A logistics or distribution manager’s key task is to organise the safe and efficient storage and distribution of goods, and to ensure that orders are fulfilled (carried out) correctly.
Other responsibilities include:
- organising shipments
- coordinating drivers, vehicles, loads and journeys
- operating IT systems
- negotiating and agreeing contracts
- developing and confirming schedules
- planning for and negotiating technical difficulties
- preparing paperwork for regulatory bodies
- liaising with and managing staff and shifts
- waste management
- monitoring stock
- ensuring health and safety standards are met
Working hours can vary depending on the industry and the type of employer. Some jobs can require working evenings and weekends, and others involve shift work and on-call duties.
- Specialist distribution companies
- The armed forces
- Major commercial organisations
Vacancies are advertised by TARGETjobs, careers services and occasionally recruitment agencies, or in national newspapers and specialist publications such as Logistics and Transport Focus and Logistics and Supply Chain and their respective websites. Professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), often have jobs boards on their websites too.
Both graduates and school leavers can become logistics or distribution managers. Various large organisations such as Royal Mail and DHL run graduate schemes with a logistics or supply chain stream. These roles are likely to involve a heavy element of management, whether that’s managing a warehouse shift, stock taking, or a fleet of vehicles. Often graduates of any subject can apply but sometimes business- or logistics-related degrees are preferred by recruiters.
An apprenticeship is another way into a logistics career but are unlikely to include positions of management straight away. Employers may advertise apprenticeships on their websites or in the local press.
Graduates and apprentices will not be expected to hold any logistics management qualifications, but are likely to be expected to obtain them as their career progresses. As well as management, qualifications could cover health and safety, forklift driving or construction site skills, for example.
- Teamwork skills
- Managerial skills
- The ability to motivate others
- Interpersonal skills
- Logical reasoning
- Numeracy skills
- IT skills
- The ability to plan ahead and deal with unexpected changes