What is a Logistics Manager?
A logistics manager directs the flow of goods, such as raw material and manufactured products, from one location to another and ensures process efficiency and delivery of goods in a timely manner.
To run processes smoothly and ensure that there are no delays or disruptions, a logistics manager oversees and coordinates the storage, distribution and transportation of goods from the manufacturing facility to the warehouse and then to the final destination.
Logistics mangers are the main people in charge of supervising procurement as well as distribution of goods in a supply chain. They play a vital role in making sure that materials reach their destination according to their place in the supply chain, and products reach customers successfully.
What Does a Logistics Manager Do?
Though the job duties of a logistics manager may vary slightly from organization to organization, the basic professional responsibilities that all of them must fulfill include:
Manage the Flow of Goods
One of the key responsibilities of a logistics manager is to control and manage the flow of both incoming raw materials and outgoing finished goods. In order to ensure this, they strategically create plans and delivery schedules, and look for ways to optimize distribution channels.
Liaise and Negotiate
When it comes to logistics movement and management, cost and budgeting are important aspects that logistics managers are expected to control. To minimize expenses and maximize profit margins, they leverage on their liaising and negotiation skills to create valuable and profitable working partnerships with suppliers, carriers, retailers, as well as manufacturers.
Logistics managers are also expected to maintain all manner of reports related to the incoming, storage and outgoing of goods. They must track stock levels, inventory, delivery times, and transport costs & efficiency.
When issues with inventory and stock levels arise, logistics managers quickly go through the records to tally and identify where the problem might lie. They also play an important role in helping an organization maintain and audit its accounts with respect to inventory. Managers are expected to spend a great deal of their time in maintaining precise documentation and keeping organized records.
Most companies expect their logistics managers to develop business and add to their bottom-line. And logistics managers often do this by using data from their IT systems to track and evaluate performance and quality to plan for new business improvements.
They venture into new partnerships, develop new supply strategies, recommend best shipping methods and plan vehicle routes that can add more value to the organization’s supply chain processes and maximize returns.
Supervise, Coach and Train Warehouse Workforce
For enhanced productivity, improved performance and efficiency, logistics managers must also invest their time in coaching and training the warehouse workforce. This is usually done through workshops, or on the job training.
A necessary component of this training is to address existing and potential safety hazards on premises; and make sure that the workforce complies with industry health and safety standards.
Maintain Safety Procedures
Loss of productivity at workplace is mostly associated to workers getting injured or sick. This happens either because the safety rules are not in place, or because workers don’t follow them strictly.
A logistics manager is expected to put down and maintain safety procedures as well as ensure that they are being followed by the staff.
Why are Logistics Managers Important?
The role of a logistics manager in the company is without a doubt crucial since their work has a direct impact on the company’s financial bottom-line. A logistics manager ensures that goods arrive at the depot on a timely basis, are stored and dispatched correctly and delivered to customers on time.
The time-to-market that includes ensuring that the products get on the truck and reach the customers in a timely manner is vital to success, and that is why companies rely on logistics manager. Besides this, they also help in curtailing operational costs which add to the company’s profit margins.
What are the Working Conditions of a Logistics Manager?
Typically, the work week for a logistics manager would be Monday to Friday with standard working hours. However, when production demand is high, they may be required to work evenings or on weekends. The average work week for a logistics manager is 60 hours long, which means they work 60 hours per week.
Logistics managers generally work in indoor office settings, but they are also required to supervise production and distribution operations. While logistics managers typically work in an office setting, the work environment for them can range from the office to the warehouse and shop floor.
A typical work day for a logistics manager involves resolving problems concerning transportation, logistics systems, imports and exports, customer issues and supervising the work of logistics specialists, planners, or schedulers. For some people, this can be stressful, so it is crucial to ensure that you have the mental and physical capacity to survive and perform in a typical work environment of a logistics manager.
What are the Requirements to Become a Logistics Manager?
To pursue a career as a logistics manager, you must have an associates or bachelor’s degree in logistics, or supply chain management (SCM). The coursework in such degree programs teach the key concepts, processes and strategies of logistics, SCM and transportation. These concepts are much needed to understand how to manage the complexities of supply chain and logistics.
Courses in logistics degree program usually include purchasing, logistics operations, economics, accounting, business law, global logistics, and storage & distribution. An associate degree program may take 2 years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree may take nearly 3 to 4 years to complete.
Although to become a professional logistics manager, you don’t need to be certified, aspirants should nonetheless acquire certifications to master the field and come across as value adding potential candidates for the position.
Certifications demonstrate a commitment to excellence, and also show that the holder has a broader knowledge-base, thereby giving them a competitive edge over other candidates seeking the position.
The International Society of Logistics (SOLE) and American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) offer various certifications.
Work Experience Requirements
Apart from college coursework, employers may prefer to hire those candidates as logistics managers who have a work experience in logistics operations. Experience is always a plus point because it shows that you understand the requirements of the industry, know the nature of the job, and can execute tasks related to logistics successfully and correctly.
Besides this, individuals with work experience also require less time in training and can start adding value to the company from day one.
So, before you think about applying for a logistics manager position, it is best that you try to gain relevant work experience in warehouse management and delivery services and work your way up.
What Do You Learn in Logistics Management Degree?
The purpose of a logistics management degree is to equip aspiring logistics managers with the skills they will need to work as a logistics manager and build a career in the field.
While students are required to undertake many courses to complete a logistics management degree, following are the most important things they learn during the years spent studying logistics management:
- Management in Logistics – As the name suggests, management in logistics is all about learning how the ins and outs of logistics are managed on a daily basis in the practical world.
- Analysis and Logistics of Transportation – This covers the process of defining future policies, goals, and investments as they relate to logistics and transportation management.
- Analysis of Business Logistics – This covers the process to analyze the business planning framework concerned with materials procurement, materials management, and overall inventory control.
- Inventory and Supply Chain Management – This covers how inventory and the supply chain is managed in an organization.
- Marketing and Customer Service – While a logistics manager is not directly involved in marketing or customer service of a company, students are equipped with the basic knowledge of each just in case they need it during their job.
- Legal Issues of Transportation – Many legal issues can arise in the transportation and shipment of goods. Therefore, logistics management students are taught about the legal issues they may face during their job and also the best practices to overcome them.
- Inter-Modal Transportation – Students will learn explore various concepts related to the use of two or more modes to transport goods from shipper to consignee.
- Manufacturing Logistics – Manufacturers must receive raw material inbound and send out product to customers outbound. This is ensured by the logistics function. Therefore, manufacturing logistics is a key part of the logistics management degree.
- Cost Analysis – This covers the process to analyze decisions to evaluate all the potential costs and revenues.
What is an Online Logistics Management Degree?
Logistics management is a challenging and lucrative career and an online degree in logistics management can help prepare you for it. Although they may vary in their specific requirements, most online supply chain and logistics management degrees consist of 120 credit hours, usually completed in four years of full time study. However, there are accelerated online logistics management degrees that require as little as 34 credits to complete the degree.
The online logistics management degree teaches supply chain management, inventory, procurement, warehousing, and transportation. Often, the online degree programs in logistics management require students to participate in live-chats. However, no on-campus attendance is needed.
The online logistics management degree opens up two career streams for its graduates—supply chain management and logistics management. Holders of the online logistics management degree are eligible to apply for an online M.S or MBA degree in logistics management.
What Skills are Needed to be a Logistics Manager?
A logistics manager is responsible for supervising the entire logistics supply chain of a company or organization including purchasing, movement, storage, scheduling, and delivery.
As a logistics manager, you will need to ensure that the right products are delivered to the right location on time and at a good cost. Understanding the skills required to do this is critical here.
So, what are the skills you’ll need to make it as a logistics manager? Following are the 8 most valued skills within the transportation and logistics industry:
- Analytical Skills – You must have the skills to solve logistics problems using data, calculation models and forecasts.
- Quantitative Math Skills – Data is a key part of the logistics business. To gather and interpret data, a logistics manager must be familiar with the logistics systems and planning concepts, spreadsheet data management, and statistics applications. While data is collected through computer systems, a strong mathematical mind is required to manage those systems and the data they carry.
- Skills Related to the Technical Aspects of the Supply Chain – This includes knowledge of IT and automation, a grasp of economics and market dynamics, an understanding of cost-to serve, the skill to drive innovation, and project management skills.
- International Business Skills – A logistics manager must be familiar with international laws and regulations governing logistics and customs and they must know how to keep track of any changes to those laws.
- Materials Management – Some logistics managers are required to supervise the supply of raw material to support production in manufacturing facilities. Therefore, a logistics manager must know how to manage the timely receipt, processing, and disposition of materials.
- Shipping Supervision – A logistics managers are often required to manage the shipping department or operations of a company. Therefore, a logistics manager must know all the ins and outs of shipping supervision.
- Distribution Center Supervision – Part of a logistics manager job is supervising workers involved in the picking, packing, and forklift operations. Therefore, a logistics manager must know how to strategically manage operations inside a distribution center to improve business models and effectively communicate with internal and external customers.
- People Skills – To identify problems and implement changes, logistics departments depend upon communication between their many parts. This requires effective coordination and strong interpersonal skills, which need to come from the logistics manager.
What are the Pros of Being a Logistics Manager?
- Many Opportunities for Career Development – There are a lot of career development opportunities in the fast-moving and innovative logistics industry. You will find it relatively easy to progress if you are willing to undertake further training and professional development.
- Logistics is a Big Business – While nobody dreams of becoming a logistics manager as a kid, logistics is a field that is more important to the economy than many others. Since logistics play a huge role in the economy, getting involved in it can only be a good thing.
- Not Enough People to Fill Logistics Positions – Most people enroll into college to build a career in finance or marketing and logistics kind of goes under the radar. As a result, employers don’t have a large pool of candidates to choose from, which is good news for you.
- New Opportunities are Opening in Logistics – Over the past decade or so, outsourcing logistics has become somewhat of a norm and this had led to new opportunities in logistics for aspiring logistics managers.
- A Career That Pays Well – In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the average of salaries of logistics managers and other logistics professionals.
- A Career That Can be Started Anywhere – There are some careers that may require relocating. Logistics is not one of them as you can start a career in logistics management from anywhere.
- A Stepping Stone into the Field of International Business – A career in logistics management provides the experience and skills required to enter the field of international business, which means that you are no longer stricter to a single field of work.
What are the Cons of Being a Logistics Manager?
- Extensive Training and Planning Required – The logistics manager roles require extensive training and planning, often more than what a company anticipates. This can make the job of a logistics manager extremely stressful.
- Having to Process Enormous Amounts of Information – On almost a day-to-day basis, logistics mangers deal with a lot of figures and data while coordinating smooth discharge of operations. While some companies have automated this function in their organization, there are many that still depend on the logistics managers to do the above. The inability of a logistics manager to process data can lead to a lot of inaccurate information and this can be detrimental to an organization’s supply chain and bottom line and the logistics manager will be blamed for it.
- Complying with Regulations – Logistics and transportation rules, regulations, and norms vary from city to city, state to state, and country to country. Additionally, these laws keep changing from time to time. So, a logistics manager can have a hard time keeping up with all the laws and regulations their logistics team needs to comply with.
- A High-Pressure Job – If you can’t handle pressure, then the role of a logistics manager is not for you. Logistics teams depend on the due diligence and planning of the logistics manager to do their job. So, as a logistics manager, you need to be prepared for the unexpected in addition to your basic duties.
What is the Job Outlook for Logistics Managers?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the logistics field will grow at an average rate higher than 28% from 2021-2031. As of 2021, the median pay in the logistics field was $77,030 per year or $37.03 per hour.
Entry-level positions in logistics pay up to $30,000 per year while logistics managers can earn up to $75,000 a year. When it comes to building a career in logistics, there are professional associations that you can join to network for career longevity.
Essential for growth into the leadership positions earning $70,000 or more per year are creative problem-solving ability and mature organizational skills.
What Professions are Similar to Logistics Manager?
Supply Chain Manager
The supply chain manager develops solutions for the supply chain and implements them across all functional areas including logistics. A supply chain manager has knowledge of logistics and distribution, inventory management, purchasing, manufacturing, product development and marketing.
The warehouse manager is responsible for managing the placement of inventory within a warehouse and ensuring accurate levels of inventory. Generally, a warehouse manager works in retail or distribution and transportation.
The transport manager ensures that haulage and public transport get to their destinations safely, on time, and in the most cost-effective way. Transport managers progress into general management roles of larger units or more specialized roles such as a logistics manager.
The operations manager supervises the entire production process which involves procurement of raw materials, storage and transportation, and the utilization of available resources which include people, technology, information, equipment, and other resources.