Logistics/distribution manager: job description

Last updated: 21 Jun 2023, 15:39

Logistics managers (also known as distribution managers) are responsible for coordinating the storage, transportation and delivery of goods.

Logistics/distribution manager: job description

What does a logistics or distribution manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

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. There's some overlap with the position of warehouse manager, although logistics managers' work is at higher level – they analyse logistical problems and plan transportation routes for vehicles carrying goods, for example, while warehouse managers focus on storing goods once they have been delivered.

Typical duties include:

  • analysing stock levels and establishing order schedules
  • operating IT systems to manage timings and costs of shipments
  • coordinating drivers, vehicles, loads and journeys
  • analysing data to assess performance, discover logistical problems and devise plans for improvements
  • negotiating and agreeing contracts
  • keeping up to date with relevant legislation, such as health and safety regulations
  • planning for and negotiating technical difficulties
  • hiring, training and supervising staff
  • preparing paperwork for regulatory bodies
  • liaising with and managing staff and shifts
  • managing waste
  • ensuring health and safety standards are met.

Working hours can vary depending on the industry and the type of employer. Some jobs require working evenings and weekends, while some involve shift work and on-call duties.

Graduate salaries

Jobs advertised suggest salaries for graduates in logistics range from around £26,000 to £37,000. Retailers and other large organisations offering graduate schemes in logistics tend to pay the highest salaries (and offer a range of benefits too), while smaller employers pay less but could provide responsibility more quickly.

Typical employers of logistics and distribution managers

Typical employers include:

  • specialist distribution companies
  • manufacturers
  • the armed forces
  • retailers
  • engineering firms
  • defence organisations
  • charities.

Vacancies are advertised on targetjobs and via careers services. You’ll also find jobs advertised on the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s jobs board and other specialist sites such as supplychainonline.co.uk.

Qualifications and training required

Both graduates and school leavers can become logistics or distribution managers. Some large retailers 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 or a fleet of vehicles, or stock taking. Often graduates of any subject can apply but sometimes recruiters look for those with degrees in business- or logistics-related subjects.

You won’t be expected to hold any professional qualifications but are likely to be expected to obtain them as your career progresses. For example, you might be required to work towards a certificate, diploma or advanced diploma in logistics and transport as part of your graduate scheme, for example. As well as management, qualifications could cover health and safety, forklift driving or construction site skills.

A number of postgraduate courses are available. These tend to focus on business and strategic aspects of logistics as well as practical skills (such as gaining experience of relevant software). Some courses include a project or industrial placement.

You can also enter this profession through an apprenticeship – including a degree apprenticeship, which can lead to a management role.

Key skills for logistics and distribution managers

  • interpersonal skills – the ability to work well in a team, as well as to manage and motivate others
  • customer care skills
  • logical reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • a solution-focused approach
  • skills in data analysis, including working with electronic data
  • time-management skills
  • the ability to plan ahead and deal with unexpected changes.

Next: search graduate jobs and internships

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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