Logisticians

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.

Duties

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.

Education

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.

Other Experience

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.

Important Qualities

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.

Job Outlook

Logisticians

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Logisticians

22%

Business operations specialists

13%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

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 Prospects

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.

Employment projections data for Logisticians, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Logisticians

13-1081 125,900 153,600 22 27,600
  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Cost estimators Cost estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular industry or type of product.'

Bachelor's degree $58,860
Industrial engineering technicians Industrial engineering technicians

Technicians usually need an associate's degree or a professional certificate to find work, but they can begin their training in high school by taking classes in math, science, computer skills and science, and drafting (when possible). Following a high school diploma, they can enroll in a community college for a degree or a technical school for a certificate.

Associate's degree $50,980
Industrial engineers Industrial engineers

High school students can start preparing for their career by taking classes in math, science, and computer science. Industrial engineers must have an engineering degree, typically from an accredited university program. The bachelor's degree program will usually combine class time with field work to give the student practical experience. Students can also pursue a master's degree in their field.

Bachelor's degree $78,860
Industrial production managers Industrial production managers

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.'

Bachelor's degree $89,190
Management analysts Management analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.'

Bachelor's degree $78,600
Operations research analysts Operations research analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.'

Bachelor's degree $72,100
Quality control inspectors Quality control inspectors Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from manufacturers’ or industry specifications.' High school diploma or equivalent $34,460

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Ref: bls.gov
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