How to Become a Supply Chain and Logistics Manager

How to Become a Supply Chain & Logistics Manager

To become a supply chain and logistics manager, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as supply chain management, general business, or industrial/systems engineering.


You may have to start in an entry-level position if you don’t have relevant work experience, but should be able to climb the ranks quickly enough.


Work in this field would mainly involve monitoring the quality, quantity and cost of the movement and storage of goods on behalf of an organization.


It would generally offer great pay, excellent opportunities for advancement into other roles, and the satisfaction of helping a company increase its efficiency and profitability. 


If supply chain/logistics management sounds like a promising career field so far, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Qualifying for This Career: Required Education

Some employers may hire you on, particularly for entry or mid-level positions if you only have a high school diploma, provided you have at least a year of highly relevant work experience.


However, as logistics become increasingly data-oriented and complex, most employers will require that you have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business, systems engineering, or supply chain management.




Experience You Might Need

Even with a bachelor’s degree, some employers will only hire you on for entry-level work in logistics to start with, but will allow you to quickly climb up the ranks as opportunities become available, if you show competence and dedication in your work.


Fortunately, many degree programs related to supply chain management offer internship and work placement opportunities in exchange for credit and experience; employers might count this as 'relevant work experience'.



Certification You Might Need

Although not required by all employers, certification can help advance you demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of supply chain and logistics. 


Certification can be obtained internationally through APICS or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE), and in Canada through CCIT. Although certification requirements change and vary, you typically need to have a certain amount of education and work experience and pass an exam in order to be certified.



Who Creates Jobs for Supply Chain & Logistics Managers?

You could potentially be employed in almost any industry in this type of role. However, this role typically exists only in larger organizations; in a smaller organization the duties of a supply chain and logistics manager would be shared among other employees. Some examples of common employers of supply chain and logistics managers include:


• Manufacturers (of virtually any type of goods)

• Management and supply chain & logistics consulting firms

• Local, provincial/state or federal government agencies

• Transportation companies

• Large retailers

• Large distribution organizations

• Logistic service providers 

• Service institutions, such as healthcare



Career Advancement Possibilities

There is a wide variety of career advancement opportunities available in this field, if you exhibit competence and motivation in your work. For example, some opportunities may include:


• An increase in pay, commissions or bonuses

• Moving into an executive management role, such as Vice President of Supply Chain

• Moving into a general management role

• Relocating to a larger organization (or smaller, based on preference)

• Becoming a supply chain/logistics or management consultant


Success Tip: Like any job, there would be dull parts of your day, and it may take time before you’re able to take on more dynamic duties and challenges. No matter how mundane some tasks may seem, completing them with enthusiasm will help you move up the ladder much more quickly.





Is This Career Right for You?

To succeed as a supply chain and logistics manager, and to enjoy what you do, you should have the following attributes:


• You're interested in a well-paying, 9-5 office-based career

• You’re interested in earning money by helping organizations save money

• You’re interested in a career that’s very data and process-driven

• You’re willing to perform mundane tasks with vigour and enthusiasm

• You’re willing to be accountable for the results of your team’s efforts

• You’re willing to handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues

• You’re willing to gain a holistic view of your organization by seeking the insights of people outside your immediate realm of activity






Details of This Career: General Job Description

As a supply chain and logistics manager (or ‘logistician’), you would be responsible for coordinating and overseeing the storage and distribution of goods on behalf of your organization. 


This is a very fact and figure based career, and would involve liaising with raw materials suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers in order to manage the movement of goods in the supply chain.



General Job Duties

Although your specific job duties would vary, you could expect to be responsible for the following as a supply chain and logistics manager:


• Monitoring the quality, quantity and cost of the movement and storage of goods

• Analyzing relevant data to monitor supply performance and efficiency

• Planning necessary process improvements

• Allocating and managing human and financial resources as needed

• Liaising and negotiating with suppliers and customers

• Gaining new contacts in order to develop new business and learn about the industry

• Maintaining awareness of changes in technology, legislation, regulations, fuel costs and environmental standards



Typical Salary for Supply Chain & Logistics Managers

The salary level you could earn as a supply chain & logistics manager can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (your level of relevant education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, financial benefits, etc.) 


Supply Chain & Logistics Manager Salary in Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Manufacturing Managers occupational group is $77,300 per year.


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, Supply Chain Managers typically earn between £25,000 and £25,000 per year. With experience, they can earn over £45,000 per year.


Salary in the United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Logisticians occupational group is $74,260 is per year. 


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Typical Work Environment

Working Hours: As a supply chain and logistics manager, you would likely work normal, weekday working hours, with overtime on evenings and weekends required from time to time. Alternatively, you may have to work shift work, as some companies run 24-hour operations.


Work Setting: Your work would normally be office-based, although travel may be required on occasion in order to visit your organization’s other facilities, or visit manufacturing plants or distribution centres.


Working Conditions: Due to the fast-paced nature of the job, work in this field can be stressful. However, it can be fulfilling knowing you’re helping your company reach its goals, whether they’re sales and revenue based goals, or helping healthcare companies save lives by getting critical supplies sourced and delivered faster.



Careers Similar to ‘Supply Chain & Logistics Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Supply Chain & Logistics Manager:


• Industrial Engineer

• Logistics Assistant

• Manufacturing Executive

• Operations Manager

• Purchasing Manager

• Supply Chain Consultant

• Transportation Engineer



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become a Supply Chain & Logistics Manager career guide:


• “Job Profiles: Supply Chain Manager” (n.d.). National Careers Service. Retrieved July 29, 2016.

• “Occupational Outlook Handbook - Logisticians.” (May, 2015). United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 29, 2016.

• “Occupational Profile: Operations Manager.” (n.d.). Alberta Government: Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved July 29, 2016.



Scholarships for Becoming a Supply Chain & Logistics Manager

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a supply chain and logistics manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Business Administration Scholarships

Industrial Engineering Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Supply Chain & Logistics Manager: Applicable Majors

The following majors in our database are relevant for becoming a supply chain and logistics manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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