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A supply chain manager is someone who is responsible for the management of equipment, hardware, and other logistical details of a company, or a company’s division. It is their job to manage all of the steps needed to purchase raw materials, deliver it to various points throughout the business, ensure that the company makes enough of its product to meet customer demand, and deliver the output to the right destinations on time.
Supply chain managers must oversee the import or creation of raw materials to be used by the company. They must be able to track the materials as they are combined, shaped, and altered to form new products. They must be able to monitor these items all throughout the product development process in order to ensure that adequate supplies are on hand. Lastly, they must develop a delivery system that will ensure maximum product creation and optimal shipments to customers or other manufacturers for further use.
Typically, the supply chain manager also needs to be well-versed in process management and development to have an adequate understanding of how the company functions. Ideally, the manager will be able to bring in fresh ideas that allow the company to deliver its products at higher quantities or at a faster rate to the market. These ideas might be as simple as reallocating employees within certain areas, to bringing in advanced technology so as to do a better job of tracking hundreds or even thousands of materials and parts.
The typical business setting for a supply chain manager is an office environment, in which the manager can oversee and analyze the day-to-day activities of the company. Managers may be located in a business setting, with other offices and cubicles, or they may be situated just off a manufacturing or engineering floor. They typically need to maintain close proximity to the production or manufacturing areas that they oversee.
Supply chain managers may be called upon to travel to other manufacturing sites if it they work for a company that has multiple locales. They may also need to visit new vendors or partners to find new means of production or management, whether that means finding new sources of raw materials, developing new production floors, or engaging new manufacturers who can further work with finished products.
Those interested in being a supply chain manager must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business or management. Nowadays, however, a master’s degree is becoming a more sought-after qualification for this position, especially a master’s in business administration. If this degree is accompanied by a concentration in operations, supply management, engineering, or finance, the applicant will be held in even higher regard going forward in the hiring process. Having an internship can be helpful to illustrate general experience and for getting a start on the corporate ladder to eventually get to this position.
Field certifications, in addition to an advanced degree, will also assist the applicant when seeking this type of position. Two of the most common ones are the CPM (Certified Purchasing Manager) and CPIM (Certification in Production and Inventory Management). Software certifications in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software such as Oracle or SAP will also provide an advantage over other applicants seeking the same position.