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What Do Engineering Leaders Need to Know About Logistics and Supply Chain Management?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become apparent to business leaders that a stable and efficient supply chain is critical to almost every large business’s success. According to a survey by EY, making supply chains more resilient and efficient is a top-of-mind priority for business leaders. If you’re an engineer, particularly an industrial engineer, then this presents a huge opportunity.

By expanding your knowledge base to encompass logistics and supply chain management (SCM), you can align your strengths with your company’s priorities and make yourself indispensable as an employee. You can gain an in-depth understanding of these topics in the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Engineering Management program from Henderson State University (HSU).

What Are Logistics and Supply Chain Management?

The terms “logistics” and “SCM” are often used interchangeably. After all, a supply chain is perhaps the best example of logistics in action. That said, there are subtle, significant differences between the two.

Logistics is a small piece of the supply chain and encompasses the movement and storage of goods along the chain. On the other hand, SCM is much more comprehensive and includes activities like sourcing, manufacturing, transporting, storing and selling materials or goods. You can think of logistics as the chain on a bike, while SCM includes the chain, pedals, tires and handlebars.

According to EY’s survey of senior-level supply chain executives, reskilling supply chain workers and improving efficiency is a massive priority. For industrial engineers or those aspiring to enter this field, this puts you in a unique position to learn new skills already in high demand. Additionally, for existing employees, your experience will give you a leg up over younger people looking to enter the workforce.

A specific example of how to do this is by pursuing a career as a logistics engineer.

What Is Logistics Engineering?

A logistics engineer specializes in optimizing and managing the flow of goods, information and resources within a supply chain. As the name implies, they work closely with logistics and SCM to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance operations. They typically work in all supply chain areas, including transportation, warehousing, inventory management and distribution.

A logistics engineer is commonly responsible for processes like:

  • Supply chain analysis
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Process optimization
  • Network design
  • Inventory management

Pursuing a career as a logistical engineer, as opposed to broader types of engineering, can help present you as an expert in that space. This benefits new hires looking to enter the workforce and seasoned pros looking to increase their earning power or responsibilities. Along with this specialization comes the ability to command higher rates for your work.

According to Glassdoor, logistics engineers can earn between $74,000 and $119,000, with an average salary of $93,391 (as of September 2022). However, these numbers will likely increase in the next few years as supply chain optimization is increasingly prioritized.

Unique Educational Requirements

Logistical engineering requires a blend of education requirements and experience. To start, this profession usually requires at least a bachelor’s in engineering or a related field. However, those who pursue an advanced degree such as an MBA will have a leg up over others in their field.

It also helps if you have a background in logistics, SCM, transportation or procurement. If you haven’t had a chance to gain experience, pursuing an MBA can be a valuable option. This is because MBA programs typically implement case studies and mock exercises, which many managers view as an acceptable alternative to real-world experience. It also proves that you can connect engineering and supply chain issues with the broader scope of the business.

In particular, some MBA programs, such as HSU’s online MBA with a concentration in Engineering Management, offer specialization for those interested in this unique career path. HSU’s program also includes highly relevant courses such as:

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management: This course explores the primary tradeoffs in making supply chain decisions, production planning and inventory control, order fulfillment and basic tools for effective and efficient SCM.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management II: This course explores global supply chain design, logistics, outsourcing and other recent innovations.

Overall, this MBA program will help build on your business foundation, especially regarding logistics and SCM. Students can complete this fully online program in as few as 14 months.

Learn more about Henderson State University’s online MBA with a concentration in Engineering Management program.

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