Last mile delivery

Logistics Operations Manager: Role, Tools & Best Practices

Logistics Operations Manager: Role, Tools & Best Practices

Who is a Logistics Operations Manager?

Delivery managers are often referred to as logistics operations managers.

They are in charge of planning and coordinating in the delivery services industry.

Usually they supervise a large logistics staff to monitor supply chain processes.

Those processes include warehousing, inventory, transportation, customer service, analyzing logistics reports, etc.

In other words, they are involved in all phases of logistics operations - from warehousing to last-mile delivery.

Logistics operations managers are usually individuals with a knack for leadership and organization.

They often come from a university background holding a degree in supply chain management, logistics and transportation, or engineering.

What Does a Logistics Operations Manager Do?

More often than not, “logistics” translates to “transport.”

That is why a logistics operations manager role is necessary for the delivery service industry. 

But today’s logistics manager’s duties extend beyond fleet management. They oversee the end-to-end logistics process.

From procurement of raw material, transportation and proper storage, efficient use in production, all the way to the product delivery to the end-user.

In their everyday work, logistics managers often find themselves organizing the staff, putting out fires that pop up along the way, and negotiating with suppliers and other partners.

During it all, managers pay attention to the cost-effectiveness of the process.

The act of balancing cost-effectiveness also means paying attention to the timeliness of the deliveries and the satisfaction of customers.

To achieve this, logistics professionals follow the newest technology trends in their field. They strive to equip their staff with modern software for delivery management.

The 13 Key Roles of a Logistics Operations Manager

An operations and logistics manager has wide-spanning responsibilities.

In general terms, they:

  • Oversee the logistics and delivery lifecycle
  • Manage employees
  • Focus on technical improvements in processes
  • Tackle customer satisfaction

Here are the key roles they take on in a logistics and delivery service company:

  • Managing and developing the warehouse team
  • Managing dispatchers and drivers
  • Developing the fleet
  • Ensuring orders are shipped via cost-effective and time-efficient routes
  • Focusing on seamless delivery service to customers
  • Making sure quality and quantity in terms of raw materials and products are met
  • Developing strategies to streamline operations and bring up the cost-effectiveness
  • Creating and managing budgets
  • Focusing on task fulfillment
  • Making sure customer satisfaction is improving
  • Performing report and data analysis to spot problem areas and chances for operations improvements
  • Cultivate relationships and negotiate with manufacturers, vendors, suppliers, and customers
  • Ensuring operations adhere to regulations, guidelines, and ISO requirements

These tasks usually put the operations manager in middle management.

What Are the Top 3 Skills of a Logistics Operations Manager?

According to ZipRecruiter, these are the three most often-mentioned skills in job descriptions for logistics operations managers:

  • Customer service
  • Communication skills
  • Supply chain experience

Let’s dive into these in more detail:

Customer Service

Logistics is yet another one of the industries where the adage “The customer is always right” stands.

Even more so now when the benchmark for “fast delivery” has been distorted. According to Statista’s findings for 2022, 41 percent of global shoppers answered that they wish for their order to arrive within 24 hours.

That is one of the reasons why good customer service in a vital skill for delivery and logistics management.

Cultivating customer relationships through prompt and efficient deliveries helps the company scale up and stay competitive.

That is why hiring a logistics operations manager with a knack for customer service is a great business investment.

Communication Skills

Logistics management needs to promote effective communication across the whole operations chain.

The communication skills managers need to have woven into them are:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Being specific without getting stuck on details
  • Active listening
  • Body language reading
  • Empathy
  • Mediation
  • Restraint
  • Tactfulness

After all, delivery professionals need to communicate (sometimes daily) with a spectrum of 

people. From customers, drivers, suppliers, product carriers to top management.

An effective manager will keep close contact with these connections and strive to network even further.

All of this has the goal of optimizing supply chain operations.

Supply Chain Experience

It takes skill and a hefty track record to become a delivery manager who sees the whole picture and zoom in on its details.

While logistics managers do not handle everything themselves, they should know enough about each step.

An understanding of the delivery journey allows delivery managers to perform the role better by bearing in mind the risks, often-seen problem areas, and opportunities for innovation.

That way, they can do their job more strategically and help the company grow.

Without going into detail, we’ll list the three skills ZipRecruiter found to be often found in job descriptions:

  • Innovation
  • Compliance
  • Auto-delivery

And how much are you to be paid for utilizing these skills in a logistics operations role?

What Is a Logistics Job Salary?

The website Glassdoor states that the median annual total pay, in the United States, for a mid-level logistics manager is $67,267.

But the numbers on Glassdoor paint an optimistic picture of the career trajectory - the salary for a senior logistics manager is listed at $98,130 annually.

Challenges of a Logistics Operations Role

There are quite a few challenges a logistics manager needs to deal with. Here are some of the key ones:

Scrambled Communications

With the logistics sector being fragmented, it takes a streamlined system to ensure messages and information don’t get lost along the way.

As many companies expanded their operations over new markets, they started to deal with people in different time zones. As the number of people involved in the supply chain grew, along with the number of time zones, transparency grew in importance.

It became clear how important it was to have an oversight of the business operations so clear that knots in communication are easier to unscramble.

Even today, operations managers deal with schedule changes, demand, inventory, etc.

The managers don’t always have the tools for restoring and restructuring a scrambled logistics network. That becomes even harder when you calculate growing costs or slow growth.

Complying with Hours of Service

The US government clearly defines the maximum time drivers are allowed to be on duty and en route.

Drivers must have breaks of a minimum of 30 minutes after eight cumulative hours of driving time. More details are specified in the Hours of Service (HOC) Regulations.

When chasing customer loyalty and trying to win the race against a growing and increasingly competitive delivery sector, it’s easy to use the site of HOS.

Manually planning logistics operations can leave many delivery managers with unintentional slips in calculating breaks and tracking driving time. Not only does this firmly go against HOS regulations, but it also directly endangers your drivers and anyone they encounter on the road.

Fuel Costs

As logistics operations managers focus a lot on cost-effectiveness, they naturally struggle with the rising fuel costs in recent years.

Fuel prices are a clear logistical issue to be dealt with. They are cutting into revenue and driver earnings.

Consolidating shipments is one pain point of logistics managers dealing with cost balance.

And here is where the challenges become tied into one another - faulty communication further brings your operations down because communicating with carriers is vital. They can help manage expenses.

Providing Good Customer Service

You may think that customer expectations are far too high these days. No matter what you think, the reality is that people expect everything to happen instantly in today’s age.

And that extends to delivery (especially delivery tracking), too. Customers demand to know where their package is at any given moment, and they want to know the most precise possible estimated time of arrival (ETA).

While you may think that providing a fast shipping option will ease their minds - think again. 

Customers expect fast delivery to be a given.

The customers are growing increasingly impatient, as well. So if you’re not quick to mold to their expectations, they can move on quickly to another service provider.

How does Modern Software help Manage Delivery Services and Optimize Operations?

Here’s how modern software like eLogii can help someone in a delivery manager role.

Intuitive Software Dashboard for Better Driver Tracking

Delivery management software such as eLogii helps logistics operations managers track drivers across that crucial last mile of delivery.

eLogii’s key to success is an intuitive dashboard. The main control panel also contains a virtual map of the delivery area.

In just a few clicks, you can view:

  • Fleet driver IDs
  • Locations
  • Routes
  • Stops
  • Time per stop
  • Time of arrival and departure
  • ETAs
  • Status of delivery

The virtual map provides a color-coded view of the routes and pins representing the drivers and their stops, as well as warehouses, depot hubs, and more.

API Integration for Improving Operations

APIs let your delivery management software communicate with other apps.

Modern delivery management software allows you to plug it in with many other third-party apps, thanks to API.

That way, you don’t have to switch between multiple apps to complete a delivery. You can do multiple tasks on one platform.

All while using the benefits of previous apps and platforms you’ve used for your delivery operations.

Meaning API integration is the main accelerator for streamlining operations.

By integrating the delivery management software with other apps, APIs combine planning, scheduling, dispatching, and order execution.

There are a lot of additional software solutions that help oversee the delivery service:

  • Order management systems (OMS)
  • eCommerce platforms
  • Warehouse management systems
  • Telematics systems
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems

API integration is possible with all of them.

The higher delivery tracking visibility APIs offer leaves less space for bottlenecks.

Automation for Saving Time and More Visibility

Speaking of visibility, the main thing you get from state-of-the-art delivery management software is automation.

With a dynamic industry such as service providing and delivery management, you need to respond fast to changes.

Doing so manually isn’t as painless and can scramble a lot of schedules.

Implementing automation, on the other hand, means changes are solved with one tool and with lightning speed. Dispatch managers and logistics managers don’t even need to deal with the problem themselves.

They just get notified of the problem spot and its offered solution.

Automated dispatch also ends up saving time, as it shares information and schedules with drivers via text or email. No more direct calls and downtime.

To be more exact, you can save up to 15 minutes each day per vehicle if you implement routing and scheduling. With a $20 hourly rate for office personnel, that amounts to $100 monthly cost savings per vehicle.

If you have a fleet of 20 vehicles, that’s $2000 easily saved each month.

Further, you can save $466.67 on monthly customer communications per vehicle! That is, of course, if you take into account the time you save with customer self-scheduling, customer notifications, and order tracking.

See How eLogii Works in Action!

eLogii is an end-to-end cloud-based delivery management platform. Our powerful solution solves the biggest challenges of modern distribution and field service businesses, including route optimization, planning, and execution.

BOOK YOUR DEMO in less than 2 minutes. Fill out a quick form, and one of our experts will get in touch to show you how eLogii works in action. The demo will be tailored specifically to your business needs, and you’ll get a pilot period to test out our expert’s bespoke configuration for yourself.

Start saving time and money in your operations today!