Supply Chain Manager Career Path


Supply Chain Manager Skills To Acquire

A Career In Supply Chain Management
  • Leadership:Every great SCM professional is a terrific leader. This is because they need to be able to motivate people to help them implement their plans.
  • Communication:Supply chain managers need to be able to create documents that explicitly detail their plans for a firm’s supply chain. They also need to be meticulous when it comes to working with vendors and others. After all, one wrong number on an order might result in disaster further down the chain. Interpersonal skills are vital to long-term success in supply chain logistics.
  • Organization: There is simply no such thing as a disorganized supply chain manager. SCM professionals need to be able to track multiple variables across a supply chain and have teams in place to execute their roles at the exact right times.
  • Negotiation: Very often, supply chain professionals are in a position to acquire raw materials or even services that help their firm. They therefore need to be capable of negotiating the best price for their firm. Managing costs in this way is imperative for long-term success.
  • Technology: SCM professionals need to have a range of technology skills. They need to be able to communicate with their firm’s database managers and work with project management tools, too.

The Career Goes Way Beyond The Movement And Storage Of Goods

Supply chain management professionals oversee materials, information and finances as products or parts make their way from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. But the responsibilities can vary greatly depending on your industry and organization.

The thing I wish I had known before I started my career in supply chain management is how diverse the supply chain is, says Lucas Robinson, chief marketing officer of Crediful. As if its not hard enough to know what area of supply chain you want to work in, every company has a different take on what the supply chain is, which functions are involved in it and how its management fits into the business generally.

Robinson says it can be surprising to learn that the movement and storage of goods is only one part of what the career entailsthough that simpler view may have been accurate a few decades ago. Today though, with many companies taking a broader view of their supply chains, procurement and even manufacturing can fall under the auspices of a supply chain leader rather than being managed as individual functions, Robinson says.

Be Strategic About Your Future

Supply chain management is a dynamic industry that tends to attract strategic thinkers. Always think five moves ahead, Chong says. Many people get bogged down in their day-to-day tasks and completely miss the bigger picture when it comes to strategizing about their business and their career.

Now that you can project more of a picture onto careers in supply chain management, do you have the information you need? Visit the Supply Chain and Logistics Management degree page to learn more about how this focused education option can help you set the foundation for success in logistics.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally published in February 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021. Insights from Wolfe and Patel remain from the original article.

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Where Might You Work

Supply chain managers work in nearly every industry in every state and town. These professionals are also found throughout government. In fact, many receive their first exposure to supply chain logistics by way of military training. Military training in logistics is top notch, as the armed forces absolutely need airtight logistics to keep troops prepared. In the military, SCM specialists might help facilitate construction projects, healthcare needs, maintain inventories of clothing and other basics, as well as keep large projects on task.

In the civilian world, SCM experts can seek jobs with manufacturing firms that rely on raw materials. They work with database professionals to maintain inventories and can keep large building projects under budget and on time. They might also work with hospitals and thus seek to anticipate patient needs by analyzing epidemiological data. Healthcare systems also need SCM professionals who help with the essential physical plant of the organization. Retail firms in any sector likewise need to anticipate customer needs, negotiate prices, and even ship items all across the nation to customers as well as affiliated stores.

SCM and logistics professionals also work in non-profit organizations. For instance, organizations which send volunteers overseas to help with disasters need SCM professionals to keep everyone fed and outfitted with all the materials they need.

Why Is Supply Chain Management A Good Career Path What Is The Average Salary

Supply Chain Career Path PowerPoint Template

Below are some reasons why supply chain management is a good career path. These include opportunities for developing interpersonal skills, high demand for supply chain professionals, and the versatility of a career. Many logistics sub-sectors include retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and transportation. Read on to find out if this career choice is right for you. This article will explore the various benefits of this career choice.

The average supply chain management salary is $61,915 per year, and top earners earn as much as $158,370 per year. According to PayScale, supply chain management graduates earn about $22,000 more than their counterparts without advanced degrees. In addition to the masters degree, a supply chain management concentration can help you secure leadership positions. M.B.A.s are also paid more than those with Bachelors degrees.

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Something For Everyone In Supply Chain And Logistics

As you will have gathered from the information in this article, there are so many types of supply chain and logistics jobs, at every level, that you should have no trouble breaking into the profession, especially if you keep your options open.

The beauty of this industry is that once you are in, your job is likely to expose you to the broader mechanics and principles of supply chain management.

You can choose to generalise or specialise, work in operations, planning, or a supporting function like sales or finance, and still gain the necessary knowledge over time to enable a sideways move or promotion into a different supply chain area.

If you already know that you want a supply chain or logistics career, but are not sure what role you want, I would recommend that you consider any of those described in this article. All of them can get your foot in the door, and from there, its not difficult at all to move around after gaining a little experience.

A Day In The Life Of A Supply Chain Manager Is Never Boring

Perhaps youve had jobs where you felt that every day dragged on, and you couldnt wait for the shift to be over. With a career in supply chain management, you can expect every day to be unpredictablefor better or for worse.

You often serve the role of firefighter as there are any number of events that create a crisis for those working in supply chain, says Bryce Bowman, founder of People First Planning. With so many moving parts, theres lots of room for scrambling. Bowman says a plant could go offline for unplanned maintenance or a critical shipment from a vendor could be delayed. These events often require you to take immediate action to minimize their impact, and you will have little advance notice.

I have operated a machine myself to keep the process moving, says Mike Wolfe, director of operations at Delgado Stone Distributors. When we have a deadline to meet, we make sure we meet it. No one wants to let the team or customer down.

While it can be challenging at times, this aspect of the career is also a highlight, according to Bowman. Your workday will often look quite different than you had envisioned when you left for the office that morning!

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Jobs You Can Get With A Supply Chain Management Degree

Supply chain management involves overseeing the entire life cycle of the goods or services a company produces. There are numerous responsibilities associated with supply chain management, such as procuring raw materials, establishing production processes and distributing finished products to customers. If you’re considering pursuing a degree in supply chain management or if you’ve recently graduated from this program, you may be interested in learning about different careers in this field. In this article, we list 15 jobs you can obtain with a supply chain management degree, describe the primary job duties for each role and share their average salaries.

There Are A Variety Of Career Opportunities

Is supply chain management consulting a good career path?

Supply chain management is an umbrella term that includes many different positions. Patel says a typical path includes beginning as an expeditor then advancing to become a buyer and moving upward from there. Other job titles include operations analyst, loading operator, sales, production manager and logistician.

In addition to all the advancement potential in the industry, the earning potential is also looking bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, logisticians reported a median annual salary of $74,750 in 2019.1 When you consider that a Bachelors degree is the average entry qualification for this role and that the opportunities in this career are steadily growing, you might feel more confident about finding a bright future for yourself in SCM.

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Why Choose A Supply Chain Management Career

Quite often, a seemingly small change in supply chain, may save the company a considerable amount of money and produce a more efficient means of getting goods to the market. Here are just a few reasons to choose a supply chain career path.

1. Necessary Service:

Unlike many other management practices that come and go with the time, supply chain management is one that will always be around. It is a fundamental part of any business that creates products, so its survival is guaranteed.

2. Growing Demand:

As the success of Wal-Mart has demonstrated, more companies are now focused on creating successful supply chain management procedures and they will need to bring in those capable of delivering the right outcome.

3. Bright Future:

Global expansion of business over the past two decades has created new demands for supply chain managers to help oversee the process. It is a growth industry that shows no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.

Why Choose A Career In Supply Chain Management

Those interested in supply chain management or logistics careers can choose from many roles even beyond the top 10. Although the rate of growth for these occupations is average overall, many new job opportunities are expected to be added over the next eight years. Because so many types of supply chain and logistics jobs exist at every level, those interested in supply chain management careers have a myriad of opportunities to break into the profession, particularly if they keep their options open.

This article is part of

Educational background. Organizations usually require a bachelor’s degree in business, economics or engineering, although larger enterprises may require a master’s degree.

Logistics manager Average salary $112,209

A logistics manager plans and oversees logistics policies, goals and initiatives. Here are some specific duties of a logistics manager:

  • Develop procedures for logistics management to enhance product workflow and reduce costs
  • Select and negotiate shipping and supplier costs as well as distribution, transportation and inventory control
  • Supervise materials movement, distribution and storage along with controlling flow of incoming materials and outgoing finished goods
  • Ensure customers get their products on time and,
  • Hire, train and supervise warehouse, inventory control, material handling, customer service, transportation and planning employees.

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Supply Chain Management Salary

High demand in this field means generous supply chain management salaries. The BLS reports that logisticians earned a median annual salary of $74,750 as of May 2019. Salaries may vary based on education, experience, job location, and industry. For example, logisticians working in the federal government earned a median annual salary of $85,450 while those working in wholesale trade earned $65,820.

Analysts are typically offered even higher salaries than logisticians, with operations research analysts having earned a median salary of $84,810.

Acquire Certifications Like Certified Professional In Supply Chain Management


Getting one or more certifications in supply chain management isn’t mandatory, but it can make you more appealing to potential employers. The Association for Supply Chain Management grants the Certified Supply Chain Professional title to people who pass an exam and have a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of entry-level work experience. The three-part test covers supply chain design, supply chain planning and execution, and supply chain improvements and best practices. People who aren’t members of the association will need to pay a testing fee.

If you don’t have a degree but you have three years of experience, you can take the Institute for Supply Management’s exam and become Certified Professional in Supply Chain Management. The International Society of Logistics offers the Certified Professional Logistician title for people with a master’s degree and at least five years of experience. Unlike the other two certifications, this one doesn’t have to be renewed.

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Supply Chain Middle Management

The supply chain middle management career move is a true inflection point in the supply chain professionals career path. Before this point, a young supply chain professional was not permanently marked.

A supply chain analyst can grow up to be almost anything. Same with the buyer or the planner or the coordinator. But spend a few years as a purchasing manager or planning manager or inventory manager or strategic sourcing manager, and thats who youll end up being.

Even if you werent thinking about staying in purchasing for your entire career, after your LinkedIn profile lists you as a purchasing guy or gal for years upon years on end, thats how the rest of the world is going to view you.

If youre in a supply chain middle management role and have been doing it for a few years, you should consider lobbying your employer to change your job title from purchasing manager or planning manager or inventory manager or strategic sourcing manager to supply chain manager. Theres a halfway decent chance that your employer wont know the difference between purchasing or planning or inventory control or strategic sourcing and supply chain and allow you to make the change.

In the meantime, take a close look at your companys supply chain. Does your specific function have an impact on the broader supply chain? Does your purchasing job involve strategic sourcing? Does your planning role require you to optimize your company’s inventory?

A Broader Knowledge Base Is Critical For Supply Chain Management Careers

If you picture supply chain management as a series of connect-the-dots involving lots of complex variables for each choice, you might see why extra knowledge about every dot on the board can be a serious asset. Don’t take only courses in the fields of operations research and supply chain management, even if that is your intended career path, says Hayato Yoshida, co-founder of Wagyu Beef.

Instead, take courses in a multitude of fields in order to broaden your knowledge and draw insights from each one.

A well-rounded mix of education and experience can be a huge asset when working in a complex fieldso do what you can to seek out new knowledge and practical skills. Yoshida suggests brushing up on programming and computer science-related skills where you can as well.

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Why Is Supply Chain Management A Good Career Choice

Supply chain management is a good career choice for many reasons. First, supply chains are essential to businesses because they help keep companies operating efficiently and profitably. Second, supply chain management is a special duty representing the coordination and integration of supply and demand across and within companies.

They also make it possible for businesses to produce goods at the lowest cost with the highest quality by getting materials, labour, equipment, transportation services, information systems support and other resources where needed.

The Supply Chain Training paves a career path that can act as an entry-level position or in a supporting role such as logistics specialist, a product manager specialising in procuring raw material sources from suppliers, warehouse supervisors, etc.

Analytical Capabilities Leveraged By Analysts

Supply Chain Management as a Career Path

Weve discussed how important it is to analyze data in this position. We are going to explore further some of the analytical capabilities needed by Supply chain analysts to be successful in their roles. SAS had published a report on various levels of supply chain analytics and here are the 8 different analytical capabilities:

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Ability To Analyze Data

Learning to analyze data is a very important skill to have before becoming an analyst. In every analyst position, the analyst must look at and make sense of a large amount of data. It may be different types of data depending on the job, but supply chain analysts must analyze the data collected and then let that drive the decision making.

Supply Chain Management Career Path And Job Diversity

Supply Chain Management is a career path that provides diversified job opportunities to find your niche. There are many job types in supply chain and logistics, so to simplify things, it can be categorized to project the objectives of the supply chain – Plan, Make, Source, and Deliver model.

  • Supply Chain Planning: Planning is crucial in every stage of the supply chain that holds various responsibilities
  • Manufacturing and Production: The production and manufacturing environment is part of the supply chain process with immense career growth opportunities.
  • Sourcing and Purchasing: Sourcing and purchasing are part of the in-bound supply chain management that gains information about the integration of sales, service, inventory, and logistics.
  • Logistics and Transportation: Managing logistics and transportation is concerned with the movement of goods from the source to its buyers. The experience gained from such positions are invaluable and have a direct approach to senior positions.
  • Production Operative, Supervisor, or Manager
  • Engineer
  • Logistics Director

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