New technology and the exploding volume of data have significantly changed the logistics function in recent years, reshaping business priorities and shredding the old vocabulary of the trade. For example, a "data lake" is not an actual lake.

But don't worry, Randstad has you covered. In this article, we'll decode some of the most important keywords in logistics today. Sprinkle these into your resume and you'll be sure to get more attention in your search for a logistics job — just make sure you can back it up when it comes time to interview.

"a" is for "analytics"

Analytics already play a major role in supply chain operations today, but the scope and significance of that role is only going to increase going forward. In fact, this may be a pivotal year for analytics: 94 percent of supply chain leaders say digital transformation will fundamentally change the industry in 2018, and 66 percent say advanced supply chain analytics are critical to the success of their operations in the next two to three years, according to a recent study. With that in mind, logistics professionals now need to know the lingo of a growing arsenal of enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools — that is, the software that companies use to track and manage everything they do, from finance to HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement and more. But employers are likely going to screen for candidates who have prior experience working with their ERP system and the ecosystem of technologies that integrate with it. Omitting these keywords from your resume might keep you out of the picture.

“c” is for “certification”

New technology will likely touch every facet of your job in logistics — from inventory planning to scheduling, demand forecasting, warehousing and distribution. But certification and training can help you stay ahead of the curve. Check out some of the most popular logistics software on the market today and consider pursuing online training to buff up your skill set and demonstrate your expertise.

“o” is for “order picking technology”

The need to maintain a growing number of stock keeping units (SKUs), combined with changing order profiles and increasing seasonal demands, is leading many manufacturing and logistics companies to invest in order picking automation. If your work is part of the fulfillment process, for instance, you might be asked to use a handheld scanner that uses radio frequency (RF) technology to guide you.

Voice-directed picking technology is another popular choice for companies that are automating order-picking operations. This technology increases your mobility because it allows you to perform your job in a “hands-free, eyes-up” fashion, which can also make for a safer overall working environment.

It generally doesn’t take too long to get up to speed on either of these new technologies, which are fast becoming part of the logistics space — and its lingo.

"p" is for "pick-to-light systems"

Pick-to-light systems are among the most common of the new order-fulfillment technologies that manufacturing and logistics companies are putting in place today. Basically, these systems use visual displays to guide you as you pick and record items for shipment, which leads to greater accuracy and efficiency.

"s" is for "strategic sourcing"

Traditionally, the process of finding and acquiring goods and services from external sources is referred to as “procurement.” Today, however, many of the responsibilities that ordinarily fell under the procurement function have a new title: strategic sourcing. To a large extent, the change in title is intended to highlight how integrated the logistics function is into the broader business strategy. That said, many of the core responsibilities remain the same, requiring a mix of analytical, project management and negotiation skills. With that, your logistics job description will likely include working closely and collaboratively with cross-functional stakeholders to identify challenges, deliver on goals and — as is so often the goal for logistics professionals — find ways to reduce costs.

If that sounds like your niche, check out some of the strategic sourcing specialist roles available through Randstad today.

"t" is for "telematics"

Tele-what? Simply put, telematics is a way for organizations to keep tabs on physical assets through a combination of GPS-enabled tracking, sensors and various other onboard diagnostic tools. Using these tools, information about a host of variables — for instance, position, speed, trip distance, estimated time of arrival, fuel consumption, engine data and more — can be collected and analyzed.

But how do you turn all that data into actionable insights to support bottom-line growth? That's where many companies struggle — and why they're looking for a new class of logistics professionals with the telematics expertise to generate results. Expect "telematics" to become an increasingly important search term on logistics resumes, especially as the Internet of Things (IoT) — the ability of everyday objects to send and receive data via embedded computing devices — grows more sophisticated. Undoubtedly, the overall volume of data available to drive business value is going to increase in the coming years. But, if you want to excel in this field, be sure to brush up on the extensive telematics sub-lingo, from accelerometers to zones.

Or if you're ready to partner with a staffing agency that can power your career growth right now, send us your resume and get started with Randstad today. We have the resources you need to nail your next job in logistics.