How to Become a Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain management involves the control, supervision, and directing of steps that an organization needs to take in order to convert raw materials into products and distribute them to customers. Supply chain managers are educated and trained professionals who must ensure that these steps taken are efficient and cost effective. Their responsibilities include organizing the activities involved in the acquirement, production, and distribution of goods; negotiating for the lowest price for raw materials; purchasing the necessary materials; documenting and recording inventory; ensuring customer demands are being met; creating, enforcing, and adhering policies and regulations; supervising the work of employees within the company; and resolving any issues or concerns that may arise.

There are three requirements needed in order to become a supply chain manager. The first requirement is a post-secondary education. This includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business, finance, economics, accounting, or supply chain management. During the bachelor’s degree program, students are introduced to this industry’s principles, concepts, practices, and applications. Areas of study include accounting theory, supply chain distribution principles, quality management, social psychology, operations management, microeconomics, macroeconomics, logistics and distribution, business law, and purchasing management. Upon completion of this four-year degree program, students may obtain entry-level positions in the supply management field and gain on-the-job experience. However, those who aspire to become a supply chain manager are strongly encouraged to continue onto the master’s degree program in supply chain management. This two-year program prepares students for higher-level positions within this industry. Students conduct research and complete a thesis based on an area of focus in the business field. More advanced coursework is included in this program such as project management, business ethics, inventory administration, international supply chain management, and productivity leadership.

The second requirement is work experience. Subsequent to completion of the master’s degree program in supply chain management, students must gain work experience before becoming a supply chain manager. In most instances, students work in the industry for a few years working closely or under the supervision of an experienced supply chain manager. Once an individual has gained the knowledge and skills necessary by working for a few years, they are able to acquire a position as a supply chain manager.

The third requirement is certain skills and personality traits which are essential for success in this industry. Supply chain managers interact with a number of different individuals therefore they must have exceptional interpersonal skills. They must actively listen to their employees as well as upper management and be able to convey their ideas and opinions in an efficient manner. Supply chain managers must have great organization and time-management skills. They handle a number of different tasks on a daily basis and must meet numerous deadlines therefore, they must be able to prioritize and determine which tasks to address first and foremost. Supply chain managers must have positive leadership skills. They must have the ability to encourage and motivate their employees, assist in any way they can, and lead by example. Supply chain managers encounter a variety of issues and concerns daily therefore, they must have good problem-solving skills and be able to resolve different problems with appropriate and effective solutions.

Those who excel in the bachelor’s and master’s degree program in business or supply chain management, gain on-the-job experience, and encompass the skills and personality traits mentioned above, will no doubt be successful in this demanding but rewarding profession.

The following links are related to pursuing a career in the supply chain management industry.

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Mark Shaftsbury

About Mark Shaftsbury

Mark Shaftsbury has a background in economics and found a passion for writing after a long career abroad. He currently lives in the USA and works for a very well-known American company. He writes articles which involve his knowledge in the business industry as well as articles about education. He is a baseball enthusiast and may be found online blogging about his favorite baseball teams as well as his daughter's journey through life.

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