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A logistics trainee is typically hired into a training program at a company with complex distribution or manufacturing operations. He is rotated through the departments that make up the system for moving resources through production and to the end user. Training programs are usually designed so the trainee spends an equal amount of time in all departments making up the logistics chain. The amount of time spent is enough to allow the trainee to understand the key operational factors that drive cost and work efficiency in the department.
At its core, logistics is the art of efficiently and cost effectively coordinating the movements of resources or inventory through production and distribution systems. Companies will often hire a logistics trainee into a structured training program, because they want their logistics personnel to understand the operations from the ground up. For example, companies can feel it is counterproductive to hire a logistics manager over a crew of truck drivers without the person understanding the actual components of the truck driving job in practice. A logistics trainee typically spends time rotating through departments, so he can develop practical experience with the job positions that comprise the company's system.
The departments that a logistics trainee will often spend time navigating include supply chain management, information systems and order processing. He may also be exposed to warehousing, sourcing and logistics management. The work performed in these areas depends on the industry that the trainee is in. Transportation logistics will involve different daily activities than logistics for a company that makes and distributes machinery, for example. The core concepts would be the same, however, as management positions in logistics are concerned about maximizing the efficiency of complex systems, regardless of the types of resources or inventory involved.
Most logistics training programs require candidates to have a bachelor's degree. The programs are designed to be rigorous, and some companies have an expected drop out rate and do not guarantee placement at the end of training. In general, a logistics trainee can expect the same type of immersive experience as any management-level training program operated by a major national or international company.
Logistics training programs typically take between 12 and 16 weeks. Once a trainee makes it through the program successfully, he is often offered a permanent management position. For example, a logistic trainee can transition into a receiving manager position or a position as a configuration analyst. Usually, a trainee will have demonstrated some proficiency in one of the departments during his rotation. The final placement decision is typically a combination of the company's needs, the trainee's demonstrated proficiency and his expressed interest.
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