Logistics is a catch-all term used by businesses to describe the means by which they get their goods or services to market. A logistics analyst studies all aspects of this supply chain, from manufacturing capacities to storage facilities (and, with perishable goods, shelf life) to shipping and distribution. Usually, logistics analysts are employed by larger companies, which charge them with adjusting the supply chain in such a way that it operates at peak efficiency.
A logistics analyst's skills rely on a foundation of high-level mathematics and statistics. The analyst models manufacturing capabilities, quotas, and optimal outputs; they also work with market research and engineering teams to help assess demand by demographic and location. He or she then works with plant managers to help optimize production and with warehouse and storage managers to ensure necessary space is available. Additionally, working with sales departments, the analyst helps optimize the efficiency of bringing goods to either specific customers or the general marketplace.
To work in this field, a specialized bachelor's degree in operations analysis, operations engineering, or a related field. Larger companies are likely to prefer candidates with post-bachelor's degrees in analysis, business management, or a related field as well. Many companies also require three to five years of experience in middle management in logistics systems. Analysts must be organized, able to process information from multiple threads, and be fluent in interdepartmental communication.
The analyst normally works in an office setting regular business hours, although, for many individuals in this field, 50- or 55-hour work weeks are common. There also may be some travel involved for the hands-on assessment of plants, storage, and shipping facilities.
Logistics Analyst Tasks
Collect data from internal and external sources, verifying its accuracy.
Analyze carrier bids, rates, costs, and tariffs to identify savings or best options.
Conduct data mining and data analysis to find trends, patterns and opportunities.
Support negotiations with vendors, carriers and suppliers, providing information and analyses as needed.
Maintain databases, including their structure, input, and accuracy.