Operations management programs teach aspiring business managers and specialists the principles of effective daily operations management for businesses or organizations. Because this can include elements of a diverse range of business disciplines (accounting, public relations, sales, etc), good programs teach a broad, generalized curriculum that incorporates many business subfields.

Logistics is an important specialization in operations management. The profit margin of a goods-producing company is often dependent on the efficiency of its logistics – generally its supply chain and sales and distribution system. Logistics management programs teach students how to effectively oversee and streamline those chains, which often reach around the globe.

Together, operations and logistics managers fulfill the most essential consulting and management functions of any company.

Operations and Logistics Management Career Opportunities

Related Careers: Operations and Logistics Specialists, Managers, and Consultants

Experience in the field and completion of an operations and logistics management post-secondary degree may qualify graduates for a wide range of attractive positions.

Completion of an operations and logistics management associate's or bachelor's degree may qualify candidates for entry-level positions as administrative services managers – managing the daily operations of smaller businesses.

Experienced professionals who earn a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree (depending on the extent of their work experience) may be qualified for lucrative and in-demand consulting and analysis positions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 259,400 working administrative services managers in 2008. The field is expected to add 32,300 new positions over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 291,700 positions. That's a 12% growth rate, about the same as the average for all occupations and slightly higher than the 8.2% expected expansion of the entire civilian workforce.

Job growth for administrative service managers will be slightly higher than predicted expansion of the civilian workforce over 10 years.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real job opportunities for administrative service workers will be better than that modest occupational growth: according to the Occupational Information Network, there will be 86,000 positions open to qualified administrative services managers from 2008 to 2018. That figure includes the 32,000 new positions predicted by theBLS AND existing positions vacated by retirement, career change, termination, etc.

Opportunities for operations and logistics consultants and analysts are expected to be strong as well, especially for 3rd party consultants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were about 1 million professional consultants in 2008. That figure will nearly double over 10 years, adding 837,000 new jobs for a 2018 total of around 1.85 million jobs. That 84% growth rate is one of the fastest for any occupation in the US. Despite the massive growth, high earnings will make positions very competitive - 73% of consultants have a bachelor's degree or higher.

Within the field, there are number of different specializations, including those most applicable to operations and logistics management graduates:

  • Administrative management and general management consulting services offer advice and guidance on an organization's routine operations, employee development, strategic planning, and overall management.
  • Process, physical distribution and logistics consulting services work to ensure that an organization's products are produced and distributed effectively. These consultants also offer advice on order processing, inventory control, and possible manufacturing improvements.
Consulting professionals will have the highest growth rate of any BLS occupation from 2008 to 2018, over 80%.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the BLS, there were 63,000 operations research analysts in 2008. Like consultants, operations research analysts work to increase efficiency in a company's operations, but operations research analysts focus entirely on the numbers – they use complex mathematical models and algorithms to analyze sometimes massive systems.

As more businesses focus on efficiency in a lean market, the field is expected to add 13,900 new jobs for a 2018 total of 76,900 operations research analysts. That's a 22% growth rate, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Operations research analysts will experience an occupation growth rate of 22%, much faster than the average for all occupations.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Operations and logistics management graduates at the master's or doctoral level are often qualified for positions as management analysts, another Bureau of Labor Statistics group that is expected to experience a robust growth rate.

According to the BLS, there were 746,900 management analysts in 2008. Driven by the needs of businesses to remain viable in lean, oversaturated, and competitive markets, the field is expected to add 178,300 new positions over 10 years, for a 2018 total of 925,200 positions. That's a 24% growth rate, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Management Analysts are predicted to experience a robust 24% growth rate, much faster than average for all occupations and the predicted 8.2% expansion of the civilian workforce over the same time period.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real job opportunities for qualified candidates in all operations and logistics-related management and consulting fields will be even better than those robust growth rates. The Occupational Information Network combines new jobs and a prediction of the number of existing positions that will be vacated by retirement, career change, termination, etc.

According to the Occupational Information Network, there will be:

  • 86,600 job openings for administrative services managers
  • 32,200 job openings for operations research analysts
  • 306,500 job openings for management analysts

Operations and Logistics Management Earnings

Earnings for operations and logistics professionals vary by education, experience, and employer, but earnings across the board are very high with median annual wages for all occupations approaching or surpassing $70,000.

According to the BLS, administrative services managers earned annual median wages of $73,520 in 2008. The middle 50% of the field made between $52,240 and $98,980, while the bottom 10% earned less than $37,430 and the top 10% earned more than $129,770.

Operations research analysts made an annual median of $69,000 in 2008, according to the BLS. The middle 50% of the field earned between $51,780 and $92,920, while the bottom 10% earned less than $40,000 and the top 10% earned more than $118,130.

According to the BLS, management analysts earned an annual median of $73,570 in 2008. The middle 50% of the field earned between $54,890 and $99,700, while the bottom 10% made less than $41,910 and the top 10% made more than $133,850.

Earnings for operations and logistics professionals were much higher than national median wages in 2008.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Operations and Logistics Management Educational Benefits

For most entry-level operations and logistics professionals, a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, though some candidates with excellent work experience may be qualified by an associate's degree.

For higher-level jobs and jobs as analysts and consultants, most employers prefer to hire candidates with operations and logistics master's and doctoral degrees, or graduate degrees in related fields like accounting or finance.

Because of the competitiveness of the job market, many professionals pursue professional certification. For example, the Institute of Management Consultants USA offers certification to consultants (typically management consultants) who meet education and experience requirements, pass a number of examinations and successfully complete an interview. This designation requires the recipient to receive recertification every three years.

Although certifications are not usually required, it allows the recipient to showcase additional credentials, which are often helpful in such an education and experience-dependent field.

Whatever the degree level, business operations and logistics programs include a broad range of humanities, mathematics, and social science coursework, usually including accounting, statistics, finance, management, and advanced mathematics courses.

Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services Programs Online

Degrees Possible: Associate's Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Degrees

Because the management, scientific and technical consulting field encompasses such a broad range of specializations, there are many related online programs besides specific "organizational and logistics management" degrees. Other popular, related fields include business administration, finance, and accounting.

Because experience and education are the two most important variables that employers consider, online degrees are generally well-suited to industry professionals who are able to continue their full-time work experience while furthering their educational credentials.

The best online operations and logistics management degrees provide an education as good as one pursued at a local ground school, in a more flexible format that may be easier for working students. As with all expensive and important educational decisions, do your research when choosing an online business operations and logistics degree program at any level. Is the school accredited? Do credits transfer? What are people saying about this program specifically and this school in general? You'll be able to find the answers to many of these questions on this network of Web sites, but don't be afraid to ask your admissions counselor pointed questions.

Operations and Logistics Management Skills and Abilities

Business operations and logistics managers often work in first-line supervisory roles; they should demonstrate strong leadership, communication, and organizational skills in working with their subordinates to maximize the efficiency of their business's daily operations and supply chain.

Logistics is a numbers-driven field; logistics managers especially, but also operations managers, should have excellent quantitative reasoning, accounting, and problem-solving skills. They often analyze a massive amount of data from around the world, so active reading and analytical skills are very helpful.

3rd party consultants and analysts must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills; the nature of their business necessitates that they quickly establish cordial working relationships with the managers and executives that rely on them.

Because both operations and logistics managers and consultants analyze digital data, with the assistance of sophisticated computer systems, technology skills are a definite benefit for many positions.

Additional Information

The Association of Management Consulting Firms maintains a Web site at http://www.amcf.org.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences maintains a Web site at http://www.informs.org.