Engineer ordering to worker

Logistics Engineer

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Have you ever watched the assembly process for a new vehicle? The basic structure of the vehicle begins at the start of the line and moves through the assembly process gradually adding features and form until the final vehicle drives off the assembly line. When a production process is started it does not stop until the assembly for that vehicle is completed and it is timed to meet the demand for that vehicle within the market. Profit and loss is determined based on the downtime for the line and even one minute of stopped production results in a loss for the company. This assembly orchestration requires that each part be ready when the vehicle reaches that point in the assembly process so that the smallest component does not cause production to stop and the entire process to be halted. Coordinating these activities requires a team of people both to monitor the equipment and the quality of the process and also to manage the overall flow of the assembly process and this is where the logistics engineer job is most important.

Logistics engineer job description

The logistics engineer role requires them to develop and manage the flow of materials to the production line so that the assembly process is not shut down. Logistics engineers will work with the manufacturing engineers to ensure that an adequate supply of materials are constantly available when the vehicle under assembly reaches that point in the production process. They will coordinate with each of the material suppliers to ensure a steady flow of materials will be incoming to the production process so that the assembly line will not be shut down.

A majority of the automotive assembly lines currently in production will follow a ‘just in time’ philosophy for their assembly lines. This means that the manufacturing inventory will only be sufficient to support the current production requirements so that the manufacturing plant does not have to maintain a large inventory of parts and the overhead that storing those materials brings with it. The logistics engineer will balance the delivery times, storage requirements and usage requirements for these parts to ensure that there will always be sufficient inventory available. They will work with the manufacturing engineer to understand the assembly times and the ‘beat rate’ of the assembly process and then develop a logistical plan for the line to establish delivery times for each part as it arrives from the truck and is delivered to the line.

Logistics engineer job requirements

The requirements to work as a logistics engineer begins with a background in manufacturing systems engineering, industrial engineering, logistics and even business administration. Each one of these degree areas will focus on a specific part of the manufacturing process that the logistics engineer must understand. Earning these degrees requires a strong background in math, sciences, statistics and even physics so that you will understand and be able to use the concepts that you learn in school. They must be able to conduct time studies and simulate the assembly process to ensure that they will be able to maintain the process and not stop the assembly line. They must be adept at mitigating risk within the assembly process and have a backup plan if a quality issue is identified with a specific part so that they can continue assembly even if a quality issue is identified. This role requires that the logistics engineer understand the entire process yet be able to look at each part in minute detail so that they can maintain production.

If you enjoy orchestrating an event or following the detailed steps it takes to build a product then you just might find that working as a logistics engineer is the right role for you in the automotive industry. This highly rewarding position can make you the hero or the villain of an assembly line as you orchestrate the flow of materials and keep production on track.

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