Supply chain management is the management of the flow of goods from manufacturers to distributers, through to consumers, and the movement and storage of raw materials from producers to manufacturers. Supply chain managers are central to the planning, execution and monitoring of these activities. If you have excellent organisational skills and would love to pursue a job in supply chain management, this career could be ideal for you.
Supply chain managers usually work as resident employees in various business enterprises or logistics companies that manage the supply chain operations of other businesses. Although the roles of supply chain managers may vary with the size of an organisation, typical duties involve the following tasks.
- Monitoring the cost, quantity, quality and efficiency of the flow and storage of goods
- Negotiating and securing contracts with service providers, such as transportation companies
- Directing and supervising supply chain workers, such as purchasing agents and buyers
- Analysing the supply needs of an organisation
- Overseeing the use of computer systems in supply chain management
Commonly based in depots or warehouses, supply chain managers are usually on the job between 8am and 6pm. However, supply chain managers working for businesses that operate for 24 hours work on shifts.
This table provides a break-down of potential salaries for supply chain managers
Newly qualified managers
£20,000 to £25,000
£25,000 to £45,000
Up to £60,000
Source: National Careers Service
Education and Training
As explained below, the educational requirements for supply chain managers are quite straightforward.
- Complete secondary education
- Earn a diploma, higher national diploma or bachelor’s degree. The recommended fields of study include transport management, logistics, and supply chain management.
Some of the universities in the U.K. offering undergraduate programmes in supply chain management are;
Alternatively, after completing high school, you can enter the profession by securing a junior role, such as transportation clerk, and work your way up as you pursue relevant part-time courses offered by institutions, such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and gain more job experience.
Skills, Competencies and Abilities
Supply chain managers should have;
- Highly-developed organizational skills to coordinate the work of several people
- Strong communications skills to provide information with clarity and direction
- Strong problem-solving to resolve day-to-day logistical challenges
- Strong computer skills to effectively use computer packages, such as spreadsheet
- Ability to work under pressure to meet strict deadlines
- A good geographical understanding of you area of operation
Vast work experience is crucial to the career progression of supply chain managers. For example, with 7 to 10 years of supply chain management experience, you can become an operations manager or senior organisational planner. Pursuing a master’s degree in business administration is also an ideal career advancement path.
Business in both the manufacturing and services industries rely on supply chain managers to keep their operations going. As such, there are several employment opportunities for fresh supply chain management graduates. Besides, the National Careers Service projects there will be approximately 205,000 new jobs for senior management professionals between 2014 and 2020, meaning there will be plenty opportunities for supply chain managers progressing into senior roles.
The path to becoming a supply chain manager can be hard to understand at times. Hopefully this guide has help to make the path clearer and show that it is not for everyone. You need to be very business orientated and organized in order to succeed in this career.