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Industrial Traffic Manager Job Description, Career as an Industrial Traffic Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training College

Salary Median—$71,932 per year

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Businesses and manufacturers employ industrial traffic managers, also known as traffic managers, to decide how to transport their products. These employees arrange for the movement of raw materials into their factories and for the transportation of finished products to the markets where the goods are sold.

Industrial traffic managers must consider the kinds of raw materials and products their companies ship; the size and weight of their shipments; the safety factors involved in the transport; and time schedules. Sometimes they have to choose the containers and packaging materials. They then investigate the different transportation possibilities and choose the most cost-effective routes and carriers. Many of their calculations are made using computer software.

If delays in shipping occur, traffic managers must determine the reasons for the delays and arrange with carrier companies for faster service. When goods are lost or damaged in transit, they handle the claims and make the necessary arrangements with customers or carriers. Managers keep records of freight rates and shipments, usually by computer. Some traffic managers are responsible for approving bills, clearing shipments through customs, and leasing warehouse facilities for shipments. In large firms they often have assistants who do many of these tasks.

Some aspects of transportation are controlled by federal, state, and local regulations. Industrial traffic managers must be aware of the regulations and be prepared to argue cases for their companies before government regulatory agencies.

Industrial traffic managers work closely with the production, purchasing, marketing, and legal departments of their firms, conferring on such matters as importing raw materials inexpensively, planning shipping schedules, and purchasing goods. Sometimes they give advice on where to build warehouses and plants.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers prefer to hire college graduates with degrees in traffic management, logistics, or physical distribution. However, many people become managers with bachelor's degrees and courses in transportation, economics, management, marketing, and business law. Computer training is essential. Although advanced degrees are not required, many traffic managers earn master's degrees.

Industrial traffic managers usually begin their careers as clerks or tracers in shipping rooms and traffic offices. With experience they can move into more technical positions, such as rate analyst, rate supervisor, senior rate clerk, and freight claims supervisor. All of these positions can be steps toward becoming assistant traffic manager and, eventually, traffic manager. At least seven years of experience in industrial transportation are required for qualified candidates to become traffic managers.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to large companies for positions in their shipping or traffic departments. School placement offices can help graduates find openings. Internet job banks and newspaper classified ads may list available positions as well.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Traffic managers can advance by moving to larger companies or by specializing in one phase of traffic management. Advancement is usually based on experience and ability. However, education is becoming increasingly important. Chances for promotion to high-level jobs are better for those with advanced degrees and for those who participate in special studies related to the field.

Employment of industrial traffic managers is expected to grow as fast as the average for all jobs through 2014. Many large companies are separating their shipping and receiving activities into different departments, so more traffic management personnel and department heads should be needed. Employers may be selective, however, for they want expert traffic managers who can develop new ways to deliver raw materials and distribute finished products to larger and more distant markets.

Working Conditions

Many traffic managers work thirty-five to forty hours per week. However, they sometimes spend extra hours writing reports and traveling to branch offices. On occasion they may have to represent their companies before state or federal regulatory agencies.

Working conditions vary with the job and the company. Many managers have comfortable offices and visit factories often for consultation.

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary, depending on the size and type of company. In 2004 the median salary for industrial traffic managers was $71,932 per year. The most experienced managers, who worked at large companies and supervised large staffs, earned more than $82,755 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society of Transportation and Logistics
1700 N. Moore St., Ste. 1900
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 524-5011

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Association
2805 Butterfield Rd., Ste. 200
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 574-0985

Benefits usually include health and life insurance, paid vacations, and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics