Getting started with a career in supply chain management

Looking for a career in supply chain management? You are not alone, especially now when the COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness about the global importance of this crucial sector- and has shown it to be a great career option.

Supply chains involve a series of processes that takes a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For supply chain networks to function suitably, they require operational and management support.

Choosing a career in the supply chain industry- here is all that you need to know

A career in the supply chain industry offers so much diversity. It gives you an in-depth overview of the complete organization where you not only learn the suppliers’ business but learn customers’ business as well. There are many departments from production, procurement, shipping, finance, and accounting to warehousing, marketing, R&D, and sales.

In this constantly and ever-changing industry you can gain a variety of experiences. Simply put, the industry offers something for everyone- there are numerous opportunities for those who like to be led and inspired, and for those who like to lead and manage.

To get started with a career in supply chain management, here are some important things to consider-

Understanding the supply chain industry

Depending upon the industry and organization, supply chain management roles can vary. One needs to keep in mind the size of the company as well as ownership as these factors can have a significant impact on your career. In big enterprises, you may have to start working within a function or segment of the supply chain that has a lot of resources. Whereas, in smaller organizations, you might have to manage multiple tasks that may give you wide exposure to the supply chain processes, but has limited resources. Therefore, it is vital to understand the requirements of the industry thoroughly before you begin your journey.

Pick a supply chain management area that interests you

There are innumerable career options within supply chain management, however, you must opt for an area that interests you. You should get yourself acquainted with that specific area by reading about topics related to it. This will help you to determine whether you want to pursue it. Typically people choose the following career paths in the supply chain field-

  • Production/Operations Management
  • Supply chain planning and/or Technology
  • Supply Management/ Procurement
  • Distribution Management/ Logistics

Keep yourself abreast with the latest and upcoming trends in supply chain management

You can keep yourself updated with the latest trends and technologies in supply chain management as it will allow you to take important career decisions. You can enroll for supply chain management sessions or read blogs or can engage in various discussions forums.

What qualification do I need to start a career in supply chain management?

The most common way to pursue career in supply chain is a bachelor’s degree in SCM, logistics or international transport. In addition there are various courses available such as CPM (Certified Purchasing Manager), CPIM Certified in Production and Inventory Management, Certified Supply Chain Professional, Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Professional, and Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution.

You may also pursue a master’s degree in supply chain, logistics, and/or transport. Doing MBA is also a great option.

How do I enter the supply chain industry?

There are several ways to break into the supply chain industry. Typically people start by using the services of recruitment agencies or by putting up a profile on various job portals. One can also use networking- looking out for industry-type events in your area that can give you an opportunity to meet and interact with professionals.

Another option to get real-world experience is by looking for a supply chain internship that is closely related to the job role that you are interested in.

What career options do I have in the supply chain industry?

There are many entry-level jobs that you can explore that do not require prior experience but only some kind of degree/diploma or certification. These jobs require a period of on-job training. For instance- cost estimators, quality controllers, customer relations, marketing and advertising, and buyers.

But that is not all, supply chain management offers many other possibilities as well such as –IT specialists, Data Managers, Finance Managers, Human Resource Personnel.

In case you are graduated with a bachelor or master’s degree in the supply chain you can also consider the following career options-supply chain analyst, supply chain coordinator, production planner/ inventory controller, purchasing agent, logistician, procurement analyst, and warehouse manager.

Final Word

Supply chain management is a vast field that offers a lot of opportunities. All you need to do is to carefully choose your niche and then set about gaining relevant knowledge and expertise.