Logistics managers, often known as supply chain managers or logisticians, oversee activities from the production of goods to the point they reach consumers. Most use computerized systems to keep up with production, track shipments, maintain inventory, and ensure the safe distribution of merchandise. Logistics managers work with production crews, store managers and transportation departments to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the day-to-day flow of information concerning goods. They must have strong organizational skills so they stay current on all aspects of the supply chain.
Ability to Strategize
A top quality for logistics managers is the ability to strategize the most efficient and cost-effective methods for producing and shipping goods. They must allocate supplies, equipment and materials so there is little waste and minimal defects in production. They might examine production methods, compare transportation costs and reduce overhead; they must get expenses as low as possible without compromising the integrity of merchandise or sacrificing expedient deliveries. Logistics managers document and record all aspects of the supply chain so they can carefully review successes and failures and make necessary adjustments.
Logistics managers must be extremely organized so they can keep track of when, where and how goods are being produced and shipped. They are responsible for directing the supply chain so they must be proficient with computer software and technical inventory systems that help them stay on top of daily and weekly production, transportation, inventory, warehousing and delivery demands. Some products, such as food, have expiration dates, so logistics managers can't afford to be disorganized or fall behind schedule when it comes to shipments and distribution.
Strong Communication Skills
Supply chain managers need strong communication skills so each link in the chain stays connected to the others. A logistics manager might communicate with production managers to increase outgo during the holidays or reduce inventory during slow months. He is responsible for contacting transportation managers to when shipments must be rerouted to other branches. Logistics managers negotiate contracts with suppliers and customers to increase sustainability. They must have strong verbal and written skills so they can efficiently send directives by phone, email or fax to others in the supply chain.
A big part of a logistics manager's job is administrative. She must create supply and demand metrics, document expenses, issue production reports, maintain customer-service logs and file training and safety records. Some logistics managers create policies that hold workers along the supply chain accountable for the goods they produce, ship and distribute. Logistics managers report to upper management and must have accurate documentation to show income, outgo, and unexpected costs, and to account for damaged or defective goods.