Career Development

What Does a Supply Chain Manager Do?

Find out what a supply chain manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a supply chain manager.

Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the flow of goods and services from supplier to consumer. They work with a variety of stakeholders—from suppliers, vendors, distributors, and retailers—to ensure that products arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.

They may also be tasked with managing inventory levels, negotiating pricing or terms of sale, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Supply chain managers must have strong leadership skills and an understanding of supply chain management best practices.

Supply Chain Manager Job Duties

Supply chain managers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing and executing supply chain strategies that align with a company’s financial goals
  • Monitoring competitors’ activities and making strategic decisions based on competitor activity
  • Developing plans for the use of technology within the supply chain to increase efficiency and reduce costs
  • Establishing standards and procedures to ensure products are produced efficiently and effectively
  • Monitoring inventory levels and ordering replenishment supplies when necessary
  • Managing employee performance through coaching and providing feedback to ensure that goals are met
  • Preparing reports on supply chain activities to assist management in making effective business decisions
  • Analyzing data on customer demand, competitor activity, and labor costs to make informed business decisions
  • Ensuring that all aspects of the supply chain comply with relevant laws and regulations

Supply Chain Manager Salary & Outlook

Supply chain managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $90,100 ($43.32/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $139,000 ($66.83/hour)

The employment of supply chain managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for supply chain management services will continue to increase as companies seek to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Supply chain managers will be needed to oversee logistics and transportation planning, including the use of new technologies such as big data analytics.

Related: 25 Supply Chain Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Supply Chain Manager Job Requirements

A supply chain manager typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management or a related field is a requirement to become a supply chain manager. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Many aspiring supply chain managers choose to study business administration or supply chain management. Courses in these programs include supply chain management, business law, accounting, economics, finance, marketing, statistics and business communication.

Training & Experience: Supply chain managers typically receive on-the-job training in their new role. This training may include learning about the company’s specific processes and procedures, as well as the software and technology they use. Supply chain managers who have previous experience in a similar role may transfer their knowledge and skills to their new role.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers require supply chain managers to have additional certification. These professional credentials give supply chain managers a chance to advance their skills and learn about issues and trends affecting the industry.

Supply Chain Manager Skills

Supply chain managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Supply chain managers communicate with a variety of individuals and groups, including suppliers, customers, sales representatives, marketing teams and employees. Effective communication is an essential skill for supply chain managers, as it allows them to convey information clearly and build relationships with others.

Leadership: Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the work of several other managers and employees. Effective supply chain managers are able to provide direction and guidance to their teams, while also holding them accountable for their work. Supply chain managers can use their leadership skills to motivate their teams and encourage them to work to their full potential.

Problem-solving: Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the production and distribution of products and materials. They often work with a team of individuals from various departments, including production, marketing, sales and finance. Supply chain managers use their problem-solving skills to identify challenges and develop solutions to overcome them.

Decision-making: Supply chain managers are responsible for making decisions that affect the company’s supply chain. This includes deciding which suppliers to use, how to transport goods, how to store goods and how to sell goods. Supply chain managers need to be able to make effective decisions that help the company grow.

Collaboration: Supply chain managers work with a variety of individuals and teams, including suppliers, production teams, marketing teams and sales teams. They must be able to collaborate with others to develop strategies and solve problems.

Supply Chain Manager Work Environment

Most supply chain managers work in office settings, although some travel may be required to visit suppliers or customers. They typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally need to work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or to meet deadlines. Supply chain managers may experience high levels of stress due to the pressure to meet deadlines and to keep costs low. They must be able to work well under pressure and be able to make quick decisions.

Supply Chain Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how supply chain managers work. Supply chain managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Supply Chain Managers Need to Be More Agile

As businesses become more and more complex, the need for agile supply chain managers will continue to grow. Supply chain managers will need to be able to quickly adapt to changing conditions in order to keep their company running smoothly.

In order to be successful in this new environment, supply chain managers will need to be able to work well with a team and be comfortable with change. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with other departments within the company in order to get the information they need to make decisions.

More Collaboration Between Logistics and Sales

The trend of increased collaboration between logistics and sales is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for ways to improve efficiency. This means that supply chain managers will need to be familiar with both areas and be able to coordinate efforts between them.

By working together, logistics and sales can create a better understanding of each other’s needs and find ways to meet them. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and higher profits for the business.

Greater Focus on Sustainability

As businesses become more environmentally conscious, they are placing greater emphasis on sustainability. This is leading to a demand for supply chain managers who have experience in sustainability management.

Supply chain managers can capitalize on this trend by developing expertise in sustainability practices. They can also help to promote sustainability within their company by implementing programs and policies that encourage green practices.

How to Become a Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They are responsible for the smooth flow of goods and services from point A to point B, which means they need to be aware of all aspects of the supply chain. This includes everything from manufacturing to shipping to customer service.

To become a successful supply chain manager, you need to have a strong understanding of business operations and logistics. You also need to be able to work effectively with people at all levels of the organization. And finally, you need to be able to think strategically about how to improve processes and systems to make them more efficient.

Advancement Prospects

Supply chain managers typically start out in entry-level positions such as supply chain analyst or coordinator. With experience, they can advance to positions such as supply chain manager, director of supply chain management, or vice president of supply chain. Those who have a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management or a related field may have an advantage in getting promoted to these positions. In addition, supply chain managers with experience in a particular industry, such as healthcare or manufacturing, may be better qualified for management positions in that industry.

Supply Chain Manager Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for an experienced Supply Chain Manager to oversee and coordinate our company’s supply chain operations. The successful candidate will be responsible for the entire supply chain process, from procurement to distribution. They will also be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to improve our supply chain operations. The ideal candidate will have experience in supply chain management, as well as strong analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. They must also be able to effectively communicate with all levels of management.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement supply chain strategies that align with business goals
  • Oversee the procurement of materials, goods, and services to ensure quality and cost-effectiveness
  • Negotiate contracts with suppliers and vendors
  • Manage and monitor supplier performance to assess compliance with contractual agreements
  • Resolve issues with suppliers in a timely and effective manner
  • Identify opportunities for process improvement and cost reduction
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with key suppliers
  • Monitor trends in the marketplace to identify new sources of supply
  • Stay up to date on industry developments and best practices
  • Prepare reports for senior management on supply chain metrics
  • Supervise and manage supply chain staff
  • Train and develop supply chain team members

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, logistics, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in supply chain management or a similar role
  • Proven track record of streamlining processes and reducing costs
  • Strong understanding of transportation and warehousing systems
  • Excellent negotiation, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to lead and motivate a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business or logistics
  • 7+ years experience in supply chain management or a similar role
  • Working knowledge of SAP or a similar enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
  • Certification in supply chain management or a related field
  • Familiarity with Six Sigma or a similar process improvement methodology


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