The logistics of a successful retail career

Marc Blackburn, logistics support manager at The Warehouse, was 'hooked on retail from day one'.

There is a lot more to retail than working on the shop floor – it is a challenging and complex industry that demands skills ranging from logistics and management to IT and marketing. The 662 resident visas issued to foreign retail managers last year shows how in-demand skilled retail managers are. That's why the Warehouse Group is supporting staff to gain a Bachelor of Retail Business Management at Massey University through fully-funded study scholarships. Logistics support manager Marc Blackburn is one of those staff members.

Retail careers: Marc Blackburn, logistics support manager

Marc Blackburn’s retail career happened purely by chance. He took a role as a security manager at UK supermarket Asda after serving in the British Army, intending it as a stop-gap position. Since then he’s built a 26-year career that has enabled him to travel and work in different countries, and he’s not done yet.

“I was hooked on retail from day one,” he says. “I discovered a passion for customers and the teams I worked with that has stayed with me throughout my career”.

“The roles in retail are diverse, and the key skills needed depend on what you want to do. As well as in-store positions, there are project management, logistics, buyers, marketers, property, finance roles, to name just a few. The opportunity to gain skills across other functions makes retail such an exciting place to be – and the salaries can be highly competitive.”

Marc is currently in his first year studying part-time for a Bachelor of Retail and Business Management, and initially thought it would just reaffirm what he already knew.

“To my delight I found that I was exposed to concepts that I hadn’t come across throughout my career. I was challenged and gained a lot of new insights which I have used to my advantage.”

With a family as well as his full-time role to consider, Marc established a study plan to manage his study requirements and still maintain a good work/life balance.

“Identify how best to use your time, draw up a schedule and stick to it,” he says. Marc also found Massey’s Study Up sessions a fantastic resource to help him focus on returning to academic studies and learning time management skills.

His role in logistics enables Marc to have input into projects and work happening outside his area of responsibility.

“For me, the most interesting aspect of my job is the people I have the opportunity to work and interact with. The customer is the centre of our business – and it’s a fantastic industry to work in.”

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