A supply chain manager is in charge of overseeing and managing the complete flow of goods, services, money and information within the different departments of an organization. The primary function of these professionals is to study and develop a company’s supply chain strategy by analyzing operational performances and resolving logistical issues. Their work improves the efficiency of an organization’s supply chain by cutting back on expenditure. If you have practical communication skills, a systematic approach toward work and excellent negotiation skills, then the role of a supply chain manager might be a perfect fit for you.
Our career experts at Resume Now provide you with all the information needed to become a supply chain manager. We begin with an analysis of the three formats you can present your resume to create the best impression:
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Job duties of a supply chain manager
As a supply chain manager, you will oversee the flow of various goods and services, such as raw materials, semi-finished goods, and final products within and out of the organization. You will also analyze and forecast budgets, earnings and costs to determine the most efficient values for the company’s shipped products. The work also demands skills in effective communication and accomplished negotiation.
The following is a list of the job duties that a supply chain manager has to perform:
Analyzing data related to the business’s supply chain strategy, preparing reports, and presenting it to top management.
Frequenting manufacturing, production or engineering sites to oversee the production process for optimization.
Meeting and negotiating with vendors and wholesalers regarding the costs of raw materials, services, and the finished products’ price, respectively.
Determining the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the company’s supply chain strategy to formulate standards for measuring success.
Collaborating with different company departments such as finance, sales, operations and manufacturing to formulate a supply chain strategy.
Identifying process bottlenecks in the supply chain and coming up with solutions to improve the overall effectiveness of the production process.
Networking with vendors, service providers, wholesalers, partners and other external stakeholders to maintain good professional connections.
Scheduling tasks for employees from various departments, assessing their productivity and providing feedback to improve the supply chain’s strategy.
Overseeing that all industry standards and legally required standards surrounding the final product are fulfilled.
Ensuring the employees and the company, in general, meet all legal compliances for any imports or exports.
Supply chain managers median salary
According to PayScale, the median salary for a supply chain manager in the U.S. as of April 2021 stands at $83,977. With experience, the pay increases and supply chain managers with over twenty years in the field earn as high as $95,057.
Top skills for supply chain managers
A supply chain manager is a vital member of the supply leadership team and manages inventory while improving production processes. The role focuses on building robust strategies through plans, feedback and goals aligned between all stakeholders. You will also be managing the facility’s supply chain functions, including scheduling, materials, formulations, traffic and shipping and receiving. Likewise, you must provide analysis, counsel, advice and recommendations to assist the company in achieving goals and objectives. Let’s explore the skills you'll need to accomplish these responsibilities:
- Leadership As a member of the supply leadership team, you'll provide strategic direction. Your duty will be to lead a team that delivers quality work through solid collaboration and innovative problem-solving approaches and guides them to operate following planned budgets and strategies. You’ll also be directing warehousing activities and ensuring they adhere to governmental safety and health regulations and personnel policies and procedures. Ideally, a supply chain manager balances a team’s and an individual’s responsibilities while building group morale to accomplish goals and objectives. In short, in this position, you'll be expected to manage a team of direct reports through motivating and leading, providing performance feedback, coaching, staffing to business needs and resolving personnel issues.
- Project management You must also be proficient in project management. This skill is crucial for prioritizing and planning work activities, managing resources, setting goals and objectives and organizing or scheduling other people and their tasks. You must develop realistic action plans to prioritize and delegate work under constantly shifting business needs. As you can imagine, managing and prioritizing a high volume of work in a fast-paced environment requires you to be agile and adaptable to changing priorities. To effectively accomplish this, you must be familiar and adept at applying project management principles and techniques such as Lean, Agile and SCRUM methodology.
- Detail orientated and problem-solving Excellent attention to detail and commitment to quality are necessary to succeed in a supply chain manager role. The ability to pay attention to detail while understanding the “big picture” can aid you when making decisions promptly.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills You need excellent verbal and written communication skills to present clear and concise goals and strategies to varying levels within the organization. You’ll need the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, verbally and in writing, at all levels because you must create and generate valuable reports for use in reviewing activity, evaluating processes and identifying opportunities for improvement. You must also display an ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve successful outcomes. After all, you'll be working with program managers, business leaders and the executive team to communicate and impact critical business initiatives.
- Business administration skills As a supply chain manager, you'll be in charge of administrative tasks. This role is responsible for directing the overall supply chain operations, including purchasing inventory, vendor selection and distribution of finished goods. These may include process planning such as inventory management, managing all shipments, evaluating business needs and challenging demand, anticipating significant changes to supply needs and determining optimal suppliers for each product category. The role includes managing vendor relationships by resolving late or incorrect shipments and creating a preferred customer relationship with strategic suppliers.
- Improvement minded As a supply chain manager, you won't only be developing a strategy for accurate production performance, but you'll also be responsible for improving the process. You might need to define the program (mission, vision, tenets), set objectives, analyze data and drive quantifiable improvements with metrics. You'll have to perform this autonomously in an ambiguous environment, seeking to understand business problems, automation limitations, scaling factors, boundary conditions and reasons behind leadership decisions. To do this, you will also need to analyze changes or new issues in materials and supplies while seeking ways to reduce costs, improve quality and improve operational efficiency.
- Data analytics and optimization Part of this position is to improve the production and inventory processes. To do this effectively, you must be proficient at data mining and data analysis, with advanced proficiency in Microsoft Excel. Analytical tools such as SQL, Tableau, SAP or Microsoft Access are also helpful. You’ll be applying this knowledge to maintain purchasing and inventory data in applicant tracking systems and communicate the latest production forecast to strategic planning, operations, purchasing and more. You’ll be developing, tracking and improving key performance metrics consistent with business objectives and developing long-term capacity plans.
Supply chain manager education and certifications
DegreeThis role requires a bachelor’s degree in supply chain or operations management, business, engineering or related fields (which may include subject matter expertise in the company’s industry you want to work for). Also, to be considered for the role, you must have between three to seven years of experience in a similar position.
If you're looking for a degree for the role, Lehigh University and Michigan State University have bachelor's degrees in Supply Chain Management. Meanwhile, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has a B.S. in Logistics and Supply Chain Management you can consider. You might also consider Arizona State University’s Supply Chain Management, Operations Management and Manufacturing Engineering majors.
Keep in mind that most employers will consider a combination of education and work experience, so any equivalent combination can still get you the job. However, the pay you get depends on your qualifications, job experience and active certifications.
CertificationsYou don't need any licenses to become a supply chain manager, but some certifications can increase your competitiveness in the field and improve your pay grade.
Universities and colleges: Some colleges and universities offer certifications for specific topics. Central Lakes College, for example, provides a certification to become a Microsoft Office Professional. Mesa Community College also provides certifications in Data Analytics, Project Management and Organizational Management. Harvard Business Review offers a course on Strategy Planning and Execution to develop strategy implementation techniques.
Organizations and associations: The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) has certifications in supply chain management you can consider, such as Planning and Inventory Management, Supply Chain Professional and Logistics and Transportation and Distribution. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is another organization that offers certifications. They pride themselves on providing the most recognized certifications in supply management, the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and the Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD).
For-profit online education companies: Companies such as Coursera partner with renowned universities and companies to provide courses, specializations and certifications in a wide variety of areas. Relevant to a supply chain manager is the specialization in Supply Chain Finance and Blockchain Technology Specialization and their course on Supply Chain Principles.
Supply chain manager resume-writing tips
These tips focus on crafting your resume to the demands of the industry of supply chain management. They help you curate your resume to express your technical, soft skills, professional experiences, education and training background in a presentable and convincing manner.
The resume-writing tips for securing a job as a supply chain manager are as follows:
- Emphasize more on your experience than your education: Unless you have graduated recently and do not have any professional experience, it is always better to emphasize your professional experiences. While a good education might give you an understanding of the concepts you must know on paper; only actual work experience can provide you with the skills to apply what you learned.
- Do not overcomplicate your resume: A common mistake is to use an excessive amount of professional jargon in a resume. The usage of such terms can be a source of frustration for interviewers.
- Highlight your accomplishments with numbers: A vague description of the efforts you made in your career while working at a particular organization is usually not enough. Such a definition does not do justice to the degree of your accomplishments and your future potentialities. Instead, make use of figures to support the facts you are claiming in your resume. For example, instead of simply stating that your work as a supply chain manager at a previous organization saved money, mention the exact figure you could keep from your supply chain strategy analysis.
What is the difference between a supply chain manager and a logistics manager?
A supply chain manager oversees the movement of products, information and cash across the organization. On the other hand, logistics concerns itself solely with the physical movement of goods as they are transformed from the raw material in the initial stages to the final product. Hence, logistics is a subset of supply chain management.
While a logistics manager might not be necessary for a small enterprise, larger businesses feel the need for a logistics manager and a supply chain manager due to extensive processes within the organization. When this happens, a logistics manager is needed to assist a supply chain manager in his work.
Does a career in supply chain management demand a lot of traveling?
Traveling is a significant part of the job profile of a supply chain manager. They oversee the organization's supply chain strategy, managing the various steps to transform the raw materials to the finished product. These operations can take place at different locations, thus prompting the need for travel. If the final product ships, the supply chain manager might also need to participate in international expeditions to fulfill his job duties.