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Logistics Manager Career Guide

What Is a Logistics Manager and How to Become One

Ever wonder how your Amazon Prime purchase got from a warehouse across the world to your front door? Logistics management made that happen. In a world where people can buy anything they want at the click of a button, logistics can make or break a company. But what exactly is logistics?  
 
Logistics refers to the movement of inventory from point A to point B. The people who oversee that process are logistics managers. It’s their job to determine the most efficient and cost-effective ways to move inventory and to find the best balance between supply and demand.  
 
Success in logistics can result in lower operating costs, higher production rates, and increased supplier and customer satisfaction—all of which directly benefit a business’s bottom line. This makes logistics management both an in-demand and financially rewarding career path. If you have a knack for numbers and organization, then read on to learn how to become a logistics manager.   

a group of investment managers in suits and business dress

What Is a Logistics Manager?

Logistics managers are supply chain experts who oversee purchasing, shipping, and operations related to supply chain management. They’re excellent negotiators, organizers, and problem-solvers who use their skills to coordinate essential operations in a business. 
 
This role varies significantly from company to company and from industry to industry. For instance, there are logistics managers who are responsible for transportation logistics and don't have any duties related to inventory management or supply chain operations. Meanwhile, other logistics managers deal only with inventory management or purchasing.  

What Does a Logistics Manager Do?

Logistics managers handle the movement and storage of supplies in a company. They must predict how much inventory will be needed and when it will be needed in order to meet the expectations of both their company and their customers.  
 
Much of logistics management involves resolving problems around transporting supplies, forecasting inventory demand, negotiating with suppliers, finding the right materials at the right price, and handling customer issues. 
 
A logistics manager’s duties will vary depending upon their company, its size, and its needs. In general, though, logistics managers perform many of the same core functions within a business, including:

  • Managing levels of stock, delivery times, and delivery costs.  
  • Using logistics software and IT systems to streamline operations.
  • Coordinating and controlling the order cycle of deliveries and ensuring that they’re in the right place, at the right time.
  • Evaluating the quality of the performance of previous deliveries and assessing how they can be improved. 
  • Managing resources in the supply chain, evaluating whether they are effective, and coming up with solutions if needed.
  • Negotiating with suppliers, retailers, manufacturers, and consumers.
  • Supervising, managing, and training employees on the logistics team.  

How Do I Become a Logistics Manager?

If you're interested in becoming a logistics manager, here are some of the most common steps you’ll need to take:

  • Step One: Earn a bachelor’s degree. There are no logistics manager degree programs at the bachelor's degree or master's degree levels, but there are other degree pathways that can give you the knowledge you need. Most logistics managers have a bachelor’s degree in business management, supply chain management, logistics, or a related degree.
  • Step Two: Add to your education.  If you want to stay competitive in the job market, you should strongly consider completing an MBA degree program. Many management positions will require you to have this advanced degree, and this program can prepare you with the right skills to lead a team.
  • Step Three: Gain relevant experience.  Having experience in your industry will only add to your marketability and increase your chances of landing a job. Some logistics managers have at least three years of work experience in operations engineering, supply chain management, operations analysis, or a related field.

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What Skills Does a Logistics Manager Need?

Good logistics managers are highly organized people who can work effectively under tight deadlines and manage multiple moving parts at once. To succeed in this role, you'll need:

  • Technical skills: There are multiple programs used in supply chain management, and you’ll need to be familiar with as many as possible, as well as comfortable learning new applications and analytics software.
  • Math skills: Logistics managers are skilled at calculating supply-related costs.
  • Supply chain savvy: To work in logistics, you must understand all elements of the supply chain. You'll use your logistics knowledge to spot problems and eliminate inefficiencies in the chain.
  • Organization skills: The supply chain process is complex, and it takes strong organizational skills to coordinate and schedule all the moving parts.
  • Analytical skills: As a logistics manager, you’ll need to be able to read and analyze data to recognize different trends and patterns.
  • Adaptability: Logistics managers work in a fast-paced environment where changes happen all the time. The ability to adjust and problem-solve under pressure is key.  

Many departments within a company rely on logistics managers, so their role is highly collaborative. Project managers, transportation managers, warehouse managers, operations managers, supply chain managers, and senior management are just some of the people that logistics managers work with on a daily basis.

female investment manager using a calculator

How Much Does a Logistics Manager Make?

$113,000

According to Salary.com, the average annual income for logistics managers in the United States ranges from $98,000 to $128,000 with an average salary of $113,000. A logistics manager's salary will vary based on factors such as location, industry, and experience.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Logistics Manager?

30%

Very strong. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places the logistics manager role under the umbrella of logisticians, which is projected to grow by 30% between 2020 and 2030. About 24,500 openings for logisticians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Where Do Logistics Managers Work?

Varies

Logistics managers are needed in nearly every industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, government, retail, and various other professional settings.

Logistics Manager FAQ's

Logistics managers are supply chain professionals who oversee the movement, storage, and shipping operations related to supply chain management.

A logistics manager's duties can vary depending on the size of the company and the employer's expectations. The following are some of the common responsibilities of someone in this role:  

  • Optimize delivery routes.
  • Oversee the levels of warehouse stock.
  • Coordinate with other departments on delivery exceptions and requests.
  • Troubleshoot inventory and delivery issues.
  • Review and update standard operating procedures.
  • Use logistics software and IT systems to streamline operations.
  • Evaluate the quality of the performance of previous deliveries and assess how they can be improved. 
  • Manage resources in the supply chain.
  • Negotiate with suppliers, retailers, manufacturers, and consumers.
  • Manage employees in the logistics team. 

 

A bachelor’s degree in business management or a related field is required to become a logistics manager. You’ll also need at least three years of relevant work experience. 

Interested in Becoming a Logistics Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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