Logistics Planner Job Description
Logistics planners are the master strategists of the shipping world. They are responsible for coordinating the shipping and receiving of supplies, goods, foods, and people. The goods and supplies logistics planners deal with vary based on their industry of employment. The manufacturing and freight industries are their biggest employers. Supermarkets also need logistics planners to coordinate produce and food deliveries. Logistics planners do most of their work from an office and within typical office hours, but their duties can include periodic visits to manufacturing sites and warehouses. Those who succeed in this position thrive on problem-solving and strategic thinking.
The role of logistics planner is, in part, a supervisory position. Part of their duties includes making sure the employees involved in the shipping or receiving process perform their assigned tasks up to standard. Logistics planners may answer to the VP of logistics in a large company. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for logisticians, which includes logistics planners, is set to rise 7 percent through 2026.
Logistics Planner Duties and Responsibilities
Logistics planners are responsible for all the tasks related to moving goods from one place to another. We analyzed several logistics planner job descriptions to come up with the following list of duties and responsibilities:
Determine the Size and Scope of Projects
Before any products go out or come in, logistics planners have to determine the size and scope of the project. They use their project management skills to determine the resources and labor necessary for a project, how much the project will cost, and how long it will take to complete.
Meet with Vendors to Work out Specifics
Logistics planners meet with suppliers or clients, depending on the project, to work out the specifics for delivery, such as price, quantity, what products are being delivered, and the timeframe for delivery.
Analyze Distribution Process and Make Improvement Suggestions as Necessary
Logistics planners help decision makers make better decisions through consistent analysis of the distribution process. This analysis is used to make strategic recommendations.
Prepare and Deliver Logistics Reports to Senior Decision Makers
The analysis mentioned above is presented to decision makers in the form of hard reports and visual presentations. This requires some public speaking skills and proficiency with PowerPoint.
Assign Employees Tasks Based on Project Needs
It is the responsibility of logistics planners to determine the specific labor needed, to assign employees tasks, and make sure they understand how their task fits into the overall project.
Logistics Planner Skills
Logistics planners need a unique blend of technical and soft skills to facilitate the shipping and receiving of supplies and projects. On the technical side, logistics planners must be experts in the principles of logistics to make efficient decisions. They must also be familiar with project management strategies and software. An analytical mind, strong attention to detail, and the ability to prioritize tasks characterize logistics planners. If you enjoy playing games of strategy, you’ll do well in this position. Employers look for the following skills:
- Planning out shipping and receiving projects using knowledge of project management and proficiency in project management software
- Meeting with suppliers and vendors to negotiate specific logistics details
- Analyzing distribution data and suggesting improvements based on key performance indicators
- Preparing and presenting reports to senior management to help with decision-making
- Overseeing supply chain employees to ensure they perform project tasks up to standard
Logistics Planner Tools of the Trade
- Project management software – logistics planners use project management software to work out the size and scope of shipping projects.
- Microsoft Office Suite – Microsoft Office Suite is used to analyze distribution data and create presentations.
Logistics Planner Education and Training
Most logistics planners have a degree in logistics or supply chain management. Since this is partly a supervisory position, most who reach the level of logistics planner have at least a bachelor’s degree. Coursework covers logistics technology, distribution channels, procurement, and business law. On-the-job training is provided by most employers.
Logistics Planner Salary
According to Payscale, the national median salary of logistics planners is $56,175. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $39,000, while those in the top 10 percent make above $81,000.
Logistics Planner Resources
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals has a lot of great resources for members. There is an educational section with online courses, including some relevant to logistics planners.
The International Society of Logistics – Founded in 1966, the International Society of Logistics has members in more than 50 countries. It offers excellent networking opportunities on the local, national, and global level. Each chapter puts on regular meetings, and there is a conference every year.
Association for Supply Chain Management – The Association for Supply Chain Management isn’t specifically for logistics, but it has many logistics planners amongst its ranks. It offers certifications, webinars, and in-person professional development seminars.
Inbound Logistics – Inbound Logistics is a print publication that also offers digital editions. Its website is updated a few times a week with the latest news and innovations in the logistics industry.
Logistics Management – Logistics Management started as a print publication in 1962. It has since established itself as one of the most trusted sources in the logistics industry. Its website is updated frequently with fresh logistics articles.
Lean Supply Chain and Logistics Management – This book is a go-to for those who want to cut the waste in their supply chain process. It contains lean strategies for all aspects of the supply chain, which are backed up by real-world case studies by logistics management experts. This is an excellent resource for logistics planners.
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