Career Info for a Degree in Logistics or Distribution

Logistics, distribution and materials managers arrange the transportation of raw materials, supplies and finished goods through domestic and international transportation channels. Detail-oriented individuals with business knowledge and an interest in transportation can put their skills to use in logistics, distribution or materials management careers. Read on for more information on this career path.

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Degree Information for Logistics, Distribution or Materials Management

Degree programs in logistics, distribution or materials management teach the planning and management skills necessary for product distribution and material allocation. Classes cover topics in supply chain management, production operations management, industrial planning and transportation, logistics management and a core of business courses that include economics, accounting, business-to-business marketing, marketing strategies and human resource management. Graduates of logistics, distribution or materials management degree programs might find work as transportation managers, storage and distribution managers or logistics managers.

Logistics, Distribution and Materials Management Careers

Transportation Managers

Transportation managers coordinate the dispatch of transport fleets, supervise contracting of vehicles and shipping services and oversee equipment repair or purchases. These managers utilize business knowledge, logistics experience and communication skills to review budgets, approve expenditures, manage contracts with service providers, forecast shipping demand and resolve issues with contract fulfillment. Transportation managers also promote safety by implementing company policies regarding materials handling and work conditions. Since shipping and commerce are regulated, transportation managers are familiar with applicable regulations, laws and tariffs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected average employment growth for transportation managers from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). BLS wage estimates for transportation, storage and distribution managers in 2012 showed variation depending on the type of shipping activity; those employed in freight transportation earned an average yearly salary of $83,870, while those in rail transportation earned a few thousand dollars more, at $88,660 per year. Shipping managers who oversaw deep sea, coastal and Great Lakes water transportation commanded $110,410 per year on average, the BLS said.

Storage and Distribution Managers

Storage and distribution managers oversee warehousing facilities for goods or raw materials, manage the distribution of finished products to businesses and retail customers and coordinate activities with other department heads such as warehouse facilities managers. Distribution managers ensure that transport is arranged for ongoing distribution, sometimes working with transportation managers. Some storage and distribution managers may purchase, service and manage transportation fleets. The BLS reported that storage and distribution managers' median annual salary was $81,830 per year as of 2012.

Logistics Managers

Like transportation, storage and warehousing managers, logistics managers are responsible for the efficient distribution of materials and merchandise, overseeing such factors and resources as transportation, shipping, warehousing and inventory control. They direct the efforts of other supply chain managers to facilitate shipping, negotiate billing and contracts, maintain records and provide customer service. Logistics managers combine business knowledge with an understanding of transportation industry practices so that they can make informed choices regarding routing, scheduling and order management. November 2013 wage estimates from Salary.com showed that logistics managers earned a median of $90,620 per year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics