Becoming a Logistics and Distribution Manager

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All those who want their business to prosper and grow require an efficient logistics and distribution manager who can handle all the logistics and distribution operations successfully. The logistics manager is a person who handles processes that are involved in a supply chain. He is the networking link between a logistics company and manufacturers, raw material suppliers, consumers as well as retailers. Logistics management is basically a two-way process that includes the return of goods as well.

The logistics manager looks after the entire process of coordination ensuring complete customer satisfaction. Such managers are expected to be aware of all such vital external influences like legislation, environmental pressures, fuel costs, etc. and are anticipated to respond strategically in such situations.

The task of the distribution manager within logistics is to ensure that the entire structure including stock control, warehousing, and transportation is in its proper place. In this way, he suitably monitors and controls the flow of materials and goods.

Almost all industries and companies require logistics management for value addition to their enterprise and for maintaining a good customer relation. Material collection and good distribution has turned into a global industry now days. Hence, the management of the supply or demand chain for delivering products efficiently at required places and producing minimal waste in the process is quite a challenging task.

The distribution managers are employed by most of the manufacturing as well as retail organizations to perform responsibilities in sourcing, purchasing, and supply. Few of the companies like Wincanton, DHL, and Gist are also involved in providing third party logistic services to other organizations. All these companies are quite large organizations involved in multiple operations that include all the supply chain needs - from vehicles and warehousing to the most sophisticated and advanced electronic information systems.

The specific job profile of the logistics and distribution manager depends on a large extent to the employing company, that is, whether the company is a retailer, a manufacturer or a specialist service provider (third party logistics). While operating the supply chain operations the work typically includes monitoring the quality, cost, efficiency, and movement of the goods, coordinating the order cycle, analyzing data, recruiting and managing human resources, and liaison with customers.

The logistics and distribution manager also looks after the transport staff and warehouse while implementing safety procedures, coordinating health issues, managing staff training issues, motivating team members, and setting objectives. In short, complete project management. There are some senior posts in logistics too that include project planning and using the specialist expertise area in consultancy services.

The logistics and distribution managers are also acquiring posts in armed forces, transport, utilities, and even charitable organizations.

This is one area of work that is open to all graduates and diploma holders. However, graduates in transport/logistics/distribution, business/management, science, geography, and computing/information system are preferable. Though most logistics companies are quite flexible in their academic approach, yet some employers prefer a degree in transport/distribution/logistics. A postgraduate qualification, though not an essential criteria, is sure to increase the chances of entry and progression.

Good time management and the ability to work systematically and logically is one of the most important requirements for such a job. Decision-making and problem solving skills, lateral thinking, and creativity is definitely an add-on. Commercial awareness, IT literacy, strong interpersonal skills, excellent communication skills, positive attitude, negotiation skills, commercial awareness, some amount of numeracy, and the ability to work in a team makes the logistics and distribution manager outstanding in his own field.

Many large companies provide eighteen months or two years training for graduates helping them to experience a variety of roles within logistics. However, this kind of training may require relocation of the candidates to different parts of the country or even to overseas.

Related work experience in retail, administration, storage, and warehousing can be easily obtained and will be of great help to the candidates. Several large logistics companies have also come up with graduate recruitment schemes but the candidates will have to face tough competition for getting entry into any such schemes. It is also advisable to begin with another area of supply chain like purchasing and retail management and then move from there into logistics.

As a result of the global economic challenge, the logistics companies are expanding their markets in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Far East. Initial roles in the field focus on specific contracts, goods distribution, and managing storehouses and promotion leads to more specialized roles. Business development and overseeing the efficient management of the organization are a few of the senior positions in the field.

The salary usually depends on the experience of the candidate and sometimes on the status of the company. Graduates usually earn somewhere around $28,000 - $42,000 while middle to senior level managers' salaries range from $71,000 to $190,000.

The logistics and distribution manager with their required management and leadership skills coordinate and process a whole lot of information under extreme pressure. As the saying goes for all big ventures, time is considered more valuable than money and the logistics and distribution managers save time in a business and help them make a lot of money too!
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