The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Supply Chain Management
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already decided that a career in the logistics and supply chain management field would be perfect for you. Well, in this field,where the job opportunities are nearly endless, there are a number of skills and abilities that — if you possess them — could make your career a long and successful one.
Most of these skills and abilities can be learned or acquired while on the job, but you might just miss the opportunity to grow in your career if you don’t know what they are. We have taken the liberty of highlighting 4 of these skills, along with potential opportunities for improving or acquiring them:
1 . Interpersonal skills and embracing the power of networking
The supply chain department can’t operate on its own –constant input from other departments,as well as knowledge of other departments’ functions and tasks, is necessary in order to run a smooth, optimally functioning supply chain department.
One of the best ways for someone working in the supply chain environment to ensure that they’re on top of what’s happening is to build work relationships with colleagues, suppliers, and other stakeholders that they come into contact with while on the job. For example, just by having a conversation with your co-worker from the production department, you might pick up on something that directly influences the supply chain process. This could give you the opportunity to impress your boss with your pro-active behaviour and problem solving skills – which is an opportunity that no-one should miss out on!
Networking with others in your field (and related fields)will also help you to spot opportunities for improvement and even revenue increases. Engage in a bit of small talk with someone when attending a business meeting or work function, and you could be talking to your next procurement manager or assistant.
In the end, when it comes to building relationships and businesses, the better your understanding of the people that you work with, the better you will actually work together and perform as a team.
2. The ability to work with a lot of information at once –including the ability to analyse and interpret data
Most systems in the supply chain field are data and process driven – meaning that you need to be able to interpret and analyse the data that you work with quickly and accurately. Strong mathematical skills will help you in this regard, so be sure to include a few mathematics or statistics modules in your future skills development plan.
Other than mathematical skills, supply chain professionals should also be able to interpret complex data to formulate theories and draw logical conclusions. For example: based on the available data, would an investment in Project A or Project B be more likely to increase efficiency?
It is widely known that if you possess strong mathematical and analytical skills, you will be invaluable to any employer in the supply chain industry.
3. Problem solving skills
Supply chain management is basically one big problem that needs to be solved. Challenging yourself to think in logical steps every single day will help you enormously in finding the most logical ways to do your job, and also to formulate better, smoother, and more efficient supply chain systems.
A simple way to exercise your problem solving skills is to work them into your hobbies or spare time activities. Sudoku, for example, is an excellent puzzle-solving game. Other games or puzzles that will help to exercise your brain include chess, crossword puzzles, and Tetris. Now you know that developing your skills can be fun, too!
4. Knowledge of the business environment
For you to have a successful career in the logistics and supply chain management industry, you need to learn as much as possible about the manner in which businesses operate— both on an operational and a managerial level. Make an effort to get to know the various stakeholders in the supply chain process (e.g. suppliers, customers, competitors, other departments), and make sure that you understand how they all influence the supply chain function.
Ask for regular (weekly, if possible) meetings to be scheduled between the department heads in your organisation, and use this platform to discuss any new developments or challenges that each department is facing.
Start your career in supply chain management
Want to find out more about how you can prepare for a successful career in supply chain management? Click here to view the part-time supply chain, logistics and shipping courses available at Oxbridge Academy.
Already qualified in this field? Apply for the latest supply chain jobs on Job Mail.