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Maintain responsibility for procuring all materials, managing the supply chain at every step of the procurement process, and providing for storage
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 typically do the following:
Logisticians oversee activities that include purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing. They may direct the movement of a range of goods, people, or supplies, from common consumer goods to military supplies and personnel.
Logisticians use software systems to plan and track the movement of products. They operate software programs designed specifically to manage logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.
Logisticians hold about 148,700 jobs. The largest employers of logisticians are as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||17|
|Management of companies and enterprises||10|
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. Logisticians must ensure that operations stay on schedule, and they must work quickly to solve any problems that arise. Some logisticians travel to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.
The majority of logisticians work full time, and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. About 1 in 4 of these workers work more than 40 hours per week.
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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.
Logisticians may qualify for some positions with an associate's degree. However, due to complex logistics and supply chains, companies prefer to hire workers who have at least a bachelor's degree. Many logisticians have a bachelor's degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management.
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).
Although not required, certification can demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of logistics. Logisticians can obtain certification through APICS or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). To become certified, a logistician typically needs to meet education and work experience requirements and pass an exam.
There are several certifications available from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). These certifications are required for Department of Defense acquisitions.
Some employers allow applicants to substitute work experience in place of a specific degree. Previous work experience in a field related to logistics, supply chains, or business can be beneficial. Some gain work experience while working in a logistical support role, such as dispatchers and clerks or while serving in the military. Experience allows a worker to learn about production and supply chain processes.
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 median annual wage for logisticians is $74,170. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $117,310.
The median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||75,000|
|Management of companies and enterprises||73,380|
The majority of logisticians work full time, and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly 1 in 4 of these workers work more than 40 hours per week.
Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, 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.
The performance of the logistical and supply chain process is an important factor in a company's profitability. Companies rely on logisticians to manage the movement of their products and supplies. Supply and distribution systems have become increasingly complex as they continue to try to gain more efficiencies at minimal cost. Employment is expected to grow as companies need more logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement. However, this growth may be limited by mergers of third-party logistics companies.
Overall job opportunities should be good because of employment growth and the need to replace the logisticians who are expected to retire or otherwise leave the occupation. Prospects should be best for candidates who have previous experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2016||Projected Employment, 2026||Change, 2016-26|