Not everyone understands the concept of what the supply chain really is. Essentially, it’s the process of ordering goods, taking receipt of them, and distributing them to where they’re needed.
Supermarkets like Walmart are a good example of supply chain management because they don’t produce their own goods; they order them from end producers or suppliers, take delivery, and ensure all stores have enough supply. This way, when you go to your local Walmart store to purchase the item you want, it’s hopefully sitting on the shelf waiting for you.
Supply chain management is a growing profession. In an era where goods are sourced regionally, nationally or globally with online shopping ever more popular, the procurement of goods, transportation and distribution have never been as important.
Here are seven reasons to choose a career in supply chain management.
1. Employee Demand is High
Whilst over 11 million people were found in 2015 to work in some part of supply chain logistics and management, there remains a shortage of qualified individuals. For job openings and career growth opportunities, that’s excellent news if you’re looking for a job that cannot be outsourced abroad.
To be in the best position to take advantage of this growth area, studying for a masters in supply chain management online is the best approach. Doing so, it’s possible to learn all about what it takes to excel in any role within this low key but essential professional career choice.
2. Active Problem-solving Role
Whether working as a procurement specialist or another role within the broader supply chain profession, there are many elements.
For instance, ordering different parts from a variety of suppliers to be delivered in the U.S. for product assembly and subsequent sale has many sections to it. Should any part manufacturer or delivery go awry along the way, the product cannot be assembled here.
Dealing with surprises and unexpected outcomes is part and parcel of this profession. It’s certainly never dull and it will keep you on your toes. The ability to roll with what happens and actively problem-solve issues is vital. Quickly grasping the problem and working up a solution is frequently what’s required.
The following scenario is a good example of one possible situation:
- The product it not produced satisfactorily
- A decision is made whether to resolve quality issues in production or order from another supplier
- Get new goods ordered
- Deal with logistics for receipt of goods
- Check goods’ quality upon arrival
- Schedule goods for distribution to regional warehouses for local store distribution
3. Always Busy and Under Pressure
Let’s face it. There are some jobs where you’re never busy, there’s not much stress, and you’re watching the clock until you can go home. Whilst that sounds fine, to begin with, you’ll soon realize that you’re bored and need a greater challenge.
In supply chain management or just the logistics end of it, you’ll never be bored. There’s simply too much to do in this always moving, always something new, environment that you are working in. It’s got a fair dose of pressure, stress, and constant deadlines to it.
To get one thing done, often there are other dependencies that must be completed first. So, there are lots of balls being juggled in the air at any one time. You’ll either love it and thrive in this environment or you better go and do something else!
4. Managing and Communicating is a Strength
Given the number of moving parts and activities within the field, you’ll deal with people from all walks of life. That might mean meeting with the CEO and the other directors to discuss supply chain issues causing current operational difficulties. It may also involve talking with suppliers in person or over the phone, talking with a logistics manager or drivers directly, dealing with a warehousing problem, and much more.
You’ll talk and meet with people with advanced degrees who run the business. And people who are street smart, hardened, and speak very directly without any of the usual politeness or niceties of the office environment. It’s necessary to be comfortable with all types of people and personalities, so communication should be a strong suit. Having a thick skin is necessary too. No wallflowers allowed here.
5. Career Progression with Experience and Training
There’s a great deal of opportunity for career growth within the supply chain professional as a whole.
For instance, there are different roles within it, such as:
- Warehouse Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Logistics & Distribution Director
- Purchasing/Procurement Director
- Engineering Manager
- Operations Manager
- Operations Director
- Supply Chain Manager
- Supply Chain Director
It depends on the size of the company and how it’s organized as to which roles with be required there. Sometimes, there are several tiers with Assistants, Managers, Directors, and Vice Presidents covering different responsibilities. Certainly, anyone with a master’s in supply chain management is going to be in the running for the more senior roles, with managerial responsibility for the people below them.
6. Competitive Salaries
The salaries within the profession vary depending on the amount of responsibility and the level of the role. However, given the importance and complexity of the profession as a whole, salaries above $60-$70,000 per year are not uncommon.
For Senior Managers or Director roles, getting to and above six-figures emphasizes how critical their responsibilities are to the overall success of the company.
7. Making a Difference
Unlike some other jobs, working in procurement, supply or distribution, it’s clear that there’s value being provided. Not only to end customers but also to the organization too.
In a business that’s based around the supply of a physical product to other companies and people who need it, avoiding a supply chain disruption or working around it to ensure the company keeps delivering what’s required really feels like you’re making a difference. For job satisfaction, it’s very important to know that what you’re doing at work actually matters.
When you’re wanting to be challenged in your professional life, supply chain management will do that for you. It’ll never be boring, and the demands of the work will keep you on your toes.