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Logistics and distribution manager: Job description

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Logistics and distribution managers organise the storage and distribution of goods. Essentially they need to ensure the right products are delivered to the right location on time and at a good cost. They may be involved in transportation, stock control, warehousing and monitoring the flow of goods.

A logistics and distribution manager needs to have an understanding of the whole supply chain so they can co-ordinate it effectively and liaise with suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

IT plays a big part in the role as IT systems and electronic communication methods are used to keep track of stock levels, delivery times, transport costs and performance evaluation. Logistics is at the centre of electronic commerce (e-commerce) which is developing all the time.

Logistics and distribution managers must also be aware of external influences such as legislation, fuel costs and environmental pressures. They will always need to be considering how business development can fit with sustainability. 

Typical work activities

Responsibilities vary according to the specific job role and whether the employing company is a manufacturer, retailer or specialist service provider (e.g. in third party logistics (3PL)).

A range of business tasks is undertaken to support the smooth and efficient operation of supply chain processes, and tasks usually include:

  • monitoring the quality, quantity, cost and efficiency of the movement and storage of goods;
  • coordinating and controlling the order cycle and associated information systems;
  • analysing data to monitor performance and plan improvements and demand;
  • allocating and managing staff resources according to changing needs;
  • liaising and negotiating with customers and suppliers;
  • developing business by gaining new contracts, analysing logistical problems and producing new solutions.

When managing warehouse or transport staff, the role may also include:

  • implementing health and safety procedures;
  • managing staff training issues;
  • motivating other members of the team;
  • project management;
  • setting objectives.

More senior roles in logistics may involve:

  • planning projects;
  • working on  new supply strategies;
  • planning vehicle routes;
  • using specialist knowledge, such as mechanical-handling systems, to provide consultancy services.
Written by AGCAS editors
July 2012

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