Case study

Supply chain graduate — Alex Heard

Logistics was not an area that Alex had any interest in, but soon learned of the opportunities for rewarding employment afterwards. He graduated with a degree in logistics from the University of Huddersfield

How did you get your job?

Initially I was offered this role through successful work on the NOVUS industrial placement programme at DHL during my third year at university. The application to this was a series of online tests, a couple of telephone interviews and an assessment centre involving interviews, group exercises and presentations. The process is similar to applying for the graduate scheme directly. The feeling of self-accomplishment makes the long and tough application process worth it.

What's your job like?

I am currently in my first year of the DHL Supply Chain graduate scheme. Initially I was working as part of a DHL business start-up, which gave me a real insight into how to set up a new brand. I was then asked to lead the implementation of a contract into our multi-user warehouse, based at Heathrow airport, for one of the world's leading airlines. This meant compiling a process for the operation, recruiting people to implement this process, coordinating with the transport team and being a point of contact for the customer.

More recently I have been working in the operational team, gaining exposure to people management and shift management that will end a well-rounded year in my early career.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The best part of the job is having the opportunity to see so many different parts of the business through the graduate network and the scheme structure. The parts of the business that are the most interesting are the ones that involve customers - they're key to the success of the DHL Supply Chain. The experience has already benefitted me hugely and helped propel me into my desired career path.

How has your role developed?

Due to the vast array of different roles I have taken on over the first eight months of my career, I have been able to develop many different skills. The main areas in which I have developed are people management, communication and assertiveness. These are everyday skills that are required in a competitive environment similar to the one I currently work in.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into supply chain management?

The main advice from me would be that it is as important to be inclusive and a listener as it is to speak up. At assessment centres, there will be many people that are there to try and look the biggest by talking the most. This is the wrong way to approach logistics assessment centres as the industry is teamwork to the core.

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