Supply chain management has become one of the most popular careers today owing to the increasing trend of online shopping, especially after the pandemic. Businesses or eCommerce companies put in a lot of effort to make the entire online shopping process seamless for the consumers. However, as easy as it seems on the front, there is an elaborate process that companies follow to ensure that the customers receive their orders timely. This complex process is broadly called supply chain management.
It is one of the most sought-after careers in today’s time because an increasing number of companies or small businesses are now directly supplying their products to consumers, known as D2C supply. This blog discusses what supply chain management is and what careers will be relevant for you after completing a degree in supply chain management.
What is Supply Chain Management?
Supply chain management is the process of administering the production and sales of goods. It includes planning, control, and execution to ensure the smooth manufacturing and sale of products of a company. Let us understand it in a simpler manner. You place an order for a product on an eCommerce platform. As soon as the order is confirmed, you get an expected date of delivery and within a day or two, you receive the whole timeline of delivery explaining that your order is being prepared, when it will be shipped, where it has reached so far, and when it is out for delivery. This entire process is termed logistics or supply chain management.
Right from production to shipment to delivery or inventory to sales, all the steps are covered in supply chain management. Other integral activities in supply chain management include inventory control, manufacturing supervision, procurement and purchasing, quality control, warehousing and storage, transportation, packaging and quality control.
Careers Related to Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is a very broad process that encompasses several small and specific roles that people pursue as a full-time career.
1. Supply Chain Manager
As the name suggests, supply chain managers are professionals that develop and overlook the entire supply chain management strategy of a business. The key responsibility of a supply chain manager is to ensure efficiency in the production and sale of products of a company. They oversee every step of production flow like coordinating with vendors or contractors to procure raw material, updating inventory, and minimizing operational risks.
Recommended: Career Library
2. Warehouse Manager
The job of a warehouse manager is more specific in comparison to supply chain manager. Warehouse managers are responsible for managing the entire process of safely receiving raw material or finished goods and their departure. They also ensure the safety and security of the staff at warehouses. Some of the key responsibilities of a warehouse manager include coordinating with customers, vendors, and transport by companies, supervising the receipt and dispatch of goods in the warehouse, and overseeing the efficient and smooth functioning of machinery and equipment at the warehouse.
3. Operations Manager
Let us understand what is operations management and how can you build a career in it. The role of an operations manager in supply chain management involves overseeing the administration of raw materials for the manufacturing of goods and making key decisions regarding the workflow. The most significant responsibilities of an operations manager include coordinating and supervising production, sale and distribution of products, training staff, and forecasting the demand for raw materials.
Recommended Read: What is Operations Management And How Can You Build Your Career in It?
4. Purchasing Manager or Purchasing Agent
Purchasing managers of a company are those people who negotiate and enter into contracts with vendors to ensure that the company purchases quality raw materials at the best prices. The job of a purchasing manager is to study inventory and stock supply, measure demand and supply of products and purchase the best raw material to boost the sales of the company and reduce its unnecessary expenditure. There can be different types of purchasing managers in an organization based on their specific roles, for instance, wholesale or retail purchasing managers.
The job of a purchasing agent is a junior-level position whereas a purchasing manager is a senior-level employee in an organization who supervises many purchasing agents.
5. Logistics Manager
Also called as logistics director, shipping manager, fleet manager, and distribution centre manager, the logistics manager plans and monitors strategies related to the shipment of products from warehouses to the customer. Other key responsibilities of a logistics manager include managing inventory, streamlining the shipment process, training staff and ensuring consumer satisfaction.
6. Logistics Analyst
The job of a logistics manager is to take care of management of shipping. On the other hand, a logistic analyst is more concerned with logistics data collection, analysis and interpretation to enhance logistics activities, reduce cost, and improve customer services. The main responsibilities of a logistics analyst include maintaining a database of logistics information, using a logistics system to track shipment of goods by monitoring shipping vehicles, analyzing delivery time and transportation cost, and using other analytical tools to improve the efficiency of shipment processes.
7. Materials Analyst
A material analyst in a company analyzes whether a company has enough inventory to take up new projects or sufficient resources to fill its inventory. They are also responsible for allocating materials to different teams to ensure the smooth manufacturing of goods. A material analyst also prepares a company’s annual budget for raw materials, and places requests for material orders. The job of a materials analyst is similar to a warehouse manager. However, the difference between the two is that the job of a warehouse manager includes several activities like training the staff and responding to customer grievances. A material analyst only ensures the smooth flow of goods in the supply chain.
8. Strategic Planner
A strategic planner in supply chain management prepares a comprehensive strategy for small, mid-sized or large businesses on how they can improve the efficiency of their logistics operations, save costs, and improve customer satisfaction and retention. A strategic planner finds loopholes in the supply chain management system of an organization and provides suggestions to fix the same.
Changing trends in consumer shopping behaviour have caused a boom in the supply management sector making the logistics industry one of the largest job providing sectors in India.
Even though there is a large scope for growth in the supply chain management sector, it is better to seek professional career guidance before pursuing a degree in supply chain management. Career counselling will help you understand what jobs you should apply for in the supply chain management sector. For career counselling online, you can sign up on Mindler, an ed-tech platform that provides career coaching to school and college students by assessing their interests and goals.