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Role of Supply Chain Managers

Supply chain managers have a tremendous impact on the success of an organization. These managers are engaged in every facet of the business process – planning, purchasing, production, transportation, storage & distribution, customer service, and more! In short, these managers are the “glue” that connects the different parts of the organization. Their performance helps organizations control expenses, boost sales, and maximize profits.

Two additional roles focus on facilitation and collaboration. Because supply chain managers touch so many different parts of the business, they are in a unique position to help other functions execute their strategies. They are also called upon to diagnose and support the needs of external supply chain partners. Here are just a few examples of these cross-functional roles:

  • Effective selection and management of suppliers support lean manufacturing processes.
  • Efficient transportation & distribution practices bolster marketing campaigns.
  • Timely customer communication and technology-enabled visibility allows companies to monitor product flows and collaboratively respond to potential delivery problems.

Variety of Roles = Multiple Opportunities

What can all these different roles mean to you? Each role presents a different type of SCM career starting point for new college grads. Whether you prefer to work with a team of people to achieve tangible results, develop processes to improve performance, or apply technology to analyze data, there is a supply chain opportunity waiting for you! You will find these careers in a wide variety of organizations – manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, third party logistics firms, government agencies, and service firms. The array of companies needing supply chain expertise is nearly endless.

You should also realize that the nature of supply chain jobs varies greatly. At one end of the spectrum are operations-focused positions. These action-oriented roles involve the day-to-day management of people and product flows. You would likely be working in a distribution facility, port, terminal, or operations center. At the other end of the spectrum are planning-oriented positions. These office-based positions focus on supply management, demand forecasting, inventory control, performance analysis, or troubleshooting customer problems.

Regardless of your personality type, work style, or desired working location, there’s a supply chain career path for you. Check out the different job profiles that are provided in this section of the Careers website to figure out what piques your interests. Then, make an effort to learn more about the opportunities and educational requirements in that area of the supply chain.

© 2011 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals