If you’re producing and moving goods, you need a transportation manager. These individuals handle and understand how goods are moved throughout the supply chain and all modes of transportation therein. Work in this field requires knowledge of the mechanics and logistics of moving freight across all types of routes. Shipping, trucking, and railroad freight all come under the watchful eye of these individuals.
These roles oversee staff, manage budgets, create and manage expectations from manufacturers to shippers, to retail outlets. They have to also understand route efficiencies and possible delays. Problem-solving skills come into play to solve for or forecast delays and disruptions. Scheduling deliveries and arrivals all while ensuring the safest and most efficient environment possible are duties essential to the success of a business.
Transportation managers interact with many stakeholders internal or external to their company. This will include internal collaboration with Supply Planning to understand transportation capacity needs over time by lane as well as interaction with Procurement to agree on strategies to procure third-party capacity. In a private fleet environment, this will also involve interaction with supervisors and drivers. When it comes to execution, Transportation managers will work with suppliers and customers and warehouses to ensure effective on-time pick up and delivery and work together to address service issues and productivity opportunities.
Increasingly, Transportation Managers are involved in analytical efforts and the deployment of new technology to improve service and financial performance.
Similar Job Titles:
- Freight Manager
- Transport Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Fleet Manager
Typical Job Titles of Direct Reports:
- Transportation Analysts
- Freight Coordinator
- Logistics Coordinator
- Fleet Manager
- Logistics Analysts
- Transportation Planner
Some core responsibilities of a transportation manager include:
- Directing activities related to planning, procuring, dispatching, routing, and tracking of transportation vehicles, aircraft, or railroad cars.
- Planning, organizing, and managing subordinate staff members to ensure work is completed and consistent with the company’s standards.
- Directing investigations to verify and resolve customer or shipper complaints.
- Collaborating with staff members to formulate and implement transportation-related procedures as well as company revenue goals and customer service objectives.
- Arranging repairs and routine maintenance of transportation vehicles.
- Complying with transportation-related policies, as well as safety rules, union contracts, and government regulations.
- Promoting safe work activities by conducting safety audits, and attending company safety meetings.
- Researching transportation costs and methods and opportunities to improve network efficiency
- Investigating lost packages and shipments
- Communicating with production managers about the status of incoming supplies
- Writing policies for handling transportation issues and delayed shipments
- Scheduling employees in transportation roles
- Developing transportation routes
- Coordinating maintenance and repairs for transportation vehicles
- Creating a timeline for each part of the transportation cycle
- Analyzing information about delivery times and expenses to minimize future costs
- Managing and reporting scaled shipping and delivery times and costs.
Required and Desired Skills
One of the most important things a transportation manager needs is experience. Education can only go so far in preparing someone for the rigors of the job and everything that can go wrong on a day-to-day basis. A skilled transportation manager has a working familiarity with legal issues, government regulations and safety procedures. Competency in geography, mathematics, and analytics should be required.
They have to be elite communicators and collaborators. They are constantly managing up to their superiors and down to their direct reports. This requires a nuanced level of communication for each level being managed. For instance, you’re not going to manage the expectations of your bosses the way you will be instructing your fleet managers to adjust their routes. In addition, every shipment has an origin and a destination and developing relationships with peers at key internal origins and key delivery distribution centers and customers can make the difference in utilization of your assets and improving your on-time delivery performance.
Transportation managers should also be able to use different software tools that help them track their shipments and analyze trends in shipment performance and cost. They need to know logistics optimization software, transportation and dock/yard management programs, and shipment visibility platforms.
- Problem Solving
- Conflict Disputes
- Data Analysis
- Critical thinking
- Team supervision
- Receiving of goods
- Shipping of goods
- Staffing levels/workforce planning
- Ability to build partnerships to create efficiencies
It’s highly desirable, though not required, that a transportation manager obtains and keeps current various certifications. These certifications can help a candidate to stand out and will also likely increase the pay scale. Some of the certifications include:
- OSHA Safety Certification
- Commercial Drivers’ License
- Certified Supply Chain Professional
- Hazmat Transportation Safety