Logistics and Supply Chain Management Degree

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What is Logistics & Supply Chain Management?

Logistics and Supply Chain Management plays an important role in the production and distribution of goods. Individuals operating as managers in the field are responsible for the procurement of raw materials, the establishment and maintenance of production lines, and the distribution of goods to wholesalers and retailers. Logistics and material management requires an understanding of various markets and how they affect one's field of production, as well as. develop relationships with sellers of raw material as well as distributors in order to  manage costs and increase profit.

Logistics is defined as the precise management and coordination of resources and raw materials in a business.  Job responsibilities for a logistician can include: procurement, shipping & receiving, inventory control, storage, order fulfillment, forecasting, distribution, human resource management, quality control, budgeting, bidding, and resource allocation.

Supply chain management (SCM) is the study of the flow of goods and services to customers.  The flow may entail work-in-process, raw materials, work orders, service contracts, finished goods, and communications management from the initial point of origin through the delivery to the end user.  Supply chain management has roots in logistics, sales, operations management, marketing, systems engineering, industrial engineering, procurement, information systems, manufacturing engineering, distribution, and information technology.

Educational Requirements in Logistics

A degree in logistics and material management will prepare individuals to identify the fastest and most cost effective methods for delivering raw materials or completed goods to their destination. An education in logistics and material management requires individuals to study various aspects of business, including production, coordination and finance. Degrees are available from the associate level on, with a bachelor's degree being the most common for entry level positions in supply chain management. Masters degrees in logistics and material management are often obtained as a specialization of business administration.

A curriculum in logistics and material management may include:

  • Business Law
  • Cross Business Commerce
  • Quality Control
  • Business Management
  • Logistics

What Courses are Involved in Supply Chain Management and Logistics?

While programs can vary from school to school, a typical curriculum for a supply chain management degree will often include the following:

  • Strategic Sourcing & Procurement
  • Business Communications
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Business Process Design
  • Lean Management & Inventory Control
  • International Logistics
  • Operations Planning & Control
  • Information Technology
  • Cost Management
  • Warehousing & Terminal Management
  • Transport Systems & Distribution
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Programming Logic & System Design
  • Network Communication
  • Operations Management
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Supply Chain Security

Best Jobs for Supply Chain Management & Logistics Graduates

The best job for a college graduate in supply chain management and logistics wholly depends on the student.  Each graduate will have their own unique skills, learning style, communication skills, and career aspirations.  That being said, there are a number of industries that supply chain management graduates find themselves gravitating towards based on supply & demand or industry preference.  Examples of industries you may wish to research further as you earn your supply chain management degree include:

  • Government agencies
  • Service organizations
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Production & fabrication entities
  • Retailers & distributors
  • Transportation companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Universities & colleges
  • Third-party logistics firms
  • Technology companies

Why Earn a College Degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management?

While there are many different reasons you may elect to pursue a college degree in supply chain management and logistics, we have compiled a list of common responses from students and working professionals.  The top 5 reasons to consider earning a college degree in logistics and supply chain management are:

  1. Career Mobility – A career in SCM can be a great choice as with substantive career mobility. Think of it this way: companies of all sizes need to manufacture and distribute goods to consumers all over the world.  Supply chain experts are there to ensure products are produced and delivered in the most efficient way possible.
  2. Opportunity – Supply chain management is an arena that does not require a master’s degree to enter the field. In fact, many entry-level positions are available for those without a college degree such as a materials handler, shipping coordinator, and forklift operator.  More advanced jobs such as procurement specialist, operations manager, inventory control specialist, information systems manager, and business analyst will require a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.
  3. Income – According to Payscale, the median annual income for a supply chain manager in the United States is currently $79,285 with an average annual income of $93,000 after ten years of experience. With an advanced degree and/or additional certifications, it is plausible to earn an income in excess of the national average given your work experience and job performance.
  4. International Exposure – Logisticians may be given the opportunity to work with international companies or even work for international companies. Learning about the intricacies of international business and how to successfully navigate unique cultures and social norms can be an exciting challenge for any professional.  Given the scope of the SCM field, it is likely to incorporate international travel into your mix of job responsibilities in an effort to experience international relations first-hand.
  5. Work Variety – The supply chain management industry is as deep as it is wide. Meaning, the dozens of job types is met with the wide variety of sub-disciplines within the sector.  From working with public companies to large multi-national firms to non-profit organizations, a logistician can be involved in a number of industries in a variety of job functions throughout the course of a career.

Professional Certifications for SCM & Logisticians

After earning your college degree in supply chain management and materials management from an accredited college or university, it is important to know there are more challenges ahead.  As an industry expert, you may benefit from the following certifications to enhance your knowledge, round out a set of skills, and increase your take home pay while continuing to work.  A sample of the most popular supply chain management and logistics professional certifications include:

  • CLTD – Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution
  • CPIM – Certified in Production and Inventory Management
  • CSCP – Certified in Supply Chain Professional
  • SCOR-P – Certified in Supply Chain Operations Reference Model
  • CPSM – Certified Professional in Supply Management
  • CPSD – Certified Professional in Supply Diversity
  • SCPro – Supply Chain Professional Certification: Level I, II, & III

Schools Other Students Requested Information From:

Employment Opportunities in Logistics

A supply chain manager must find the cheapest and fastest methods to ship raw materials or finished products. Often such shipments require delivery to multiple locations spread across a large area. The supply chain manager is responsible for identifying the routes and processing the shipments. Additionally, supply chain managers may be responsible for the purchase of raw materials, and must identify the lowest costs, including shipment, to obtain such materials to maintain production.

A recent development, just-in-time production, has resulted in the need for more supply chain managers. Just-in-time production refers to the process by which goods are only produced based on need, and thereby reducing storage costs and limiting the possibility of overproduction. Though just-in-time production has increased the need for supply chain managers, there is already a healthy need for such professionals for business that produce goods.

States with the Highest Number of Logisticians & Supply Chain Managers

  • California  16,530
  • Texas         13,280
  • Michigan    7,500
  • Virginia       7,020
  • Illinois         6,450

Top 5 Best Paying States for Logisticians & Supply Chain Managers

  1. District of Columbia    $100,440
  2. Maryland                         $89,490
  3. Alabama                           $87,870
  4. Alaska                               $87,050
  5. California                         $86,520

Largest Employers of Supply Chain Managers & Logisticians

  • Federal Government      27,090
  • Consulting                        15,480
  • Scientific & Technical     11,520
  • Aerospace                           9,770
  • Computer Systems           5,250

Job Growth, Salary, and Related Logistics Fields

Logistics and material managers are expected to be in high demand, with increases in positions over the next decade due to increasing production and transportation costs and the need for professionals to keep such costs at a minimum while maintaining quality and meeting demand. The average salary of someone involved in supply chain management is $74,170 per year, but will vary based on position, experience, and geographic location.

Individuals interested in logistics and material management may also be interested in business administration, transportation, industrial mechanics, transportation management, industrial technology, operations management, or customer service management.

Additional Resources for Supply Chain Management & Logistics Students

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Career Summary: Logistics and supply chain management Major




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