What is a Supply Chain Management Job?
When was the last time you drove a car or rode on a bus? How many parts does the average car have? A car can have over 30,000 parts. All of those parts need to be sourced, purchased, delivered, inventoried, QAQC, managed, shipped again, and finally incorporated into the final car before you can open the door. But that is only have the journey. The other half started before the parts were made. First, the factory needed to source raw material and suppliers and manufactures. Think of all of the hands that have touched all of the parts of your car. Think of all of the miles your car has driven before turning over the first dial on the odometer.
The point isn’t to discuss the enormity of a single car, rather the point is to highlight the enormity of the supply chain management (SCM) industry. Every needs to be shipped and managed, even your morning coffee. You asses your levels, predict when you will need more, and preemptively source more from the local distributor. The SCM industry is transforming how the world does business. Not only are there some amazing jobs in SCM using the latest technology, but SCM jobs are challenging, rewarding, and provide upward mobility and comfortable benefits.
Where Can You Go with A Supply Chain Management Job?
You can go, literally, wherever you want to go. Think about it this way. Does your local town have a producer of material that is shipped out of town? They will need someone to manage those sales and distribution. Does your local town have a manufacturer that brings in raw material or built goods? They will need someone to manage stock in and finished goods out. Sure, some of the major players are centralized around certain geographical areas, but realistically, you can work anywhere and still be a SCM industry leader.
In terms of pay and profession. The sky is the limit with SCM jobs. Each corporate entity will have its own corporate ladder structure. However, good companies are always in need of SCM leaders that are willing to put in the focus and drive. That work will be rewarded. SCM jobs are competitive because they are good jobs. Working from the bottom up is the best way to get the experience to lead groups and divisions in your professional future. Because you can enter the SCM industry from many different angles, it is good to know what your interests are and where your specialization should be. Below is a quick discussion on how you can start your SCM career and what you should expect.
Are There Any Special Skills Needed for an Entry Level SCM Job?
With an expected 26% growth in new SCM jobs there is no shortage of opportunities. This means that even an associate’s degree can get you in the front door. The best way to prepare for a job in the SCM industry is to understand the flow of both goods & services, and the flow of information. In the SCM industry there is a physical component and a digital support component. If you are competent in one and not the other, focus on your competency. If you think that you need extra training or education, then you can apply to many respected distance learning classes, associate’ degree program, or a bachelor’s degree.
If you want to go into the tech side of the industry, then get computer coding and data analytics training. If you want to go into the manufacturing side of the industry, then get some manufacturing training or experience. The experience doesn’t need to be directly related but relevant to business practices of making a product and selling that product.
What are the Basic Categories of SCM Jobs?
Manufacturing jobs are the most important part of the SCM industry. These positions build either the base components or the final product. These jobs build the purchased item and are the whole reason why the SCM industry exists. In the manufacturing sector it is all about sourcing quality raw material, producing a quality product, and selling to valued clients.
2. Data Analysis
No one person runs an entire SCM system for every piece of machinery that is used by a company. Instead, individuals build and contribute to a SCM system. Each individual is able to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Each individual action is recorded as a data input. All of these inputs are collated and analyzed by data analysts. It is their job to look for efficiencies and areas of improvement.
Not all raw products are equal. Even if the sulfur is chemically equivalent around the world, who you buy from matters. Procuring raw goods isn’t just about buying “things”. You will be creating relationships with suppliers and protecting your company from disruptions that could harm production numbers and timetables.
People don’t come to you. You send your goods or services to clients. That is just how it works. You will also be transporting goods and materials in between manufacturing centers and from one distribution center to another. Transportation is about the real-time management of supplies and where they are needed and how quickly you can get them there.
5. Customer Service
Maybe one of the most under-valued positions in the SCM system. Quality customer service drives sales and keeps the SCM system from completely shutting down. Customer service is about developing a relationship with past, current, future, and potential clients and customers. It is about showcasing your company’s expert attention and care in all of their services.
Entry Level Job Labels
When you start looking for a supply chain management job do your homework on the follow:
- What do you want to do?
- Where do you want to live?
- What type of company do you want to work for?
- What jobs are available that meet your criteria that you are qualified for?
Many SCM industry professionals come out of college with a SCM related degree. However, many don’t have the background but are still able to find jobs that can lead to great opportunities. If you are still in college look for an internship in a SCM field at a large company. If you are looking for a full-time job or otherwise and need an entry level position look for jobs with the label analyst, clerk, specialist, junior, associate, or assistant. Most of these jobs will be your ticket into the industry. Depending on your skill set and determination, it will be only the beginning. Here are a few specific entry level jobs to consider.
How many widgets do you have in the warehouse? How are you managing the supplies not just in one warehouse but also all of the other 3 dozen across the globe? Inventory isn’t just about collating a spreadsheet. It is about active management on goods until they are ready to be shipped or used. As an inventory clerk you will be on the ground floor seeing how worldwide scale warehouses are managed and how massive companies deal with inventory.
Product is the physical making of an object. In the SCM world this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be making the widget. It does mean that you will be monitoring the production schedules and target production amounts to meet needs of the clients and stay under budget and on time. SCM is all about managing the flow. As a production clerk you will get your first taste of keeping tabs on materials in, numbers of produced widgets, and goods out.
Supply Chain & Logistics (SCL) Coordinator
With a warehouse management system at your fingertips you will help coordinate shipments of goods and other manufactured materials nationally and internationally to and from your company’s facilities. Supply chain & logistic coordinators track goods as they circle the globe and can manage, predict, and prevent delays, redirects, and errors in shipments.
Supply Chain & Logistics (SCL) Customer Service Rep
However, errors in shipments still happen. When purchases come in wrong or sales go out faulty, the customer service representatives are the ones that need to fix the problems. These professionals manage contracts with distributors and clients. They need to have the finesse to protect the company but do what is right for the client.