- Types of logistics and supply chain managers
- What do logistics and supply chain managers do?
- Logistics and supply chain manager career paths
- Logistics and supply chain manager salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Logistics and supply chain management skills
- Pros and cons of being a logistics or supply chain manager
- Work-life balance
- Typical employers hiring logistics and supply chain managers
- Related jobs to logistics and supply chain managers
Do you have excellent organisation skills? Do you like seeing a project from start to finish? If you want to be responsible for the organisation of a whole system within a company, a career as a logistics manager or a supply chain manager could be for you.
Types of logistics and supply chain managers
Logistics and supply chain managers have similar jobs working in the procurement area of a business. Even though they work in the same area of the production process, they have different focuses and specialities.
Supply chain management deals with the entire process of moving goods or materials, from the source to the manufacturers to the retailers to the customers. This job represents an overview of the entire process of making and selling goods.
Logistics management is more localised than supply chain management. Logistics companies and departments deal with one particular area of the supply chain. For example, one logistics team within the supply chain process will organise the transportation of goods either by sea, air or land, or a combination of these, from the manufacturer to the store that sells the products.
Distribution management is responsible for a more detailed element of logistics management. Distribution departments deal with the efficiency of transport, making it as time and financially efficient as possible.
What do logistics and supply chain managers do?
Whilst there is some overlap between logistics and supply chain management, here are the daily tasks which they share and some which are individual to the two types of management:
Both types of management
- Tracking the movement of goods
- Ensuring that targets about movement of goods are met
- Making sure the process is in budget
- Meeting to discuss what needs to be transported and where it needs to go
- Planning how to transport goods
- Identifying the best routes for goods to take between different areas of the production process
- Locating warehouses to store goods
- Checking stock levels of stores
- Making timetables for the whole supply chain process
- Assessing whether suppliers have enough stock to meet current demand
Logistics and supply chain manager career paths
Knowing the career path of a job helps you understand where to start and where your career could go in the future. Here is the career path for logistics and supply chain managers. Since there is some overlap between the jobs, you can often move between the different roles without detracting from your career.
Your career begins as either a supply chain planner or a procurement and supply manager. Supply chain planners look at the efficiency of the process, researching areas where costs could be cut and noting when stock needs replenishing. You also make schedules for different parts of the procurement process and understand sales demand.
Alternatively, you could work as a logistics assistant. In this role, you have a more hands-on job, working in a warehouse to receive goods, check the condition and fill in paperwork about the stock.
After some years of experience with a positive track record, you become a logistics manager. In this role, you find storage and transportation solutions, making sure the delivery process to and from your stations are successful and within the correct timeframes.
Alternatively, with similar years of experience and skills, you become a supply chain manager. In this role, you oversee the entire procurement process, making sure every movement is within your planned timetable and there is no additional loss of money through human error at any stage of the process.
Once you have many years of experience and a lot of success in your field, you become logistics director. At this level, you deal with more complex issues, speaking with suppliers and customers to make sure their needs are met within the budget and time that you outline.
Alternatively, you can become chief supply chain officer. Like a logistics director, this is a high-level position, requiring a lot of experience and expertise. You have leadership over the entire supply chain process, dealing with issues that arise and making sure many projects come about without issue.
Logistics and supply chain manager salaries
Despite the difference in focus, the salaries for logistics and supply chain managers are very similar. Here are the salaries that you could earn when employed in logistics or supply chain management:
- There are several entry-level jobs available to you in either logistics or supply chain management. Both supply chain planners and logistics analysts earn an average of £30,000 per year
- Logistics managers earn an average of £44,000 per year whereas supply chain managers earn £50,000 per year on average
- Logistics directors have a wide range of incomes which vary based on the size of the company, industry and location. Your salary as a logistics manager could be between £70,000 and £170,000 per year with a similar range for chief supply chain officers.
Qualifications and training
Taking the steps to work in logistics or supply chain management requires the right education and experience. Here are the steps that you should take to become a logistics or supply chain manager:
Having an undergraduate degree in systems engineering, business or supply chain management teaches you some of the relevant skills that you need for logistics or supply chain management jobs. Having a master’s degree in one of these subjects isn’t necessary but can be useful for gaining more skills and experience in the field.
Apprenticeships are available for people who want to go into logistics or supply chain management. Apprenticeships often give you practical experience with technical understanding. You can use the government’s Find a Course website to explore the apprenticeships available to you.
Having relevant work experience alongside your education gives you practical skills that you need and relevant experience to help you move easily into a job. You can get work experience through an internship. If you’re interested in doing an internship, explore the internships in the consumer, FMCG and retail sector available right now.
Logistics and supply chain management skills
Coupled with your understanding of supply chains and how different elements of the procurement process work, here are the skills that you need to succeed as a logistics or supply chain manager:
- Problem solving. In either of these roles, you face problems that might hold up the procurement process. These problems may not be in your control like issues in the shipping process, bad weather conditions preventing types of transport or sudden unavailability of warehouse space. Finding ways around these problems that stick to your timetable and don’t cost additional money is a major part of your job and problem-solving skills help you do this.
- Organisation. Your job requires a great deal of organisation to make sure every part of the process happens in the right order and on time. Being well organised in your own work, prioritising your tasks and delegating when necessary, alongside organising procurement of the goods, helps you stay on track and keep your success rate up.
- Data analysis. You need to analyse data to understand the amount of goods you need, when they’re needed by and the best ways to transport them. Having great data analysis skills help you identify all of this information to keep your work successful.
- Deal well with pressure. As a logistics or supply chain manager, you come across many issues on a daily basis that you need to deal with. Keeping cool and dealing with pressure well means you can complete your job in a calm manner with minimal stress.
If you want to brush up on your problem solving skills, complete this module on creative problem solving.
Pros and cons of being a logistics or supply chain manager
There are many positive and negative parts of working as a supply chain or logistics manager. Knowing the good and bad parts helps you decide whether it’s the right career for you in the long run. Here are the pros and cons of supply chain and logistics management:
- If you work your way up in a company, you could large sums of money
- You may receive great benefits for working with large firms
- You learn a great deal about the operations within a company
- You gain many transferable skills from working in both logistics and supply chain management
- Your working hours are very long which makes having a good work-life balance difficult
- It’s a high pressure and therefore high stress job
- Emergencies with stock sometime happen and it’s your job to deal with them, regardless of the time or the other work you have to do
- Due to the stress and long hours, some supply and logistics managers report being unhappy
- Getting into the career path can be difficult
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult when working as a logistics or supply chain manager. You may have long working days which could be more than 10 hours a day, with weekend work on top of this in busy times. Be prepared to be on call after your working hours. The job can involve a fair amount of stress, especially if there are problems in the transport system. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and stress relief strategies could help you in the long run.
Your work could range from office-based meetings and admin workto being in a warehouse, depending on the task you’re completing. When in a warehouse, you’ll have to wear safety equipment like a hi-vis jacket and steel toe capped shoes which is a change from the formal attire that you wear when meeting with external stakeholders.
Typical employers hiring logistics and supply chain managers
The procurement process is necessary for every product available to you in a shop or online. Therefore, even top companies need logistics and supply chain managers to keep their stock levels up and their customers satisfied. Here are the top companies that you could work for in logistics and supply chain management: