Careers in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Careers in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Workers in the logistics and supply chain management field make sure that goods and services get into the hands of consumers. The logistics industry is an important driver of economic growth and development.

All types of businesses, big and small, need logistics managers to help with inventory and accounts receivable. A small business may have one person in charge of these duties, while large corporations have entire logistics and supply chain departments. Learn more about this career and several others with the links below:

Manufacturing 25%; Federal government, excluding postal service 23%; Professional, scientific, and technical services 17%; Transportation equipment manufacturing 11%; Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 8%

Most people begin down a career path in this field by starting in an entry-level position and working their way up to jobs with more responsibilities and a higher salary. Manufacturing is by far the largest industry employing logisticians, with over 40% of logisticians working in some field of manufacturing (see image right, BLS.gov). There are many different job titles in the logistics industry. Below are just a few:

  • Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Customer Service Manager
  • International Logistics Manager
  • Inventory Control Manager
  • Logistics Engineer
  • Logistics Manager
  • Logistics Services Salesperson
  • Logistics Software Manager
  • Materials Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Systems Support Manager
  • Transportation Manager
  • Vendor Managed Inventory Coordinator
  • Warehouse Operations Manager

Entry-Level Logistics and Supply Chain Management Jobs

One of the most common entry-level positions in this field is customer service management. Customer service is an important part of logistics and supply chain management on an individual level, since listening to and helping your consumers is the backbone of any business. You can also work managing product inventory for a business, planning and overseeing product transportation needs, and managing supplies needed for manufacturing.

You are not limited to customer service management, however. You can also find entry-level employment working as a distribution clerk, van driver, operation clerk, and many other jobs that provide a stepping stone to more advanced positions.

Some entry-level jobs do require at least a bachelor’s degree such as operations research analyst or process associate. These jobs are more focused on critical and analytical thinking, and may require various certifications to prove your expertise in the field. The American Society of Transportation and Logistics has more information about these certifications on their website.

Advanced Logistics and Supply Chain Management Jobs

As you gain experience in logistics and supply chain management, you’ll be able to take on advanced roles in this field. You could work as an industry analyst, project manager, global logistics manager, operations director, transportation director, or international logistics manager, just to name a few of the positions open in this field. A logistical manager (or logistician) directs the efficient movement of a product or service from the supplier to the consumer. The logistician is in charge from the very beginning of product acquisition to the very end of secure delivery. Similarly, a supply chain manager examines procedures for opportunities to streamline existing conditions. Overall, both positions direct the movement, storage, and processing of inventory. For those who attain more experience, upper management positions such as presidents and vice presidents are highly sought after. These top-level positions oversee all aspects of logistics and supply chain management and usually come attached with a six-figure salary.

If you’re interested in working abroad or with an international customer base, advanced jobs in logistics often provide such opportunities. In our ever-increasingly globalized world, many logistics companies work with foreign distributors to conduct business. There’s also the option to work as a consultant. As a consultant, you can work with a variety of different companies, both nationally and abroad, offering tips and strategies on how to streamline processes. After learning the basics of logistics, working as a consultant might be an option worth considering if you prefer a more flexible schedule and the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and businesses.

Your Logistics Education

Advancing beyond a very low-level customer service position requires at least an associate’s degree, with most jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree. Many employers actually prefer a master’s degree or professional degree in this field as well. Your classes in logistics and supply chain management will cover topics such as ethics, administration, finances, organization, marketing, international business, statistics, and conflict resolution.

Programs often offer internship opportunities, which is a great way to get first-hand experience in the field. You can find programs that just cover logistics and supply chain management, or you can earn a degree in business with a concentration in logistics and supply chain management. Both are beneficial to students interested in working in this field. To prepare students for these duties, a logistics management or supply chain management program may offer courses such as:

  • Applied Data Analysis
  • Supply Chain Analysis
  • Supply Chain Management Strategies
  • Global Procurement and Supply Management
  • Global Logistics Management
  • Domestic and International Transportation Management
  • Principles of Traffic Management
  • Technology and Product Innovation Management

Additionally, business law, accounting, economics, and statistics courses are common to supplement the more specified logistics material. A logistics manager will need to be familiar with various software programs, as that is the most common way to keep track of product movement. The majority of logisticians work in manufacturing or for the government, with other opportunities in scientific and technological fields, transportation, or aerospace.

Another avenue to consider is online education. Many schools now offer online logistics degree programs at all education levels. Distance education allows you to schedule your classes around work and other commitments. If you think you might be a good candidate for online learning, check out our list of accredited degree programs. We link students to a variety of different programs in logistics management, supply chain management, and many others.

What degree options are available in logistics?

Having a relevant education is critical for anyone interested in a logistics career. Logistics degree programs cover subjects such as management, managerial decision-making, distribution and logistics and supply chain management. Given the broad scope of the field, some programs are referred to as an operations management degree or logistics and supply chain management degree. Some schools offer a degree in transportation and logistics.

It’s important to find the right program for your career goals. Below you’ll find a list of accredited schools that offer a number of quality degree options.

SchoolPrograms
Kaplan University
Accreditation:
  • HLC
  • NCA
Southern New Hampshire University
Accreditation:
  • NEASC
Ashford University
Accreditation:
  • HLC
  • NCA
DeVry University
Accreditation:
  • HLC
  • NCA

Click here to learn about more Operations Management programs

While obtaining a degree in logistics management can most qualify you for jobs working as a logistician, other degrees can prepare for this line of work as well. Logistics management majors are also not strictly limited to this career. We outline the various career options below.

  • Business Sustainability and Green Operations: Careers in business sustainability and green operations focus on running businesses and manufacturing in a way that minimalizes impact on the environment. Specialists strive for efficient solutions that leave little to no carbon footprints.
  • General Management: General management is a versatile field focusing on high level leadership as well as connecting the moving parts of a major organization together. The scope of positions within general management can vary greatly but are almost always focused on day-to-day operations and the management of several teams working together.
  • Operations Management: The field of operations management is aptly focused on production and business operations. Specialists analyze, control, and create systems and processes involved in the output of goods and services.
  • Project Management: Project managers oversee and control company resources in order to achieve common goals in an effective, time-efficient manner. These managers work with employees and teams to motivate and organize them to accomplish the tasks at hand.
  • Small Business Management/Entrepreneurship: While small business management and entrepreneurship can be more loosely related to logistics management than the other fields mentioned, both fields require common skills needed to run a business and oversee operations and staff.

Students typically go on to work in logistics and supply management for a company, although the managerial and leadership skills acquired when studying for a logistics degree can be applied to management or supervising job positions in many fields.

Some schools offer a degree in transportation and logistics. This degree revolves around logistics and transporting major volumes of waste or chemicals. In this case, you are learning to transport these materials and the most effective way to dispose of them. In this program, you take courses such as hazardous material transportation, logistics and management operations, international logistics management and air transportation. This is a growing field that is set to expand globally.

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