What is Logistics?

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Getting the Goods from Place to Place

Logistics is the coordination of the movement of people, equipment, supplies or a combination of these. In the military, logistics refers to moving, housing and supplying troops. In the civilian world, it usually means the commercial activity associated with getting goods to customers. There are opportunities in logistics management across a wide variety of industries. Believe it or not, more than $50 billion worth of goods are moved in the U.S. every single day. If you're organized and adept at multi-tasking, a career in logistics might be right for you and your family.

What is Logistics Management?

Logistics managers are responsible for the purchase and distribution of goods in the supply chain. Think of the supply chain as the steps needed to get items to a customer. It might include the movement of raw materials into a factory and then distribution of the final products. It could mean coordinating the purchase of medical supplies and equipment and ensuring they are dispersed to the right departments within a medical facility. Although it may appear effortless, it's hard work to make sure the supply chain is expedient and effective.

A Day in the Life of a Logistics Manager

Most logistics managers work full-time during regular business hours. On a daily basis, logistics managers maintain accurate records of inventory and its movement. They supervise employees, handle customer issues and problems and develop strategies and procedures for short-term and long-term tasks. Logistics requires team effort, so logistics managers frequently work with managers in other departments, such as accounting and sales, to be sure that the movement of goods runs smoothly. This can include everything from streamlining transportation costs to planning the most efficient routes for delivery. Logistics managers oversee the safety of their employees and security of the inventory that is being stored or moved.

What Skills are Needed to Be a Logistics Manager?

There is no formal education requirement, although most companies seek candidates with a bachelor's degree. In addition to being highly organized, with the ability to work under stress, working as a logistics manager requires an understanding of business planning, negotiation, supply chain management, process improvement, procurement, accounting and scheduling. Logistics managers often work with complex software programs to plan and manage the movement of goods. A degree in business management, logistics or supply chain management will prepare you well for a career in the field. Though not required, certification by the International Society of Logistics may be an asset in your job search and salary negotiations.

How Much Do Logistics Managers Make?

Salaries depend on a variety of factors, including industry, size of the company and geographic location. The median annual salary for a logistics manager is $107,286, meaning half in the profession earn more and half earn less. Here are some salary ranges you can expect, based on years of experience:

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $99,167 to $106,363
  • 3 to 4 years of experience: $99,720 to $106,917
  • 7 to 9 years of experience: $105,072 to $111,577
  • 15+ years of experience: $105,994 to $112,435

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth for logistics managers will be about 7 percent over the next decade, which is about average compared to all other jobs. Skilled logistics managers are in demand because a company's profitability is related directly to logistics and supply chain management.