Online Logistics Degree Programs Teach Supply & DemandIf large-scale organization comes naturally to you, consider an online logistics degree. Operations and logistics professionals are the masterminds behind the scenes of businesses that create smooth operations and consistent delivery of services. Logistics is a part of supply chain management, which is the entire process of a product's manufacturing and distribution. Logistics focuses solely on how raw materials or finished products are transported or distributed from one location to another.

Online operations and logistics degrees train students to find efficient and practical ways to purchase, track, store and transport goods. Logistics graduates analyze current processes and develop better methods for delivery. Many different industries hire logistics experts and increasing marketplace globalization will only create more opportunities.

THE CAREER PATH

Logistics and operational professionals are often considered top executives, who specialize in coordinating the many different daily operations and logistical activities that go into the lifecycle of a product or service. The goal of the best logistical and operational professionals is to create solutions that allow their organization to maximize their operational and supply-chain efficiency. They often work with the details that bring together the work of the many other departments in an organization.

The BLS separates the role of operations and logistics professionals into slightly different categories, with a focus on two different types of processes:

  • Logistics – Logistics professionals are primarily concerned with the system that moves products from supplier to consumer, commonly known as the “supply-chain” of an organization. The supply-chain often includes variables such as transportation, warehousing, distribution, forecasting, and allocation. With a growing focus on environmental consciousness, these professionals are also often responsible for integrating sustainable processes for their organizations within their job duties. Depending on the size and scope of an organization, logistics professionals may play varying roles that all require a similar set of skills and knowledge.
    • Logistics Managers typically provide oversight for logistical operations and perform tasks that may include:
      • Negotiating with customers or suppliers to improve supply-chain efficiency and sustainability
      • Implementing transportation changes to reduce environment impact
      • Developing risk management programs to ensure continuity of supply in emergency scenarios
         
    • Logistics Analysts are most commonly responsible for analyzing product delivery and supply-chain processes to identify and recommend improvements. The professional duties of analysts involve:
      • Tracking the flow of products from origin to delivery
      • Consulting logistics managers to determine options to optimize service levels, efficiency, and minimize costs
      • Developing and maintaining logistic tools for establishing organizational guidelines such as cost estimating or demand forecasting
         
    • Logistics Engineers typically are the creative minds behind projects related to transportation optimization, network modeling, process and methods analysis, cost containment, capacity enhancement, routing and shipment optimization, an information management. They create solutions by applying their skills to:
      • Design comprehensive supply-chains that minimize environment impacts and cost
      • Provide logistics technology and information for effective and efficient support of products, equipment, system manufacturing, and services
      • Determine logistics support requirements including facility demands, staffing needs, safety and maintenance
         
  • Operations – Rather than focusing on the processes that bring products and services to consumers, operations professionals are concerned with the processes that make the manufacturing of products and services possible. Operations professionals may be the more traditional image that comes to mind when describing top executives. They tend to be responsible for the activities that occur closer to the beginning of a product’s life cycle, such as the production, marketing, and sales.
    • Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are two of the more familiar types of operations professionals. Examples of types of tasks that operations professionals may perform include:
      • Establishing and implementing organizational goals, policies, and procedures;
      • Coordinating with department managers to set prices, credit terms, sales promotions, and policies;
      • Directing sales, marketing, and customer service activities;
      • Managing ongoing environmental sustainability projects.

Careers in operations and logistics are highly competitive and typically require professionals to earn a network and many years of professional experience in order to qualify for top-level and management positions. Logistics careers specifically are expected to grow at a much slower rate than the national average, with the demand for qualified operations professionals expected to grow only slightly faster than that. 

Manufacturers, the U.S. military, wholesalers and consulting agencies all hire logistics graduates. Job opportunities exist in customer service, inventory control, warehousing, purchasing and transportation. Entry-level positions tend to narrowly focus on one of these options, but management gigs could include all aspects.

Online logistics degree program graduates can expect a highly rewarding career. Logistics professionals make an average income of more than $70,000 each year, and many operations managers make upwards of $100,000 annually!

WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?

Operations and logistics professionals are the reasons that all the shelves stay stocked at the local grocery store, and they put together a plan that lets your Amazon order arrive on your doorstep in 2-5 days. From the hiring of employees who make our favorite products, to the trucks and planes that bring those products to us, operations and logistics professionals put the puzzle pieces together to create a thriving economic network for businesses and organizations.

Professionals who are ready to dive into the science and statistics that drive sustainable businesses are going to do very well in the field of operations and logistics. These types of careers often demand professionals to have an understanding of the details of daily operations that are commonly overlooked in other management positions. As logistics requires critical thinking and problem-solving, engineers often enjoy this degree major. Additionally, those who can see the big picture and enjoy organizing tend to do well in this transportation major. 
 
Logistics professionals tend to rely heavily on their understanding of engineering, technology, transportation, and software, while operations positions require a focus on customer and personal service and personnel. Professionals can choose an appropriate career in this field that suits their particular strengths and goals.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?

Logistics degrees online are offered at numerous degree levels, but are most commonly found as bachelor's programs as positions in operations and logistics management consistently require a bachelor’s degree or more from competitive applicants. Programs will cover economics, finance and accounting, as well as statistics, so number-crunchers will flourish in this field. Expect courses like Sustaining Operations, Logistics Management, Application of Statistics in Business, and Marketing Principles.

Certificates and master's degrees are geared for working professionals who wish to increase their logistics training. For additional credibility, consider certification through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL), the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). Applicants must pass a test, earn specific education course credits and have worked in the field of logistics or operations for a period of time.

COST

It’s important for developing professionals to look into all of their options for getting the best professional education, since the average cost of any online bachelor's in business is just under $50,000. An online master's in business generally costs between $20,000 and $30,000.

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