Exploring this Job
Participate in professional associations to network with others and learn about potential career opportunities. Find information about upcoming events and conferences, as well as job listings, by visiting the Web sites of organizations such as APICS (http://www.apics.org) and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (https://cscmp.org). Read industry publications, such as Logistics Management magazine (https://www.logisticsmgmt.com), for industry news, blogs, webcasts, and other useful information. Logistics Management provides news on third-party logistics, global trade, sustainability, as well as transportation, technology, and warehouse management.
Another way to explore this profession while gaining experience and making helpful connections is through an internship or part-time job in a logistics department of a corporation or manufacturing facility. Ask the career services office at your school for help with the job search. You can also conduct your own employment search by visiting the career sections of companies' Web sites.
Success for many businesses depends on reliable supply chains. The correct amounts of raw materials must be available at the start of production or workers and equipment may stand idle. When finished products roll out of factories and production facilities, transportation must be ready to move them to warehouses and distribution facilities, to get them to the consumer. Disruptions or delays cost companies more money and can lead to losses, including decreased consumer demand. Logistics engineers evaluate these steps and make recommendations and design logistics plans to help companies improve their operations.
Logistics engineers apply scientific and mathematical engineering principles to design more efficient production and distribution operations and systems for companies. They evaluate various aspects of supply chain operations, including inventory management, how orders are processed, distribution, transportation, and the environment in which goods and products are produced and stored. They develop streamlined processes, which can include planning the warehouse layout and making recommendations for product packaging designs that will improve shipping efficiency.
Logistics engineers have strong knowledge of business practices and an understanding of the relationship between suppliers, distributors, and customers. Their work helps to ensure that the production and distribution process flows smoothly, from the point of product acquisition through to delivery to consumers. They work closely with other engineers, logistics analysts, production managers, distributors, and other related professionals.
Their work entails evaluating and creating solutions that help companies optimize their transportation methods, shipping and routing, information management, and contain costs. They use various software programs to gather and analyze information and create reports and presentations. Some of the programs they use include: analytical or scientific software such as ITEM ToolKit; development environment software such as Microsoft Visual Basic or Prolog; enterprise resource planning software like Oracle Hyperion and SAP; materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software like JDA Manugistics; and project management software such as Microsoft SharePoint and Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management.