What Careers are in Supply Chain Management?

The careers in supply chain management are diverse and exciting. Those who work in the fields of logistics and supply chain management field ensure that goods are delivered to businesses and consumers. Proper supply chain management in all industries is a primary driver of economic expansion and development.

Logistics Analyst

Logistics analysts support supply chain operations through analyzing data, scheduling transportation and processing shipping paperwork, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For instance, they analyze shipping reports, contractual documents, carrier feedback and customer usage data. Depending on the industry, they may analyze customer characteristics, industry trends and competitor practices. Their ultimate goal is to identify and extrapolate facts that will optimize supply chain performances. They develop logistical tactics to enhance the distribution of shipments. To illustrate, a notoriously congested railroad hub will need trucker drivers who do not charge for standby or wait times. Thus, logistics analysts seek new ways to improve quality and cost control through network and inventory adjustments.

Inventory Control Manager

Inventory control managers oversee essential distribution processes and functions across multiple facilities or departments. They are responsible to deliver products according to contract, perform inventory metrics, maintain cost-cutting measures and develop operational improvement programs. Every day, they maintain contact with clients, drivers, warehouses, customs brokers, shipping forwarders and logisticians. They are tasked with continually solving difficult logistical conundrums, such as when the client’s international containers are rolled off the ship, because of weight restrictions. They ensure all incoming and outgoing inventory processes are accurately documented. They perform monthly inventory checks and audits to ensure compliance with customer expectations. They are responsible for identifying and solving the root causes of inventory discrepancies.

International Buyer

International buyers are logistics experts who procure and manage various global shipments. They perform many duties, including freight forwarding, contract negotiation, competitive bidding, long-term carrier strategies. They must have excellent interpersonal skills because their success depends on the ability to establish beneficial contracts and maintain ongoing carrier relationships. As in the previous example, a handful of containers that are delayed at an international port will accrue between two to three hundred dollars of demurrage costs per container as well as the drayage costs of returning the containers to the distribution center. In order to solve this problem, international buyers will most likely sell the goods to a different customer.

Supply Chain Consultant

Supply chain consultants manage commercial projects that involve different regions, products and global customers. Their goal is to deliver quantifiable and sustainable feedback that supports growth, streamlines processes and increases customer satisfaction. As in the previous example, a congested shipping port will delay containers and cause financial penalties from port authorities. Therefore, a supply chain consultant would research and identify permanent solutions that are both efficient and cost-effective. In this scenario, they would gather business intelligence, perform a value analysis and map out the supply chain process. To solve the problem, they may negotiate a more favorable shipping contract with shipping lines and if necessary, source for alternative suppliers and uncongested ports.

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In closing, one of the most common careers in supply chain management is supply chain manager. There are responsible to manage functional areas and teams within specific supply chain areas. They will regularly perform scheduling, distribution, receiving analysis, demand planning and inventory management duties.