What is a Logistics Manager? The Supply Chain Specialists You Probably Know Nothing About

 man holding a tablet with semi-trucks in background

It can be somewhat frightening to say goodbye to the comfort and security of a job you already have by the reins. But advancing ahead in your career has the potential to be so much more rewarding.

Is it time to leave your entry-level position behind and pursue something greater? If you’re reading this, you’re likely wondering if becoming a logistics manager could be that next step you’ve been seeking.

But before you say goodbye to your current gig, there are likely some questions you need answered. What does a logistics manager do? What skills and education level would I need to master? How will my work environment change?

It’s time to get the answers you need. We did the research so you don’t have to. Keep reading to determine if becoming a logistics manager is the next step on your career path.

What is a logistics manager, anyway?

Before answering any questions related to what a logistics manager does, it’s important to first know the purpose of this position. Simply put, a logistics manager is the person in charge of overseeing the purchasing and distribution of products in a supply chain, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). They are integral to the process of making sure customers receive their products.

FACT: Logistics managers earned a median annual salary of $85,400 in 2014.

Logistics managers must plan how to get the products they need to ship and then forecast the best and most efficient way to transport those goods. Another role of managing the supply chain is warehousing and storing the products they manage.

If this sounds like a significant amount of responsibility, it’s because it is! Which is why it comes with significant earning potential as well. The median annual salary for logistics managers in 2014 was $85,400, according to the DOL.1 That’s more than twice the national average for all occupations.

So what exactly does it take to earn such an impressive income? Keep reading to find out!

What does a logistics manager do?

While the duties of a logistics manager might seem fairly straightforward, their work consists of much more than just making sure a product gets on a truck and out for delivery.  So what exactly do they do on a daily basis?

Logistics managers  are often tasked with resolving transportation problems that occur regularly, such as weather delays, geopolitical situations, theft and damage, according to Philip DiPatrizio, marketing manager at LILLY + Associates.

The bulk of daily duties for logistics managers include the following:

  • Supervising employees
  • Addressing customer issues or complaints
  • Developing operating strategies, plans or procedures
  • Maintaining safety in the workplace

In this line of work, everything must be accounted for and this requires precise documentation. For that reason, logistics managers spend ample time maintaining reports and keeping organized records of their inventory. They also collaborate with concurrent departments, such as accounting or customer sales, to make sure that all processes are in order.

To ensure that all supply chain processes are operating smoothly, DiPatrizio highlights some important questions that logistics managers might ask themselves on a daily basis: Are goods being delivered on time? Are shipments on the most optimized routes, at the lowest rates available? These are just a few of the things these professionals need to consider.

What skills do you need to be a logistics manager?

If some of the daily duties of logistics managers seem a bit intimidating, don’t sweat it! A degree in supply chain and logistics management is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and training to help you get those to-dos done!

To offer some more pointed insight into the job requirements of this advanced career path, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 2,500 logistics manager job postings from the past year.2 This data helped us identify the top 10 skills employers are seeking in candidates: 

  • Contract management
  • Business planning
  • Supply chain management
  • Process improvement
  • Procurement
  • SAP
  • Purchasing
  • Accounting
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Scheduling

In addition to these major skills are two traits that DiPatrizio says may contribute to an individual succeeding as a logistics manager: the ability to work under pressure and stellar organizational skills.

Where do logistics managers work?

When considering what it would be like to work as a logistics manager, the initial expectation may be that all logistics managers work in warehouses for big retailers or other organizations. But the reality is that logistics managers work in varying environments—some may surprise you!

It’s true that many logistics managers work in general merchandise stores, which is one of the top industries for this career path. But other top industries include professional, scientific and technical services, along with the chemical manufacturing industry. Some lesser-known settings in which logistics managers are needed are hospitals and computer and electronic product manufacturing centers.

Manage your career

There is plenty to consider when it comes to working as a logistics manager. And as you’ve learned today, there is also a huge variety in what the job title may encompass.

Take it from an experienced professional: “In the logistics field, every day is different. An individual who enjoys daily challenges and doesn't mind making a living as a problem solver would be a perfect fit,” DiPatrizio says. Does this sound like the right fit for you?

An important step in the process of becoming a logistics manager is earning a degree in supply chain management, but your options don’t stop there! Check out this article to learn about the various doors your education could unlock: What Can You Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree?

1Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Source: Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 2,568 logistics manager job postings, Jan. 1  – Dec. 31, 2015)


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Aaron Lawrence

Aaron is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. His interest in writing articles for students stems from his passion for poetry and fiction and the belief that all words can educate.

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