Careers in Distribution and Logistics Management

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in distribution and logistics management. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job outlook. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Distribution and Logistics Manager?

With a job in distribution and logistics management, you can help manufacturers meet consumer product demands and improve business processes for transportation of goods. They often work within the federal government or in manufacturing. One of their major goals is often to create ways to minimize costs for the transportation of goods. They analyze various possible routes, via highways, airways, and railways, to move goods across the country or around the world. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career in distribution and logistics management is right for you.

Distribution Manager Industrial Production Manager Purchasing Manager
Degree Required Associate's degree sufficient; Bachelor's degree common Bachelor's degree preferred Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Operations and database management, system dynamics Business administration or industrial engineering Engineering, business, or economics
Key Skills Communication, critical thinking, organizational, and problem solving skills Interpersonal, leadership, problem solving, and time management skills Analytical, decision making, math, and negotiating skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for all logisticians* -4%* 1% for all purchasing managers*
Median Salary (2015) $86,630 for all transportation, storage, and distribution managers* $93,940 for all industrial production managers* $108,120 for all purchasing managers*

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The minimum education requirement for this career field is generally a bachelor's degree. Typical bachelor's degree programs you may consider include those in logistics management, operations management, supply chain management or industrial technology. Such programs can teach you about business process management, database management and strategies for minimizing cost of goods.

In some instances, a master's degree may be required for positions requiring significant experience. Relevant master's programs you may consider include a Master of Science in Operations and Supply Management or a Master of Arts in Global Logistics. Professional certificate programs in purchasing and logistics or distribution management can also teach you about this occupation.

To help advance your career, you may also choose to obtain certification offered by industry organizations. Common designations for distribution and logistics professionals include the Certified Professional in Supply Chain Management and the Certified Purchasing Manager offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Where Could I Work?

There are a vast amount of industries where you could work as a distribution and logistics manager. Distribution services typically involve the general freight trucking and warehouse storage industry. You may also work for retail stores, supermarkets or manufacturing plants.

At the local and federal government level, you may manage the logistics for a post office or similar facility. For the cargo and air transportation industry, you may work at an airport or package delivery company. You may also work in the oil extraction and gas transportation industry for a petroleum or mining company.

What Would My Responsibilities Be?

As a distribution and logistics manager, you may manage a team of shipping clerks, truck drivers or warehouse workers to monitor job performance. You may work with vendors, ,retail stores and government agencies to manage the distribution of raw materials, finished goods and packages. Performing inventory control and forecasting the demand for goods may also be a part of your responsibilities.

To meet operations goals and improve productivity, you may be responsible for implementing logistics procedures. You may also be responsible for quality assurance to ensure timely delivery of goods and monitor product defects.

Working within a budget and managing demand and supply outputs may be a major component of your duties. To do these tasks, you may perform functions such as cost and data analysis. Your job responsibilities may also include maintaining a safe working environment by complying with environmental procedures.

What Salary Could I Expect To Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that distribution managers earned a median annual salary of $86,630 as of May 2015 ( During this time, similar job titles, such as industrial production managers, earned a median annual salary of $93,940, and purchasing managers earned a median annual salary of $108,120 of May 2015. Salaries for these positions can vary depending on education level, experience, geographic location and industry. For example, the BLS reported that distribution managers in the freight transportation industry earned a mean annual salary of $100,720, while those in the automobile dealership industry earned a mean annual wage of $136,600 as of May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelors' degree, you could also work as an industrial engineer. These professionals look at production processes with the goal of eliminating wastefulness and making them more cost effective. They look at how workers, machines, and facilities can function more efficiently and effectively. As a management analyst, you could examine a company or organization as a whole to see where it is being wasteful and losing money. You will suggest new ideas to other managers in how the company could be better run. This career also requires a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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