What Does a Logistics Specialist Do?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore the work duties, skills, and employment prospects of a logistics specialist.

[Featured Image] A logistics specialist meets with employees in a warehouse.

The term “logistics” has traditionally been used to describe the supply of goods to military front lines. Now, in the era of e-commerce, the term pertains to moving commercial goods within the supply chain.

The demand for potent logistics solutions is on the rise. According to Statista, in 2022, the global logistics industry rebounded from the COVID-19 impact, reaching around $10.41 trillion [1]. Statista also estimates that by 2028, the figure will surpass $14.08 trillion.

Read on to understand what it’s like to be a logistics specialist and how to get started in this field.

What is a logistics specialist? 

A logistics specialist directs a company's warehouse operations and supervises shipments and deliveries. Also referred to as logisticians, logistics specialists manage multiple transportation projects concurrently under strict timelines. 

Certain logisticians are part of a company's logistical department, while others are employed by specialized firms, such as those engaged in freight shipping.

What does a logistics specialist do?

Most logistics specialists perform tasks within the confines of a warehouse. If you become a logistics specialist, here are the tasks you will undertake:

  • Conducting research into efficient storage and transport methods 

  • Ensuring the continuity of inventory control systems

  • Scheduling product deliveries

  • Facilitating logistics policies and procedures

  • Establishing and nurturing business ties with both suppliers and clients

You may also rely on custom software to monitor the movement of products within the supply chain, ensuring a seamless flow of raw materials or finished goods. Essentially, your role will require overseeing the entire life cycle of a product, from the initial stage of acquiring the product through the intricate process of allocation to the final leg of ensuring timely and efficient delivery.

Essential skills of a logistics specialist

As a logistics specialist, you'll use your skills in logistics operations, such as inventory, transportation, and warehousing. You'll also find success in your role with skills in project management, math, and customer relations. Essential workplace skills include critical thinking, organization, and communication. The following describes in greater detail some of these crucial technical and workplace skills you will need as a logistics specialist: 

Technical skills

Adept understanding of warehousing

Staying competitive in the dynamic field of logistics requires proficiency in understanding warehouse layouts and mastering warehouse management operations. Your ability to strategically organize storage areas, workstations, and transportation pathways within warehouse layouts significantly influences how goods are stored, accessed, and moved within a facility.

Transportation management 

Tailoring efficient transportation strategies that align with the specific needs of your company necessitates the ability to assess the most suitable modes of transportation, including air, water, or land, based on factors such as speed, cost, and cargo characteristics. Furthermore, your comprehension of traffic laws aids in ensuring compliance with transportation standards.

Workplace skills

Swift problem solving

Problem-solving skills enable you to navigate complexities, such as delays, inventory shortages, or transportation hiccups, ensuring that your firm’s logistics processes continue without significant setbacks.

Effective communication 

Your communication skills come into play when you share information and address any concerns or issues that may arise when handling logistics operations. Your ability to empathize and actively listen, providing practical solutions to team members, goods suppliers, and end customers, contributes to a positive work environment. 

Logistics specialist salary and job outlook

According to multiple job listing sites, the average annual pay for a logistics specialist ranges from $52,812 to $81,133. The following table lists the base pay provided by Salary.com, Payscale, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

Salary.com [2]Payscale [3]Glassdoor [4]Indeed [5]BLS [6]Lightcast™ [7]

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), logisticians are set to see their demand rise by 18 percent from 2022 to 2032 [6]. The projection is an equivalent of approximately 21,800 new job openings per year during the forecast period.

How to become a logistics specialist 

A typical academic requirement for logistics specialists is a bachelor's or an associate degree, held by 43 and 21 percent of professionals, respectively, according to Zippia [7]. Business and supply chain management are among the majors you can choose from when starting.

After completing your degree, you could pursue an entry-level position in warehouses or other roles, such as supply chain planner or logistics analyst, that offer valuable experience in logistics. Note that the standard positions for logistics specialists generally require up to six years of experience in related fields.

Manufacturing industries, wholesale trade sectors, and the federal government are among the major employers of logisticians. 

Logistics certifications to pursue

Certifications can help assess your skills and knowledge in specific areas of logistics. Below are a few notable certifications you can consider to enhance your logistics specialist skills and career:

1. Certified in Planning and Inventory Management 

Offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) as an APICS certification, the Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation equips you with the know-how to tackle risks and unanticipated disruptions in the supply chain.   There are no prerequisites for obtaining the CPIM certification, meaning you can schedule an exam without a degree.

2. Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution  

The Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD), also an APICS certification, validates your distribution and logistics management skills. You will need a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of work experience to attain this certification. Possessing one or more of APICS’ certifications, such as CPIM, CSM, SCOR-P, CTL, and more, makes you eligible for the CLTD examination. 

3. Certified Professional Logistician 

The International Society of Logistics (SOLE) Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) tests your proficiency in all aspects of logistics.  The certification necessitates a bachelor’s degree and five years of work experience in a related field. Should you have a master’s or doctoral degree, you will need four or three years of work experience. 

Get started with Coursera.

Hone your logistics skills with the Supply Chain Logistics course, available on Coursera. Offered by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, this course focuses on the three pillars of logistics: transportation, warehousing, and inventory. You will need approximately eight hours to complete this course. 

You can complement the above course with Inventory Analytics, which is also available on Coursera. Intended for beginners, this course can help you identify inventory problems with hands-on data analytical tools. 

Article sources


Statista. "Logistics industry - market size 2028, https://www.statista.com/statistics/943517/logistics-industry-global-cagr/.” Accessed March 1, 2024.

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