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10 Supply Chain Management Careers

By DeVry University

February 22, 2023

6 min read

If you’re interested in supply chain management careers, it’s important to start by understanding what it means to work in this field.

Supply chain management (SCM) is the complex process manufacturers use to control the sourcing and handling of the materials they need to produce their products. This end-to-end logistical operation begins with the analysis and purchase of amorphous raw materials and ends with delivery of a fully functional product to a customer or retailer.

Effective SCM helps manufacturers and others reduce the cost of producing, shipping, handling, storing and insuring products in direct or indirect distribution channels to be more competitive and maintain positive relationships with consumers.

Careers in supply chain management include overseeing logistics, production management and purchasing among other interrelated roles, and are all dedicated to the monitoring, management and implementation of SCM. In this article, we will describe 10 supply chain management careers, discuss the outlook for growth and review the education you may need to pursue this career path.

1. Supply Chain Manager

According to Indeed, the primary goal of this supply chain management career is to reduce costs while streamlining manufacturing efficiencies with an eye toward increasing profitability. While managing the supply chain from all vantage points, the duties of a supply chain manager include:

  • Sourcing raw materials

  • Developing strategic plans

  • Managing distribution

  • Supervising production

  • Establishing disposal protocols

2. Logistics Manager

Logistics managers also have broad oversight responsibilities in the supply chain, but with duties that are more focused on purchasing and how a company distributes the products it makes. Some of their common duties include:

  • Negotiating shipping rates.

  • Establishing schedules for inbound and outbound shipments.

  • Supervising a team of other logistics professionals.

  • Managing the overall importing and exporting processes.

  • Coordinating with other departments to make improvements or overcome obstacles in the shipping process.

3. Transportation Manager

Transportation managers or transportation directors typically supervise a fleet of delivery drivers and the vehicles they use. They are responsible for creating work schedules for the drivers and planning the routes they’ll take to make sure the product arrives on time. Transportation directors also have to ensure the safe operation and reliability of all of the equipment and vehicles their drivers use, and that everything is in compliance with applicable regulations, such as those enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

4. Logistics Analyst

Logistics analysts oversee every step in the production lifecycle. They look for ways to improve processes, streamline operations and reduce manufacturing costs starting from when materials are obtained to when they leave the warehouse. Their work may also include forecasting of necessary warehousing space, vehicles, materials and personnel to ensure the company’s ability to meet consumer demand.

5. Operations Research Analyst

As detailed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations research analysts help organizations solve problems and make informed decisions in logistics and other areas. Their duties may include:

  • Collecting input from workers or knowledgeable professionals.

  • Organizing information from databases, sales records and customer feedback.

  • Analyzing relevant data to problem solve.

  • Developing and testing quantitative models, support software and analytical tools to help improve business operations.

  • Writing, reports and other documentation to explain their findings and provide recommendations.

6. Purchasing Manager

Purchasing managers are responsible for buying the materials and services the company needs to make its products. Their day-to-day responsibilities may include:

  • Identifying suppliers, forming new partnerships and negotiating contracts with them.

  • Keeping track of inventory levels and managing the disposal of outdated materials.

  • Analyzing the company’s purchasing needs and implementing strategies for obtaining them.

  • Building, training and managing teams of purchasing agents or buyers.

7. Production Manager

The production manager’s primary duties are focused on keeping a company’s production operations running smoothly. Production managers identify ways to improve their company or team’s productivity, maintain equipment and approve equipment upgrades. They also may work with other department heads to establish quality improvement goals.

8. Commodity Manager

Commodity managers help manufacturers reduce the cost of raw materials such as steel, grain, gasoline, lumber, plastic and minerals that are used in manufacturing processes. They help the company improve profit margins, reduce risks and solve supply chain problems by tracking and analyzing market conditions to identify the best times to buy or sell certain materials. 

9. Facilities Manager

Facilities managers maintain and manage the daily operations of facilities such as offices or research complexes. They inspect and maintain critical electrical, plumbing and air conditioning and heating systems and may also supervise security staff. They may also be in charge of:

  • Monitoring spaces such as offices and conference rooms, as well as delegating cleaning and maintenance tasks. 

  • Preparing facilities for adverse weather conditions.

  • Working with contractors to schedule routine inspections and emergency repairs.

  • Performing routine maintenance on facilities.

  • Creating reports that keep supervisors and other staff members informed of various safety and maintenance concerns.

10. Cost Estimator

Usually specializing in a particular industry, cost estimators are tasked with managing all of the elements that are needed when manufacturing a product. To do this, they collect and analyze data regarding budgets, materials and labor costs using blueprints or other related documents. They also collaborating with other professionals in the supply chain, such as engineers and purchasing or procurement managers. Their regular duties may include:

  • Recognizing factors that may influence costs

  • Calculating and reviewing estimates

  • Highlight ways of cutting costs in current and future projects

  • Keep track of both estimated and final cost records 

Supply Chain Management Career Outlook

This may be an advantageous time to be thinking about a supply chain management career. The BLS projects employment of logisticians to grow 28% on a national level from 2021 to 2031, which is substantially faster than average for all occupations.1 They also project growth of 23%, on a national level, for operations research analysts during this same time period,2 attributing the increased demand for efficiency. Improvements in analytical software is also driving the increasing need for companies to hire knowledgable employees to help them make data-based decisions.

Education Needed to Pursue a Career in Supply Chain Management

What education will you need to pursue your supply chain management career? The BLS notes that some positions may only require logisticians to hold an associate degree, but, due to the complexities of supply chains, companies typically prefer to hire workers who’ve earned at least a bachelor’s degree in logistics, supply chain management, business or a related field.

At DeVry, we offer online degree and certificate programs that can help prepare you to pursue a career in supply chain management, give you the opportunity to learn from professors who bring real-world experience to the classroom and help you develop many of the skills you’ll need to work in supply chain-dependent industries like manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and transportation.

Explore our undergraduate and graduate-level programs in Global Supply Chain Management: 

Take the First Step Toward Your Supply Chain Management Career

A degree or certificate in global supply chain management can prepare you to pursue careers such as logistician, purchasing manager or transportation manager. At DeVry, we can help you learn to analyze and coordinate supply chains, plan and direct transportation, purchase goods and solve logistical problems to keep supply chains running. Our online degree and certificate programs are taught using our tech-empowered learning approach, enabling you to learn on your schedule and balance your commitment to education with the other aspects of your busy life. Let’s talk about how you can get started in our next session. Classes start every 8 weeks. 

1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location.
2Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location.

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