Determined, innovative, efficient, observant, collaborative: If these words describe you, then you may want to consider a career as a logistician. You can work in just about any industry as a logistician, including manufacturing, transportation, packaging, and farming. You will largely focus on analyzing and coordinating every aspect of an enterprise’s supply chain, including purchasing, inventory, warehousing, and transportation. Discovering how to become a logistician could be your first step toward a career in this pivotal role.
What Does a Logistician Do?
What logisticians do for their organizations is incredibly valuable, and their skills are in high demand. A logistician manages the supply of a company’s products in relation to the needs of its customers. In this role, you’ll analyze and coordinate how goods are acquired, distributed, and delivered. Logisticians are essentially data analytics experts who coordinate the supply chain of an organization from supplier to consumer.
As a logistician, you’ll also ensure your company’s operations are always on schedule, quickly solving any problems that may arise. Additionally, you’ll collect data on all aspects of how products are made and distributed to determine if process or systems improvements are needed.
If you choose to work as a logistician in the public sector, you may be involved in coordinating responses to significant natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. You may also oversee the cleanup of oil spills or other environmental disasters. If you work for the federal government, you could also coordinate the movement of military personnel or supplies. You could even work in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Logistics Management, helping deliver supplies and equipment to both domestic and overseas state department personnel.
What Is a Logistician’s Role in a Company?
A skilled logistician can help a company’s supply chain run more effectively and smoothly. This makes them a valuable asset to a business of any size, as supply chains are complex networks that constantly evolve based on the demands of the customer and the performance of competing businesses.
Ensuring that components of a supply chain run efficiently is crucial to business performance. Just one element going askew can disrupt the entire network’s flow. For example, if a personal computer manufacturer experiences a delay in receiving computer chips from a supplier, that can negatively impact the manufacturer’s ability to distribute PCs to its customers. This can increase customer dissatisfaction and drive sales to a competitor, hurting the company’s profitability and public reputation in the process.
Logisticians are also crucial to loss prevention strategies. They ensure that complex components of a supply chain run smoothly, but also assess the balance between supply and demand. If a food distributor is harvesting an overabundance of fruits and vegetables, for example, excess product can spoil and be rendered immovable, resulting in a loss for the company.
A logistician’s work is also essential to meeting evolving customer expectations. This can be accomplished by influencing factors such as technological innovation. As more companies offer online purchasing, logisticians can be fundamental to ensuring that customers’ needs are met in a timely and efficient manner – a crucial part of keeping the customer happy.
How to Become a Logistician
To get your foot in the door of this fascinating career, you’ll need a combination of the right education and skills.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Competitive applicants for logistician positions usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as supply chain management, business administration, or industrial engineering.
If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration, you’ll be exposed to a well-rounded curriculum that positions you to manage the performance of business operations as well as make the best decisions for an organization. For instance, an online bachelor’s in business administration curriculum offers you the opportunity to acquire a number of skills based on specific concepts. You may learn about the importance of cash generation, return on investment (ROI), and financial growth in stewarding the success of any business.
Undergraduate business administration curriculums typically include courses in business communications, designed to not only improve your interpersonal skills, but also your ability to effectively share information with various stakeholders, including leadership, suppliers, and customers. Making good decisions is also an essential part of being a leader — and it is a skill you’ll need to excel in the role.
Bachelor’s in business administration programs also usually cover subjects such as financial accounting, management principles, and analytical methods.
Step 2: Earn a Master’s Degree
Employers may want you to possess more education, such as a master’s degree in disciplines such as logistics, supply chain management, or data analytics.
For example, a typical online master’s in business data analytics curriculum consists of courses that are designed to provide in-depth knowledge and competency in several key areas. Skills such as looking for trends and identifying opportunities to improve supply chain logistics are essential to logisticians.
Increasingly, organizations are using large volumes of data about their customers, prospects, suppliers, competitors, and their own business processes to make decisions, increase revenue, and improve operations. However, all of that data is meaningless if it’s not analyzed properly. Part of a logistician’s job involves interpreting data to identify patterns and trends that can empower an enterprise to make better decisions.
Master’s-level courses typically cover concepts including quantitative analysis, modeling, and computer programming languages. Predictive analytics is another common area of focus, giving students valuable knowledge about how to forecast future events that may impact supply chains. Better forecasting can help organizations gain a competitive edge and prevent financial losses.
Step 3: Acquire Additional Skills
Employers may also be looking to hire candidates who have mastered certain skills, including the following:
- Critical-thinking skills are important because logisticians have to develop, implement, and adjust logistical plans.
- Customer service skills are also essential, as logisticians must understand their customers’ needs to manage the movement of goods.
- Problem-solving skills come into play when logisticians are called upon to handle unexpected issues, such as problems with suppliers, and adjust plans accordingly to resolve issues.
Logistician Salary and Job Outlook
The median annual salary for a logistician in the U.S was $74,600 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, salaries can be influenced by numerous factors, such as level of education and years of experience. Location may also affect pay: a logistician working in a city with a high cost of living such as New York or San Francisco may receive a higher annual salary than one in a city with a lower cost of living.
The BLS projects 5% employment growth for the field between 2018 and 2028. This mirrors the approximate average growth rate for all other U.S. occupations.
The growth in opportunities for logisticians reflects the need for logistics in the transportation of goods, especially as the global economy continues to expand. The BLS also predicts that employment opportunities in this field will continue to expand as companies need to move goods more efficiently, solve problems, and uncover operational areas where they can gain competitive advantages.
Learn More About Becoming a Logistician
A career as a logistician can be exciting and fulfilling, offering a range of challenges as well as opportunities for advancement. The work is constantly changing and fast paced. From the C-suite to the warehouse, the logistics environment is a hub of innovation and activity, which means you’ll likely always be in the middle of the action.
By pursuing an advanced data analytics degree, you can discover the right analytical tools to use data to help your organization operate more efficiently. Learn how Maryville University’s online master’s in business data analytics program can get you started on the road to becoming a logistician.