Transportation and Distribution Management Jobs

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

What is Transportation and Distribution Management?

Though jobs in transportation and distribution management are varied, they primarily deal with the transportation, distribution or storage of products. Transportation managers are in charge of putting together schedules and determining transportation routes. Using shipping data, they may even develop strategies for making routes more efficient. Another part of their job is to establish safety standards and ensure staff follows DOT regulations. Working within a budget, they staff transportation vehicles and assign them to various routes.

Distribution managers oversee and organize the operations of distribution centers. This involves coordinating the outgoing and incoming delivery of goods and products, as well as creating employee schedules and managing internal staff. They also keep track of invoices, manifests and delivery issues.

The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and average salary in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Supply chain logistics, operations management, business administration, communication, transportation and distribution systems
Key Responsibilities Oversee and track the transport, distribution or storage of products as scheduled; train and supervise personnel; create schedules, budgets and forecasts; communicate with clients
Job Growth (2014-24) 2% (for transportation, storage, and distribution managers)*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $86,630 (for transportation, storage, and distribution managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Education and Training Programs for Transportation and Distribution Managers?

According to O*Net Online (www.onetonline.org), a majority of distribution managers and transportation managers have bachelor's degrees, which can be earned in four years. Schools across the U.S. offer standalone distribution management and logistics management programs, as well as business administration or marketing programs with a logistics emphasis.

These programs explain supply chain management concepts, such as the flow of materials to manufacturer and goods from manufacturers. They also cover market segments and intermediaries in the distribution chain, distribution performance measures and project management. Some programs offer you the opportunity to work a logistics and distribution internship with a local company.

Where Do Professionals Work?

Companies in manufacturing, retail, wholesale and the trucking, rail and airfreight transportation industries are among your possible employers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that approximately 109,210 people worked as transportation, storage and distribution managers as of May 2015. However, employment of transportation managers and distribution managers is expected to grow two percent in the 2014-2024 decade, even as employment in trucking and transportation increases five percent over the same period.

What Will I Do During the Workday?

Your duties are largely administrative, but some are more directly connected to transportation and distribution than others. For instance, you may confer with other departments - production, purchasing or sales - to coordinate and create delivery schedules. You also choose delivery routes, issue shipping orders and supervise work teams that are responsible for the actual sending, receiving and handling of materials or products. Finally, you review demand forecasts and consumption reports to estimate delivery cycles, negotiate supplier contracts and respond to customer or client complaints.

Supporting duties might include preparing reports and manuals, designing and implementing safety and security programs, inspecting warehouses and vehicles, training new hires and preparing budgets. You need good oral and written communication skills, social skills, mathematical aptitude and problem-solving capability.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

As of May 2015, the BLS reported that you could earn an annual salary in the middle range of $66,060 to $114,440 with a median of $86,630 as a transportation, storage or distribution manager (www.bls.gov). As of January 2017, figures from PayScale.com further break down this category and report that your earnings could fall within a range of $41,142 to $92,830 as a distribution manager and $41,923 to $91,170 as a transportation manager.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Purchasing managers direct the buying, selling and distributing of the supplies, equipment and products used and made by a company. This involves identifying vendors, representing the company when working with suppliers, and processing requisitions. Supply chain managers predict the demand of product and plan the production of the product to meet that demand. They set and monitor quotas, set metrics for performance evaluation, keep track of inventories and coordinate with other areas of management, such as purchasing, transportation and distribution management. These mangers typically have 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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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Lincoln Tech

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    • Illinois: Melrose Park
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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Abilene Christian University

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  • Southern Careers Institute

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  • CDI College

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    • Anywhere: Burnaby, Edmonton, Richmond, Surrey
  • New York University

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    • New York: New York
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