Impact of Logistics to SC Economy Larger Than Expected

A growing manufacturing sector in South Carolina has produced a growing need to move products from one point to another. The state recently quantified the impact of this business, commonly known as logistics or supply chain management.

Logistics are particularly tied to advanced manufacturing, SC’s fastest-growing industry this decade. The study found advanced manufacturing employs logistics at twice the rate of other businesses.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce’s Council on Competitiveness hired the University of South Carolina to study the scope of logistics across the state. It found that logistics ranks among the largest businesses in the state:

  • 600 companies
  • 113,000 people employed
  • $47,247 average wage, about 18% higher than average
  • $33 billion total value to the SC economy

“Logistics is one of the most important industries in our state because every company relies on it to conduct business,” said Suzanne Dickerson, director of logistics industry initiatives for the SC Council on Competitiveness.

Supply Chain Jobs Inside Manufacturers
Many of the jobs in logistics are embedded in large manufacturing companies. For example, Boeing employs supply chain specialists to transport parts to and from its North Charleston plant. The automotive manufacturing sector is reportedly even more dependent on its supply chain than aerospace.  As the new home to Volvo North America, alongside large, expanding employers such as Daimler, Bosch, and other advanced manufacturers, the Lowcountry increasingly needs more educated specialists to fill such critical talent requirements locally.

Logistics experts are also employed by a range of businesses including trucking companies, air freight providers, shipping companies, warehouses and distribution centers, and value-added services such as information technology.

The size of the logistics industry segment was a surprise to many state officials. They say demand for logistical support will continue to increase as manufacturing expands across the state, creating, even more, jobs for those trained in supply chain management.

“It’s not enough to be good at making things,” said state Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. “You have to be good at moving things, and that is what our logistics industry is all about.”

Educational Opportunities for Careers in Logistics
The College of Charleston offers a Supply Chain and Information Management major. “Students in the Supply Chain Management program garner an end-to-end perspective on the flow of products and services from the raw materials provider down to the customer and the flow of valuable information back up the chain,” its website says.  But it also invites adult learners to enroll in its Global Logistics and Transportation course taught at the College.  Such attendees who complete the single undergraduate course receive a Certificate of Attendance but without academic credit.

Students in the Tommy and Victoria School of Business at The Citadel have created a Supply Chain Management Club to “advance your exposure to all aspects of Supply Chain Management.”