What Does Logistics Mean in Business?


man working logistics
If you didn’t receive your holiday gifts on time this year or have been waiting for months to get a new refrigerator, you know first-hand the importance of Logistics in business. Logistics is the process of getting the stuff you need, want, and order from where it is to where you are. It is what enables the movement of goods throughout the world in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. It plays a crucial part in the worldwide economy and employs more than 475,000 people in the US throughout the supply chain.

What Is the Supply Chain?

A supply chain begins when a company or an individual places an order with a manufacturer that could be located anywhere in the world. The merchandise is produced and then shipped to its destination via air, water, land, or a combination of all three. A Logistics professional decides what the least expensive method of shipment is in order to receive the goods on time and in good condition. Materials might also be warehoused at a distribution center until they are ready for delivery to a store or an end consumer. The term “supply chain” has been all over the news lately. From the Ever Given clogging the Suez Canal to the impact of the pandemic, the global supply chain has seemed under attack. The labor shortages, high demand for supplies, and shortages of specific parts—like computer chips—have all combined to cause late deliveries throughout the country.

Crossing international borders presents additional challenges. What can and cannot be sold to and from which countries varies. Import duties and export documents differ from country to county. There are also strict regulations for the shipment of hazardous materials, including storage and transportation requirements and special documentation that must accompany the goods. Logistics professionals help keep the supply chain running smoothly despite all these challenges.

Careers in Business Logistics

A career in Logistics can take you in a variety of directions. Here are just a few of the many occupations within Logistics:

  • Import Managers devise ways for a company to save money on import duties. Most goods imported into the U.S. are charged a duty tax known as a tariff. Import managers need to know the classification and rate of each imported product.
  • Export Managers prepare all export documentation and make sure regulations regarding exports to restricted countries are followed.
  • Fleet Managers supervise the drivers, dispatchers, and equipment for all the company-owned or leased motor vehicles. They also negotiate rates with vendors and service providers.
  • Supply Chain Analysts design distribution plans to deliver and receive products in the fastest way at the least possible cost. They may recommend where warehouses should be located, what shipping routes should be taken, and which carriers should be used.
  • Warehouse Managers are responsible for all aspects of receiving, storage, picking, packing, and shipping a company’s products.
  • Hazardous Materials Managers ensure all Department of Transportation regulations are followed when shipping materials that are flammable, poisonous, or have certain chemical properties.
  • Packaging Engineers test, analyze, and select materials for packaging so products can be shipped without breakage or spillage.
  • Licensed Customhouse Brokers clear materials through U.S. Customs by preparing the proper documentation and paying the correct amount of import duty on behalf of their clients.
  • U.S. Customs Officers inspect goods imported into the U.S. to ensure they comply with all import laws and the correct amount of import duties has been paid.

At National American University, we offer an online Associate Degree in Business Logistics that will give you the skills you need to find entry-level work as a Logistics professional. Do you already have some experience or a certificate in a business field? You may be able to transfer those credits to your degree program so you can save both time and money. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or hit learn more to request more information.


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