What Is a Logistician? (With Job Requirements and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 15, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A business's supply chain is the system by which it acquires and transforms raw materials into consumer goods. Because overseeing this system requires consideration and analysis of multiple complex factors, many companies hire dedicated professionals called logisticians to coordinate it. If you're interested in a profession that involves high levels of organization, a career as a logistician might be suitable for you. In this article, we answer the question, "What is a logistician?" describe their duties and work environment, examine some of their required skills and qualifications and look at how much they earn.

What is a logistician?

A logistician, also known as a logistics analyst, is a practitioner of logistics, which refers to the movement of goods between points. This movement is multifaceted, involving every stage of a product's life cycle, including the acquisition and allocation of raw materials, the distribution of the product, and the disposal of resources.

Logisticians work in virtually every industry since the need for logistics professionals is broad. Some of the top employers of these professionals are:

  • Manufacturers

  • Freight-shipping companies

  • Government agencies

  • Wholesalers

  • Corporations

Read more: 10 Careers in Logistics (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

What does a logistician do?

Logisticians analyze and oversee supply chains, directing activities such as acquisition, transport and warehousing. Their specific duties may vary according to their industry or the needs of their employer, but some responsibilities typical to most logisticians are:

Allocating goods

Logisticians are directors of allocation, meaning they help determine the movement of supplies, materials, and products. For example, upon receiving resources, they may place them in inventory or distribute them to the departments that need them. During the completion of manufacturing, they may manage the shipment and distribution of the finished product. Often, allocation is an interdepartmental activity in which the logistician collaborates with resource or transportation specialists, who contribute knowledge that goes towards arranging effective allocation plans.

Related: Vendors vs. Suppliers (What They Are and When to Use Them)

Managing the product life cycle

A product life cycle refers to the time in which a product is available to consumers. There are four stages in a product's life cycle: its development and introduction, its growth, its maturity, and its decline. Product life cycle management, or PLM, is the process of handling a product's movement through this trajectory. Typically, logisticians are responsible for acquiring and moving resources during development, transporting products for sale, and eventually disposing of resources upon decline. Their goal is to maximize the efficiency of these activities and the venture's profitability.

Related: What Is Supply Chain Management and Why Is It Important?

Developing and maintaining supplier and client relationships

In the supply chain, suppliers are entities that sell and provide materials. The logistician establishes relationships with businesses that produce the materials a company needs to operate. For example, a logistician for an automotive company would work with suppliers such as metal fabricators, tire manufacturers and electronics producers to ensure the parts needed for car production are available.

Clients are entities that purchase goods. Developing and maintaining functional business relationships with clients ensures that a company can move its goods upon completion of production. In each relationship, the client has a need that the company hopes to meet, and the logistician helps to convey the company's ability to provide that need.

Related: Supply Chain vs. Logistics (Definitions and Key Differences)

Coordinating transportation

Transportation, the physical movement of goods from one place to another, occurs throughout the supply chain. Suppliers transport materials to other suppliers, who transport materials to manufacturers. Manufacturers then transport products to retailers. Because transportation plays such an important and pervasive role in the supply chain, it's important to ensure that materials and goods travel to their destinations at appropriate times. Logisticians are responsible for coordinating this movement. They aim to have consistently reliable transportation and cost-effective options, leading to greater profitability.

Identifying areas in need of improvement

When analyzing the supply chain, logisticians focus on ways they can optimize it for cost and efficiency. For instance, they might calculate the ideal number of distribution centres they need to maintain for the fastest shipment times and at the lowest possible cost. They might also devise strategies for minimizing waste factors such as overproduction and wait time.

Implementing technology

Technology helps logisticians do their job more effectively by allowing them to automate certain processes and track important details. Many logisticians use logistics software to perform their coordination tasks and manage other aspects, such as procurement. Other common technologies include a warehouse management system and a transportation management systems, or WMS and TMS, respectively. WMS helps to oversee an organization's storage facilities, and TMS manages the components related to transportation and shipping. Together, they can lead to a more efficient supply chain.

Work environment for logisticians

The work environment for a logistician varies according to their industry and employer. Those employed by a non-logistical company usually work within a logistics department responsible for the movements of resources and goods. Logisticians within logistical businesses, such as shipping companies, will likely have a more substantial role in the organization. Generally, logisticians work in an office setting, although occasional travel may be necessary to locations involved in the supply chain, such as distribution centres. The job of a logistician can be fast-paced and involves high urgency from the need to ensure that resources move on time.

Essential skills for logisticians

Logisticians typically have specific skills that allow them to carry out their duties, including:

Adaptability

Adaptability means you can easily adjust your approach to a new situation and learn new methods to address unfamiliar challenges. Adaptability skills can be valuable to a logistician because of the frequently shifting needs and demands within the various facets of the supply chain. Successful logisticians can often evolve alongside their organization and industry.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills help logisticians perform several tasks, including supply chain optimization, transportation coordination and technology implementation. The ability of a logistician to examine issues within the supply chain and devise solutions can allow for smoother operations within their organization.

Organization

Organization refers to the ability to approach your work in an orderly, structured way. Strong organizational skills are essential to perform a logistician's duties at the optimum level. These skills allow them to direct and manage various facets of the supply chain, including people, departments, entities, materials and timetables.

Communication

Communication is vital in several aspects of the logistician's job. Transportation coordination requires frequent exchanges of information between numerous parties, so the ability to clarify details on a consistent basis is important. Interpersonal communication is also essential for maintaining relationships with suppliers and clients. By providing friendly but firm interactions, other parties in the supply chain can understand the needs they're expected to meet.

Customer service

Customer service skills refer to the ability to provide others with what they expect and require. Since logisticians interact with a wide variety of entities, it's important that they're capable of meeting their needs. For example, a client may need a large shipment of products by a certain date. A logistician with good customer service skills could make the client feel assured about receiving the product on time and carry out the activities necessary to ensure that the shipment arrives by the specified date.

Education requirements for logisticians

For most employers, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement for logisticians. Many logisticians hold degrees in disciplines that prepare them for the demands of the job, such as business, process engineering, or supply chain management.

In addition to university education, there are several certifications available to logisticians. For example, the Canadian Professional Logistics Institute offers the Professional Logistician certification, and the Canada Logistics Association has the CITT-Certified Logistics Professional certification. Both can be useful for validating expertise in competencies related to logistics and the supply chain.

Average salary for logisticians

Logisticians in Canada earn an average salary of $54,820 per year. Specific earnings will likely vary depending on various factors, such as experience and location. For example, logisticians in Quebec report average earnings under the national average, at $40,500 per year. In contrast, those in Vancouver, British Columbia, report earning above the national average, at $62,986 per year.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

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