Supply chain management jobs include a large group of interrelated positions that work together to help plan, create, move, and manage all aspects of a company or institution’s products and/or services. This chain of connected segments is managed on several different levels to ensure a constant flow of goods from supplier to consumer. These jobs include, but are not limited to, director of logistics, director of operations, warehouse manager, project manager, sourcing manager, consultant, and chief information officer.
To better understand the variety of supply chain management jobs, it helps to be familiar with the five management processes: plan, source, make, deliver, and return. Plan is the resource strategy that meets customer expectation through efficiency, quality and customer appreciation. Source is the development and oversight of product pricing, payment and shipping.
Make includes all aspects of manufacturing: production, packaging, testing, shipment preparation and production innovation. Deliver involves all aspect of moving a product from production facility to customer, includes warehousing, inventory and invoicing. Return is the system that processes defective or damaged products.
The five management processes illustrate how much different supply chain management jobs involve and how diverse the responsibilities of a supply chain manager. Each process takes into consideration a completely different aspect of business, and even that can vary from company to company based on the company’s needs and the needs of its customers. The role of an operations manager, for example, changes drastically based on the type of facility is being overseen. For a warehouse, responsibilities includes shipping schedules and inventory software, while for a manufacturing facility, it is material purchasing and safety concerns.
Even within a job, what is required can vary greatly from day to day. A vice president of supply chain management oversees all aspects of business. His or her role is to help integrate, troubleshoot, and streamline each step of the supply chain and get involved wherever he or she is needed or can improve efficiencies. One day this may require meeting with a vendor to create and improve manufacturing procedures, while the next day involves overseeing the rollout of new inventory protocol.
There is no single career path for supply chain management jobs. While logistics-related degrees and internships are a plus, they are not necessary as long as proper on-the-job experience can be acquired. Most supply chain management professionals have built their knowledge of supply chain procedures over many years, while developing strong management and business skills. Top-level supply chain managers come from all five districts of management, and are usually promoted based on strong overall knowledge of the business, the ability to juggle multiple tasks, and performance success.