When you order an item online and receive it straight at your doorstep, do you ever question how it arrived there? Supply Chain Management has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. Clothing, foods, home appliances and many other items are all made available through a supply chain of activities. Supply chain management is an exciting field with numerous career opportunities. Degree holders can enter into manufacturing, data analysis, procurement, transportation and customer service industries. Supply chains are an integral part of any economy and new supply chains and processes are coming up every day. Therefore, there are plenty of job opportunities available.
Is supply chain management a good career? Yes, it’s a good career because supply chain management job opportunities are in plenty. Additionally, supply chain jobs usually pay well and there is a great room for career growth. The career path also offers excellent work satisfaction, and it’s hard to get bored.
Every stage of a product’s life cycle including acquisition, distribution, and delivery fits under the supply chain umbrella. The supply chain process is long and is rapidly evolving with the creation of new technologies such as blockchain and cloud computing. Organizations rely on supply chain managers to forecast market trends and ensure the correct people are in the proper place. Additionally, companies also depend on supply chain managers to make sure parts arrive on time, and to be fast on their feet if they do not. Read on to find out: Is supply chain management hard? Is supply chain management a good major? I’ll also cover how to become a supply chain manager.
Is Supply Chain Management a Good Career?
Supply Chain Management is among the most expansive and diverse fields within the business sector. That’s because it encompasses a wide range of interconnected activities and functions that allow for commerce. Likewise, career paths in the supply chain are also diverse and expansive since supply chain touches almost all industries.
People in the supply chain are the masters of getting the work done. Their expertise and skills make everybody else’s roles possible, making the career incredibly rewarding.
Here are several reasons why a supply management career is worth considering.
- The Industry Is Experiencing Rapid Growth
Supply chain job opportunities are expanding from multiple ends, from worldwide sourcing of products to distribution and fulfillment. Shortage of skilled supply chain professionals has been seen in the US and parts of Asia. That means job opportunities for supply chain managers are in plenty.
- Tons of Space for Career Growth
The highly structured and tiered characteristic of supply chain management means that there are numerous opportunities to advance one’s career. I believe the Supply chain is an amazing career for young people to enter, because of the real-life challenges and growth opportunities. Through this career path, individuals acquire invaluable skills like analytics, problem solving and communication. Additionally, for those who want to, this career can lead one to travel around the globe or even live abroad.
- Lots of Roles
Supply chain management professionals can take up a variety of roles in the industry such as:
- Supply chain manager
- Procurement analyst
- Logistics manager
- Distribution manager
- Business analyst
- Purchasing manager
- Operations research analyst
- Director of operations
- Project manager
- Procurement manager
- Director of operations
- Warehouse operations
- It’s Gaining More Relevancy
Complex supply chains are common nowadays. Hence, more oversight is required than ever before to identify logistics to get products to their final destination cost-effectively. Online store-fronts and globalization have revolutionized the simplest phases of the supply chain. Heightened competition and moves toward sustainability have made innovative management more essential than before. Although much of traditional manufacturing and trade jobs are reducing in the US, supply chain managers are in increasing demand.
- Every Day is Different
For supply chain management professionals, every day is different. And the work value they generate energizes them to get up the following day. Each day they face new challenges, new methods of working and new people. The profession keeps one on their toes. The difference that a person can make with a job in supply chain management is fulfilling and brings great satisfaction. Also, it is a very dynamic industry where it’s hard to get bored. It’s an excellent career path for those who enjoy a fast pace and a constantly evolving environment.
- Exposure to Multiple Facets of the Business Sector
Professionals in the field of supply chain management gain exposure to how an organization works as a whole. They see so many sides of a company that people don’t normally see. Understanding the supply chain system gives an individual the much-needed perspective of organizational processes, which is very valuable.
Supply chain managers have the ability to touch multiple facets of a company’s business and are able to see their impact. It’s a profession where a person sees tangible results.
Average Supply Chain Management Salary USA and the UK
Supply chain management is a career path that’s worth exploring for any expat moving to the UK or USA. It’s a profession that pays very well.
The average supply chain management salary in the USA is $81,439. Entry-level supply chain managers earn an average wage of $58,694 while those with 1-4 years of working experience make $70,298 on average. A supply chain manager with 5-9 years of experience earns an average compensation of $83,622, and one with 10-19 years of experience makes $90,108. Professionals with at least twenty years of experience earn $92,836 on average.
In the UK, the pay is also excellent at an average of £39,405 per year. Supply chain managers with less than 1 year of working experience earn an average compensation of £27,617. 1-4 years of experience come with an average wage of £34,519, while 10-19 years of experience bring a pay of £44,649. Twenty years of experience or higher come with an average salary of £44,489 per year.
Is Supply Chain Management Hard?
Like any other profession out there, supply chain management also has several drawbacks. For starters, supply chain managers spend plenty of time at work trying to understand and solve the existing and upcoming challenges. Usually, solving problems can be quite hard, particularly when it involves people. Convincing people to change their mindset and how they work can take time and effort depending on their age and skill level.
A career in supply chain management can be demanding and hectic. Similar to marketing and sales channel management, the supply chain is also prone to end month pressures, and need for constant bargaining skills with vendors.
Additionally, supply chain management projects involve multiple departments like purchasing, manufacturing, distribution and IT. As a result, departmental wars can arise occasionally.
Moreover, projects can become complex over time because of addition of new features and processes. The end result is an inflated project that’s so extensive making the job harder for the supply manager.
However, the benefits of supply chain management outweigh the possible downsides. Thus a career in the supply chain is still worth considering.
Is Supply Chain Management a Good Major?
Generally, supply chain management is a good major, but it depends on what one wants to do. Supply chain management is a broad field. I believe it’s better to go for the procurement, buying, sourcing and merchandising side of the profession. That’s because it’s highly rated and involves more specifics skills and more pay. The other side of the supply chain, which includes transportation and distribution, is less desirable. It involves more stress, lower salaries, and lack of job security.
Nevertheless, for those seeking a degree with excellent career potential, supply chain is the way to go. Supply chain management is a rising industry with job opportunities all over the world. Currently, supply chain managers are in high demand. In addition to that, the career offers excellent compensation.
A degree in supply chain management is applicable to multiple industries. Not only does supply chain impact manufacturing, transportation, warehouse management and shipping, but it also offers broader job prospects. For instance, Deloitte LLP, which most employees accountants, recruits supply chain graduates to help manufacturing and logistic firms.
Furthermore, many Supply Chain Management programs aim to train students on how to perform a specific job after leaving school. While broader degrees in business, science or humanities are valuable, a Supply Chain degree offers a clearer career path beyond school.
How to Become a Supply Chain Manager
The journey to becoming a supply chain manager usually begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, logistics, business administration or sales. Many supply chain management professionals also have many years of experience working in customer service and business. Additionally, they need to gain an understanding of the geographical territories they tackle. They must have exemplary interpersonal and social skills in order to develop relevant relations with internal and external partners.
A supply chain manager should have the ability to manage the complicated nature of supply chains and logistics. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree is normally the minimum requirement. During the degree program, they learn about database management, business operations and system dynamics. Moreover, they might be exposed to different types of logistics software e.g., Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID).
Generally, there’s no legal requirement for supply chain managers to get certified. But, they can choose to gain certification to showcase their dedication to excellence and broader knowledge of the field. For instance, in the US, supply chain managers can get certified via the International Society of Logistics or the American Production and Inventory Control Society.
Work experience is also crucial. Supply chain managers usually gain several years of experience in supply chains, business administration and logistics. Some begin in logistical support as clerks or dispatchers, while many have a background in military processes. Through work experience, these experts get to gain knowledge about supply chain and business processes.
The most successful supply chain managers possess the following characteristics:
- Excellent communication skills
- Robust critical thinking skills
- Excellent customer service skills
- Superb organizational skills
- Pragmatic problem-solving skills.
With a bachelor’s degree and the skills above, it’s possible to become an effective supply chain manager.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.