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Career guide: Logisticians

Friday, January 26, 2018
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Career guide: Logisticians
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With all the changes happening in the way people buy products, there's never been a more exciting time to become a logistician. These experts, also called logistics professionals, are responsible for overseeing the manufacture of a product to its distribution to customers. In other words, they manage a product supply chains.

The rise of Amazon and similar companies is revolutionizing the role of logisticians. Online shopping is no longer a new concept but is becoming increasingly sophisticated, convenient and efficient. Consumers expect to buy everything they need online, from food to medical goods, and they expect rapid delivery. 

As such, modern logisticians are facing supply chains of unprecedented scale. 

"What started as a retail phenomenon - buying online - has become a logistics revolution with speed-to-market playing a key role in company success," Chris Barnes, president of APICS Atlanta, the association for supply chain management, said in an interview with the Atlanta Business Journal. 

Logisticians will play a key role in keeping consumers happy in our digital, on-demand age. 

What do logisticians do?
Logisticians manage product supply chains. Every industry, from food and beverage processing to pharmaceuticals, requires logisticians. These professionals create, improve or maintain the manufacturing, quality control and distribution protocols of goods. Logisticians are not limited to working with consumer products and may manage the manufacture and distribution of industrial equipment, military goods, construction materials and other items. Logisticians must ensure products move quickly, safely and efficiently through the supply chain and in ways that comply with all manufacturing and distribution regulations.  

supply chainLogisticians oversee the movement of products through the supply chain.

How do you become a logistician?
Logisticians often have associate's or bachelor's degrees in logistics, industrial distribution, business or a related field. However, graduate degrees in logistics or supply chain management can make logistician job candidates compete for upper-level roles overseeing operations at medium to large companies. 

Professional experience can also be helpful for individuals pursuing a career in logistics management. Types of relevant work experience can include shadowing a logistician at a local company or working in an entry-level role in the field, such as a distribution clerk, dispatcher or operations research associate. 

What skills are important for logisticians to have?
As logisticians oversee intricate processes on a large scale, they must have outstanding organizational skills and a great attention to detail. They should possess great time management skills and be deadline-oriented to ensure products get where they need to go on time. Logisticians also need to be strong written and verbal communicators and work well under pressure. 

Logisticians should be creative thinkers and problem-solvers, eager to come up with new ways of getting products to consumers quickly. Professionals who embrace innovation in ways that benefit both manufacturers and consumers will be those who are the most successful. 

"Many brick-and-mortar stores are seeking to expand their online sales operations."

Career outlook for logisticians
There is a favorable career outlook for logisticians. Many brick-and-mortar stores are seeking to expand their online sales operations, and they are looking for skilled logisticians to help them scale their business. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that logisticians will see a 7 percent increase in the number of available jobs between 2016 and 2026. In 2016, the median annual pay for logisticians was $74,170. A graduate degree can help logisticians garner higher salaries and compete for executive-level roles. 

Individuals who enjoy learning how large-scale processes function on micro levels may want to consider careers as logisticians. The professional path can be rewarding for those with the right skill set and drive to succeed. 

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