Every organization has to acquire goods, works and services to fulfill its objectives. Flow of all the materials, information, funds as well as management of all the processes and stakeholders engaged in the acquisition of these goods and services come under supply chain. The management of supply chain is crucial for the sustainability and profitability of any organization. Supply chain manager is the person who manages entire supply chain of the organization. We will learn in detail about duties, responsibilities and career prospects of supply chain manager. Before moving further, let us understand what is supply chain.
What is Supply Chain?
Supply chain incorporates all stakeholders involved, directly or indirectly, in satisfying a customer’s requirement. The various stakeholders range from manufacturers to suppliers, and also incorporates transporters, warehouses, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and customers themselves. Various processes and functions within the organization like product development, production, marketing, distribution, finance and customer service, etc. are also a part of the supply chain.
What is Supply Chain Manager?
A supply chain manager is a professional who manages the supply chain of an organization at every stage. The main role of supply chain manager is to plan and execute the processes pertaining to the procurement of raw material, to make the raw material available to the manufacturing units, manage inventory of raw material to finished product, testing and quality check of raw material and finished product, manage the distribution of finished product from distributors to the customer, supplier management, etc. Supply chain manager also ensures that the process in the supply chain are running efficiently and the procurement of all the goods and services is done on the basis of ‘value for money’ concept.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Supply Chain Manager
Although the roles and responsibilities of the supply chain manager include management of all the processes, materials, resources and stakeholders under the supply chain, some of the main roles of the supply chain manager are identified as below:
(1) Assess demand of various departments for resources and materials and plan the procurement accordingly
(2) Decide the specification of materials to be procured and the method of procurement of the materials
(3) Selection of appropriate supplier or vender
(4) Drafting of contracts and negotiate with the suppliers
(5) Inventory management and storage planning
(6) Processing daily orders
(7) Risk analysis and management
(8) Monitoring performance of suppliers and give them rating
(9) Coordinating with various stakeholders and ensure there is no communication gaps among various departments
(10) Making the supply chain processes more efficient
(11) Make sure that the procurement made is providing value for money to the client
(12) Minimize wastage of raw materials
(13) Control and monitoring delivery process of the final product
Skills Required to Become a Supply Chain Manager
Supply chain managers not only need technical skills but also need interpersonal skills. Supply chain managers are responsible for managing all the processes in the supply chain so they need strong technical, managerial and analytical skills. Along with managing supply chain processes they have to interact with various stakeholders like suppliers, clients, etc. so strong interpersonal skills are also a pre-requisite for a supply chain manager. Typical skills required to become a successful supply chain manager are listed below:
(a) Budget Management
(b) Expertise in Lean and Six Sigma tools
(c) Knowledge of business management principles
(d) Knowledge of supply chain principles
(e) Stakeholder management skills
(f) Conflict-management skills
(g) Strong problem-solving skills
(h) Relationship-building skills
(i) Project management
(j) Strong analytical thinking
(k) knowledge of data analytics
(l) Time management
(m) Negotiation skills
(n) IT skills and the proficiency in Microsoft Excel and other tools
(o) Strong communication skills
Steps to Become a Supply Chain Manager
1. Complete your bachelor’s degree.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for the job of supply manager. Sometimes, an MBA or master’s degree in another discipline can elevate your resume for promotions or more prestigious organizations. You therefor should complete at least your bachelor’s degree before pursuing your career as supply chain manager.
2. Develop supply chain management skills.
After formal education, the next thing is to gain supply management skills. You can work as an intern or take an entry level job to gain knowledge and skills in this domain. Sometimes a good certification in supply chain management like CPSM, CIPS, etc. can me very helpful to acquire supply management skills as mentioned above.
3. Prepare your resume.
Prepare a good resume when you gear up to start applying for the jobs. List all of your work experiences and skills on a separate scrap piece of paper, if this is your first resume, and put them in chronological order starting with the most recent. If switching careers, scour through job descriptions for supply chain managers to pepper your resume with relevant terminology and skills. Small adjustments every time you submit your resume can make a big difference to hiring managers or recruiters.
4. Work at the Entry Level Job Like supply chain Analyst
Initially you may be offered an entry level position as a supply chain analyst or similar kind of job. As a supply chain analyst, you’ll gain knowledge of your specific industry and hopefully an insight into how logistics and demand planning works for your organization. This is the beginning of your supply chain career because once you gain sufficient experience at this position you will be fit for the job of supply chain manager.
5. Get promoted to supply chain manager.
While working as a supply chain analyst, try to get promotion as a supply chain manager. Developing strong relationships with your manager, director, and colleagues can be beneficial when you’re in line for a promotion. Do your best work, put forth your most positive self, and that promotion to supply chain manager could be yours. Another way is you can switch your job to some other organization as supply chain manager after gaining sufficient knowledge and experience at the entry level. Learning continuously in your domain and gaining credentials and experience is the roadmap to succeed as supply chain manager.
Supply chin manager is an excellent career if you have interest and knowledge in business processes. Apart from technical and management skills, interpersonal skills like communication, problem solving, etc. are necessary for the supply chain manager because a supply chain manager has to deal with various stakeholders like suppliers, clients, etc. Relevant certifications in supply chain domain like CPSM, CIPS, etc. can impart necessary skills to you and may boost up your chances of getting a good job in some prestigious organization. Follow the steps mentioned above and you will find yourself in the right path of becoming a successful supply chain manager.