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Directors of logistics take responsibility for ensuring that goods get where they need to be in an efficient manner. To this end, much of their job involves keeping track of timetables and costs. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the logistics department, as well as expected to be strategic planners involved in helping the company progress.
Directors of logistics tend to work full-time in a fast-paced environment. Traveling to manufacturing plants or distribution centers can be part of the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies directors of logistics under “transportation, storage, and distribution managers” and projects that category to grow 2 percent between 2014 and 2024 with 2,710 job openings annually due to new jobs being created and existing jobs becoming available.
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Director of Logistics Duties and Responsibilities
As they work to ensure clients receive what they need on time every time while also advancing the objectives of their own company, directors of logistics perform a variety of tasks. We analyzed numerous job postings to determine which responsibilities are central to this position, yielding the following list:
Within a company, a certain amount of money is budgeted for logistics (getting items where they need to be). Directors of logistics keep a careful eye on costs. Making ends meet might involve finding cheaper ways to transport items or cutting back on staff.
Many different people are involved in logistics. The director of logistics watches their activities to make sure operations flow smoothly, instructs accordingly, and motivates them to perform. He or she also may be responsible for recruiting and hiring new workers.
Scouting for Inefficiencies
A good director of logistics always is on the lookout for ways to improve the transportation process. For instance, redesigning how a warehouse is arranged may make it easier for loads to be placed into trucks - cutting down on the time needed to fill a vehicle.
Directors of logistics work closely with various people both inside and outside of the company. They may seek feedback from customers to ensure their satisfaction. They negotiate with vendors to get the best rates possible on materials and moving services.
Companies make money when they sell products. They want enough on hand to meet the demands of buyers but not so many that goods sit around in warehouses. Directors of logistics evaluate numbers to strike that delicate balance. They may move merchandise from one location to another as needed to get things in the hands of those requesting them.
Director of Logistics Skills
Directors of logistics are problem solvers capable of using their analytic skills to develop solutions. They also need outstanding organizational skills to deal with the multitude of people and issues they encounter every day. Other great abilities for directors of logistics to possess include:
- Displaying calmness under pressure since the job frequently involves stressful situations
- Attending to detail so that mistakes aren't made and operations thrown off course
- Prioritizing to make sure the most pressing issues get accomplished first
- Communicating clearly in both oral and written form
- Negotiating skillfully to arrive at agreements that benefit the company
Director of Logistics Tools of the trade
If you plan on becoming a director of logistics, knowledge of the following can be helpful:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software – business process management software, such as Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Microsoft Dynamics AX, that can automate many tasks
Database management software – information management tool, such as Microsoft Access, that assists with the storage of data for reference and analysis
Spreadsheets – detailed profiles of financial or production activity, often composed and edited in Microsoft Excel
Inventory control software – used to track orders and control stock
Supply chain – everything involved in moving a product from supplier to customer
Director of Logistics Education and Training
Candidates for director of logistics positions generally hold a bachelor’s degree, oftentimes in a field such as transportation, business, or supply chain management.
Director of Logistics Salary
The median annual salary for directors of logistics, categorized by the BLS under “transportation, storage and distribution managers,” is $89,190. Directors of logistics in the 10th percentile earn about $52,600 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $152,700 a year. Directors of logistics in the District of Columbia, Delaware, and Rhode Island make the highest median salaries in the U.S. – $136,620, $131,610, and $112,140, respectively.
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Director of Logistics Resources
While we’ve presented a great deal of information on becoming a director of logistics, knowing more about the position can help in your ultimate decision. Here are some organizations and books that can be of assistance:
Logistics and Supply Chain Professionals
This LinkedIn group of more than 266,000 serves as a forum to share knowledge and encourage discussion about issues in the logistics industry.
Check out this organization's website for the latest on supply chain management as well as for a variety of careeradvancing opportunities, such as finding a mentor and continuing education.
The International Society of Logistics
Another wellknown professional society, SOLE dates back to 1966 and has chapters in more than 50 countries. Its various meetings and workshops help members fulfill the group's mission of "engaging in educational, scientific, and literary endeavors to advance the art of logistics technology and management."
Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC)
Known as "the only professional organization focused on logistics management and its role in the supply chain," WERC says it assists "those new to the industry master best practices and establish valuable professional relationships." Its online career center helps match talent with opportunities, and its resources for job seekers include advice on résumés, interviews, digital presence, and advancement.
International Logistics: The Management of International Trade Operations
This textbook, which is in its 4th edition, thoroughly handles issues concerning international logistics, including "terms of payment, terms of trade, exchange rate, exposure hedges, international insurance, customs clearance, agency and distributorship sales contracts, packaging, transportation, and security issues."
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