Logistics is the detailed coordination of a large and complex operation. Logistics and distribution managers are responsible for creating and implementing procedures to ensure the smooth movement, that is, transport, storing and delivery of goods, in other words, to get the goods to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities.
Their key task, therefore, is to organise the safe and efficient storage and distribution of goods, and to ensure that orders are satisfied correctly. Their responsibilties 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 and managing staff and implementing health and safety standards.
Logistics managers control and coordinate the ordering and dispatching of goods. Other duties include developing new business for the company, analysing and solving any logistical problems within the company, forecasting stock levels, coordinating deliveries according to schedules and calculating transportation costs.
They also manage and oversee staff, and may be involved in the formulation of company policies that include health and safety procedures, training and recruiting. Another function of a logistics manager is to negotiate and liaise with customers and suppliers regarding product availability, delivery schedules and pricing.
Essentially, their tasks are to negotiate customer contracts, to reduce costs and achieve maximum efficiency, to calculate total supply chain costs in relation to proposed new products, and to determine, in consultation with colleagues, whether or not orders should be put to tender.
They manage, coordinate and control the order cycle and associated information systems, manage the distribution of staff and workforce, develop business plans and keep abreast of new developments likely to affect the future purchase and movement of goods and services.
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.
Key skills are team-working, managerial skills, the ability to motivate others, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning, numeracy skills, IT skills and the ability to plan ahead and deal with unexpected changes.