Expeditors are responsible for ensuring that all things needed for manufacturing or servicing products are shipped to a company on the proper dates. Without expeditors, shipments could be delayed or overlooked, preventing the work from being done. This can be costly to the company. Expeditors are adept at maintaining contact with vendors and managing shipment timelines. Most expeditor positions require at least a high school diploma and strong computer skills.
Material expeditors are charged with maintaining the shipments of production materials. For example, a company that manufacturers leather purses uses pieces of leather, metal or plastic fasteners and zippers, and packaging. The material expeditor regularly checks with supervisors to determine when the new assembly materials are supposed to arrive. He or she then contacts the material vendors to ensure the materials will ship on the target date. If a problem arises, such as the vendor running out of a material, the expeditor is responsible for reporting this to the supervisor and assisting in locating materials elsewhere and getting them shipped on time.
Those with industrial expeditor jobs may work in fields requiring experience with petroleum, chemicals, and other industrial elements. Many industrial expeditor positions require a minimum of a four-year college degree in an industrial major. Work environments for industrial expeditors include refineries worldwide. The movement of materials to the refinery is the expeditor's concern. Developing tracking systems and reports is the responsibility of the expeditor.
Purchasing departments also include expeditor jobs. Like expeditors in the materials and industrial arenas, a purchasing expeditor is responsible for tracking and ensuring prompt shipment of needed materials. While the materials and industrial expeditors work with the manufacturing end of the company, a purchasing expeditor works with the department actually buying the needed materials.
Regardless of the field, each expeditor is responsible for the basic tracking of all shipments. The difference in the jobs is the industry or department in which the expeditor jobs are offered. All positions require strong computer and telephone skills.
Expeditor jobs sometimes require travel. Work environments can include anything from an office to a shipyard. Employees who work in an expeditor position report to procurement managers, purchasing directors, and others who are in the chain of command with regard to product manufacturing.
In addition to tracking shipments of regularly used materials, expeditors are expected to track other shipments. New office furniture, company vehicles, and building signs that are ordered must also ship. Being sure they ship on time is the responsibility of employees holding expeditor jobs.