A Day in the Life of a Transportation Manager
It’s important to note that the daily routines and pace differ for transportation managers in different industries. They are responsible for managing the frenetic pace of monitoring, executing and optimizing transportation schedules, routes, and logistics. For instance, a transportation manager in the food and bev industry is much more beholden to the whims of raw materials than someone managing large distribution centers with office supplies. Both require a thorough understanding of the logistics of transportation, but one is less dependent on raw materials – like whether a produce crop took a hit because of weather.
The role is a balance of planning and execution. On a given day, you are balancing time looking forward to developing effective routes for future days and ensuring capacity for future weeks while addressing execution challenges in real-time. The most important day-to-day task is to deliver what’s wanted, when it’s wanted without sacrificing the integrity of the product. Obviously, this is easier said than done and involves the monitoring and management of a vast array of different logistical hurdles, any one of which can derail this objective. The ultimate dance for the transportation manager is to balance cost and service. Finding that sweet spot can ensure that people get what they want when they want it in a way that maintains margins necessary for optimal operation.
Just as with the supply chain writ large, the Transportation Manager should be prepared for disaster to strike. Natural disasters can be the most common – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, or lately – a pandemic. It’s normal everyday business for a transportation manager to expect to problem solve for these types of issues. Being ready for it is the key and always having contingencies and redundancies in place will make for a much smoother day-to-day operation.
Typical Working Conditions for a Transportation Manager
Working this job means bouncing between the office, warehouse, and distribution center. However, communication devices are never far off. Getting the most up-to-date information on any and everything that can – and will – disrupt a shipment or delivery is crucial to managing expectations up and down the line. While they will be consulting these schedules, making use of transportation management software, and communicating with all relevant parties in real-time, they also have to ensure proper and adequate safety protocols are being followed en route and at the various facilities. Sometimes this involves being onsite and hands-on.
- Online routing guide
- Transportation Management System
- Transportation planning software
- Load posting software
Transportation Manager Salary Range and Education Requirements
Typical salary range is about $80,000 – $120,000. Education, experience, direct reports, location, and certifications will have a bearing on this range.
Typical requirements include a bachelor’s degree in business, logistics, supply chain management, or a related field. During your education for transportation management, you should focus on courses in these subject areas to gain as much relevant knowledge as possible.