What Logisticians Do
Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, distributed, allocated, and delivered.
Logisticians typically do the following:
- Direct the allocation of materials, supplies, and finished products
- Develop business relationships with suppliers and customers
- Work to understand customers’ needs and how to meet them
- Design strategies to minimize the cost or time required to move goods
- Review the success of logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
- Propose improvements to management and customers
Logisticians oversee activities that include purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing. They may direct the movement of a range of goods, people, or supplies, from common consumer goods to military supplies and personnel.
Logisticians use sophisticated software systems to plan and track the movement of goods. They operate software programs tailored specifically to manage logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.
How to Become a Logistician
Although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs, a bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions. Work experience in a related field is helpful for jobseekers.
Logisticians may qualify for positions with an associate’s degree. However, as logistics becomes increasingly complex, more companies prefer to hire workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many logisticians have a bachelor’s degree in business, industrial engineering, process engineering, or supply chain management.
Bachelor’s degree programs often include coursework in operations and database management, decisionmaking, and system dynamics. In addition, most programs offer courses that train students on software and technologies commonly used by logisticians, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID).
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Logisticians can obtain certification through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). The certification offered by each of these organizations typically requires a combination of education, experience, and passing an exam. Although not required, certification can demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of logistics.
Prospective logisticians can benefit from previous work experience in a field related to logistics or business. Because military operations require a large amount of logistics, some logisticians gain work experience while serving in the military. Some firms allow applicants to substitute several years of work experience for a degree.
Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills in order to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.
Critical-thinking skills. Logisticians must develop, adjust, and successfully carry out logistical plans, and they often must find ways to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to perform several tasks at one time, keep detailed records, and simultaneously manage several projects in a fast-paced environment.
Problem-solving skills. Logisticians must handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues.
Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22
- Business operations specialists
- Total, all occupations
Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the vital role logistics plays in the transportation of goods in a global economy.
Companies rely on logisticians to manage the movement of their products and supplies. Managing their operations in this way allows the companies to compete in a highly globalized market. The performance of the logistical and supply chain process is an important factor in a company’s profitability. Supply and distribution systems have become increasingly complex, with the aim of maximizing efficiency while minimizing cost. Therefore, employment is expected to grow rapidly as companies need more logisticians to move products efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement.
Governments and the military also rely on logisticians. Planning for and moving military supplies and personnel requires an enormous amount of logistical work. Employment of logisticians in government and contracting firms will continue to grow to meet the needs of the military.
Job opportunities should be good for those with a bachelor’s degree in business, industrial engineering, process engineering, supply chain management, or a related field.
Job prospects should be best for those with a college degree and work experience related to logistics, particularly previous experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.
|Occupational Title||SOC Code||Employment, 2012||Projected Employment, 2022||Change, 2012-22||Employment by Industry|
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
|Occupation||Description||Entry-Level Education||2012 Median Pay|
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