Logisticians work in a critical area for businesses, managing the supply chain from the supplier to the eventual buyer. This includes the acquisition of materials to make a product, production at the place of business and delivery to the consumer.
Because of the challenging and important nature of the job, logisticians are in demand and also well compensated for their work. It’s a potentially rewarding career for those with an interest or backgrounds in management, applied business analytics and organizational leadership.
What Does a Logistician Do?
Successfully managing a supply chain is essential to success in the business world. Logisticians tackle the complex job of getting that done, as well as making a company’s logistics are efficient as possible.
They work in every type of industry that involves delivering a product to consumers. While the details of job duties differ depending on the industry, those who wish to become logisticians can expect to handle some or all of the following:
- Filling a customer’s order correctly in terms of product assortment and quantity
- Delivering products on time and to the right location
- Providing exceptional product servicing and support to customers
- Decreasing the purchasing costs of products for a company
- Managing inventory
- Decreasing production costs for companies as well as the total supply chain cost
Essentially, consumers want to order a product and have the correct item delivered on time to a specific location. Businesses want to provide this service in the most efficient way possible. Logisticians work to make sure both of these things happen, creating detailed logistics plans on the best way to achieve these goals.
But it doesn’t stop there. Logisticians who work in the food industry, healthcare or for governmental emergency services have the responsibility in some cases to save lives. People depend on the delivery of healthy food, correct prescriptions and in the case of emergencies, basic items such as water, food and temporary shelters.
Logisticians manage the supply chains in all of these cases.
Logistician Job Growth & Salary
The need for successful management of supply chains, especially in a global market, has driven the demand for logisticians.
The number of logisticians is projected to grow 7% in the period between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Logisticians earned a mean annual salary of $77,810 as of May 2016, as reported by the BLS. As with most occupations, pay depends greatly on location. The following are the top states that employ logisticians and their mean annual salaries.
- California – $86,520
- Texas – $82,450
- Michigan – $79,610
- Virginia – $86,300
- Illinois – $68,730
Some states without the largest number of logisticians offer some of the highest salaries. These include the District of Columbia ($100,440), Alabama ($87,870) and Alaska ($87,050). Candidates should conduct their own research when seeking a job as a logistician.
How to Become a Logistician
Logisticians can come from a variety of backgrounds. While an associate’s degree may land you a job in the field, these days it’s far more likely that an employer will want someone with a bachelor’s degree or better. Here are some of the typical steps to become a logistician.
Earn a bachelor’s degree – A bachelor’s degree prepares students for the complexity of supply chain management. Degrees can come in different areas, such as business administration, systems engineering and supply chain management.
Develop skills – Once in the work world, those who wish to attain the highest positions in the field should gain experience and cultivate certain skills. For example:
- Hone communication skills – Supply chains involve many different people in many different industries and parts of the world. An ability to clearly communicate and understand others is critical for logisticians.
- Improve critical thinking – Developing logistics plans takes a great deal of detailed planning and focus on great service as well as operational efficiencies.
- Learn organization – This is the bread and butter for any logistician. Clearly, they must be very well organized in a very fast-paced environment.
- Perfect problem solving skills – In a way, problem solving is a concise definition of what a logistician does. They must manage complex supply chains and eliminate obstacles that get in the way of great service.
Earn a master’s degree – For those wishing to lead a logistics department or command the top jobs in the field, earning a graduate degree can open those doors for them. These can include a master’s in business administration, organizational leadership and applied business analytics, such as those offered by Jacksonville University, as well as supply chain management.
Get certified – While not required by all employers, earning certification as a logistician is recommended for those who aspire to the top positions in the field. Certification is administered by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) or the International Society of Logistics. To work specifically for the Department of Defense, logisticians should pursue certification from the Defense Acquisition University.