What is logistics engineering?
Logistics engineers design and improve the way that goods are transported. They need to balance needs such as:
- Environmental impact
Which considerations are relevant, and which are most important, can vary. For example, an online shopping company might focus on lowering costs so that it can offer its customers free delivery, whereas a charity distributing aid after a natural disaster might be more concerned about speed.
Logistics engineers look at ways of improving every stage of the distribution process. This might include things like:
- Working out whether technologies such as GPS tracking are worth the cost.
- Improving how stock is stored in warehouses and distribution centres.
- Designing ways to measure how effective the distribution system is.
Where do logistics engineers work?
Logistics engineers can work in any industry that needs to move resources efficiently, including:
- Manufacturing: Ensuring that raw materials are available on time and goods are distributed to buyers efficiently.
- Commerce: Ensuring that goods are received from suppliers and sent out to customers without the company running out of stock or spending too much on storage.
- Healthcare: Ensuring that medicines, blood and organ transplants reach patients in time.
- Military: Getting forces, equipment and supplies where they are needed quickly and safely.
They can also work for a consultancy, offering their expertise to a variety of different organizations.
Becoming a logistics engineer
There are no fixed requirements for working in logistics, but a degree will be helpful, especially if it is in a science- or business-related subject. Degrees in logistics and distribution are available at some universities, and are more common at postgraduate level.
Relevant work experience, such as administrative work in a relevant organization or work in a warehouse, will also improve your chances. Once you are in a logistics role, you may be able to gain professional logistics qualifications through your job, which will help your career to progress.
- My job explained: Logistics centre manager
- Working in transport management
- Case study: Process consulting and Sainsbury’s