Logistician Definition and 10 Facts About Pros Who Keep the Supply Chain Humming


You may have heard the words supply chain or logistics, but a logistician definition (say that three times fast) is a little more complicated. These professionals aanalyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer.

Logisticians manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, allocated, and delivered. This is an enterprising job that requires a mind for business, which the INTP personality type has.

See This Week’s Logistician Jobs

1. Logisticians Manage Getting Products to People Who Need Them

  • Manage a product’s life cycle from design to disposal
  • Direct the allocation of materials, supplies, and products
  • Develop business relationships with suppliers and clients
  • Understand clients’ needs and how to meet them
  • Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
  • Propose strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods

Logisticians oversee activities that include purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing.

They may direct the movement of a range of goods, people, or supplies, from common consumer goods to military supplies and personnel.

2. They Have to Use Software Systems.

Logisticians use software systems to plan and track the movement of products. They operate software programs designed specifically to manage logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.

3. Manufacturing is a Major Employer of Logisticians

Logisticians held about 174,900 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of logisticians were as follows:

Federal government18
Professional, scientific, and technical services16
Management of companies and enterprises10
Wholesale trade9

Logisticians work in almost every industry. Some logisticians work in the logistical department of a company, and others work for firms that specialize in logistical work, such as freight-shipping companies.

The job can be stressful because logistical work is fast-paced. Logisticians must ensure that operations stay on schedule, and they must work quickly to solve any problems that arise. Some logisticians travel to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.


4. You’ll Need a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Systems Engineering, or Supply Chain Management.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs. In some cases, related work experience may substitute for education. Industry certification is helpful for jobseekers.

Logisticians may qualify for some positions with an associate’s degree. However, due to complex logistics and supply chains, companies prefer to hire workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many logisticians have a bachelor’s degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management.

Bachelor’s degree programs often include coursework in operations and database management, and system dynamics. In addition, most programs offer courses that train students on software and technologies commonly used by logisticians, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID).

5. Certification Can Give You An Advantage

Although not required, certification can demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of logistics. Logisticians can obtain certification through APICS or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). To become certified, a logistician typically needs to meet education and work experience requirements and pass an exam.

There are several certifications available from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). These certifications are required for Department of Defense acquisitions. 

6. Critical Thinking and Communication Top the Soft Skills List.

Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.

Critical-thinking skills. Logisticians must develop, adjust, and carry out logistical plans. They often must find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Customer service skills. Logisticians must know the needs of their customers in order to coordinate the movement of materials between suppliers and customers. They gain this knowledge through listening to the customer and applying their knowledge of the products and systems to provide what is required.

Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to keep detailed records and simultaneously manage several projects in a fast-paced environment.

Problem-solving skills. Logisticians must handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues.

7. Half of Logisticians Make More Than $74,000 in Salary.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,950.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government$85,610
Management of companies and enterprises74,210
Professional, scientific, and technical services72,700
Wholesale trade66,440

8. You Can Expect Average Growth of This Occupation.

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 5 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven, in part, by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy.

Overall job opportunities should be good because of employment growth and the need to replace the logisticians who are expected to retire or otherwise leave the occupation. Prospects should be best for candidates who have previous experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.

9. Visit These Websites to Find Out More About Being a Logistician


Defense Acquisition University

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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