What you need to know
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, allocated, and delivered.
Logisticians work in almost every industry. Some logisticians work in the logistical department of a company, and others work for firms that specialize in logistical work, such as freight-shipping companies. The job can be stressful because logistical work is fast-paced. Some logisticians travel to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.
Some of the things logisticians might do:
- Manage a product’s life cycle from design to disposal
- Direct the allocation of materials, supplies, and products
- Develop business relationships with suppliers and clients
- Understand clients’ needs and how to meet them
- Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
- Propose strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods
- Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.
- Critical-thinking skills. Logisticians must develop, adjust, and carry out logistical plans. They often must find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
- Customer service skills. Logisticians must know the needs of their customers in order to coordinate the movement of materials between suppliers and customers. They gain this knowledge through listening to the customer and applying their knowledge of the products and systems to provide what is required.
- Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to 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.
The average pay for logisticians in the United States ranges from $44,440 to $119,950 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy.
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs. In some cases, related work experience may substitute for education. Industry certification is helpful for jobseekers.
Bachelor’s degree programs often include coursework in operations and database management, 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).
Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Supply Chain Management.