Career and growth prospects in logistics and supply chain management

Workers in the logistics and supply chain management field make sure that goods and services get into the hands of consumers. The logistics industry is an important driver of economic growth and development.

All types of businesses, big and small, need logistics managers to help with inventory and accounts receivable. A small business may have one person in charge of these duties, while large corporations have entire logistics and supply chain departments.

Most people begin down a career path in this field by starting in an entry-level position and working their way up to jobs with more responsibilities and a higher salary. Manufacturing is by far the largest industry employing logisticians, with over 40% of logisticians working in some field of manufacturing (see image right, BLS.gov). There are many different job titles in the logistics industry. Below are just a few:

  • Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Customer Service Manager
  • International Logistics Manager
  • Inventory Control Manager
  • Logistics Engineer
  • Logistics Manager
  • Logistics Services Salesperson
  • Logistics Software Manager
  • Materials Manager
  • Production Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Systems Support Manager
  • Transportation Manager
  • Vendor Managed Inventory Coordinator
  • Warehouse Operations Manager

Job Prospects in Logistics Management

With globalization making even the furthest reaches of the globe more and more connected, now is a great time to be looking into the field of logistics. According to the BLS, employment in the field is expected to grow 22% between 2012 and 2022. In May 2012, the median wage for logisticians was $72,780. Jobs in the field of logistics and supply chain management include logistics manager, integrated programs director, supply chain director, inventory manager, supply chain planning manager, and other specified careers.

Most companies prefer logistic managers have at least a bachelor’s degree, in either fields of business, industrial engineering, or supply chain management. Likewise, one can show their dedication in the field by acquiring certification from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, or the International Society of Logistics. Additionally, having both a degree and work experience will help in finding a job. As many jobs in the field are related to the government and military, having a military background can be beneficial as well.

Entry-Level Logistics and Supply Chain Management Jobs

One of the most common entry-level positions in this field is customer service management. Customer service is an important part of logistics and supply chain management on an individual level, since listening to and helping your consumers is the backbone of any business. You can also work managing product inventory for a business, planning and overseeing product transportation needs, and managing supplies needed for manufacturing.

You are not limited to customer service management, however. You can also find entry-level employment working as a distribution clerk, van driver, operation clerk, and many other jobs that provide a stepping stone to more advanced positions.

Some entry-level jobs do require at least a bachelor’s degree such as operations research analyst or process associate. These jobs are more focused on critical and analytical thinking, and may require various certifications to prove your expertise in the field. The American Society of Transportation and Logistics has more information about these certifications on their website.

Advanced Logistics and Supply Chain Management Jobs

As you gain experience in logistics and supply chain management, you’ll be able to take on advanced roles in this field. You could work as an industry analyst, project manager, global logistics manager, operations director, transportation director, or international logistics manager, just to name a few of the positions open in this field. A logistical manager (or logistician) directs the efficient movement of a product or service from the supplier to the consumer. The logistician is in charge from the very beginning of product acquisition to the very end of secure delivery. Similarly, a supply chain manager examines procedures for opportunities to streamline existing conditions. Overall, both positions direct the movement, storage, and processing of inventory. For those who attain more experience, upper management positions such as presidents and vice presidents are highly sought after. These top-level positions oversee all aspects of logistics and supply chain management and usually come attached with a six-figure salary.

If you’re interested in working abroad or with an international customer base, advanced jobs in logistics often provide such opportunities. In our ever-increasingly globalized world, many logistics companies work with foreign distributors to conduct business. There’s also the option to work as a consultant. As a consultant, you can work with a variety of different companies, both nationally and abroad, offering tips and strategies on how to streamline processes. After learning the basics of logistics, working as a consultant might be an option worth considering if you prefer a more flexible schedule and the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and businesses.