem-handling skills. 

Closing

With the prototype questions and tips for preparation mentioned above, you can prepare a strategy to crack your logistics and SCM interview. Or, you can take the help of the Supply Chain Management course offered by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). 
MAHE, in collaboration with Online Manipal, brings to you the PGCP in Logistics and Supply Chain (PGCP LSC) course for working professionals to help you build an extensive career in the field. With all the requisite notes for the exam and the interviews, and multiple hours of live lectures, the mentors at MAHE guide you and prepare you for an amazing career option.

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