Supply Chain Managers

Supply chain management is a critical business function which forms the backbone on which stands the success of many new and upcoming and many established and traditional businesses., the E-commerce giant considers supply chain management its most important business driver, so does the giant car manufacturer Toyota. 

A ‘Supply Chain’ refers to the process through which a product is manufactured, distributed and consumed. It refers to the various stages that a product goes through till it’s consumed. The management of these activities to maximize consumer satisfaction and minimize costs is called Supply Chain Management. Practitioners of this discipline are called Supply Chain Managers. They plan, organize and manage the transfer of goods and services from its manufacturer to the consumer.

Supply Chain Management is a great career choice as it not only provides regular, well paying jobs but also gives professionals a lot of opportunities to grow. With the approach towards manufacturing products getting more scientific, there is a greater need of Supply Chain Managers who can come up with good designs for production and distribution that will not only cut costs, but also increase efficiency. Additionally, with the growth of E - Commerce, there is an even greater need for Supply Chain Managers. They are not only responsible for the supply of products but are also responsible for the supply of information about products such as status information, payment schedules and ownership titles. Supply Chain Managers can work in a variety of companies such as Food Manufacturing Companies, Electronics etc.

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What do Supply Chain Managers do?

The main aims of a Supply Chain Manager are to reduce the inventory, increase the speed of transactions and increase the revenue. Supply Chain Managers are involved in every stage of a product’s life. They help in making the plan and then develop it. They are involved in manufacturing and delivering the product. They are also responsible for the return of feedback and faulty products.

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One of the main jobs of a Supply Chain Manager is to create and design supply chains that help in cost reduction and profit maximization. These designs include how a product will be transported, where it will be transported, time available for each stage etc. These supply chain designs are the blueprint according to which all other departments involved in the production and distribution process work.

Supply Chain Managers are also actively involved in the management of inventory. The aim is to keep minimum inventory supplies. They are responsible for purchasing inventory and storing it. Supply Chain Managers aim to purchase the inventory at the cheapest price possible without decreasing the quality.

Supply Chain Managers are also responsible for keeping track of the whole manufacturing process and making sure the enough products are manufactured to meet the demand in the market. They also make sure that the supply does not exceed the demand for the product, as that will be harmful for the company. Depending upon the company, they oversee production alongwith Production Managers or even individually.

Analyzing inventory is another task that Supply Chain Managers perform. They perform quality control checks on the inventory and make sure that they are worth their cost. They study data to see whether the inventory is being used effectively or whether it is being wasted.

One of the main jobs of a Supply Chain Manager is to find and choose suppliers. Supply Chain Managers normally choose suppliers on the basis of their credibility and previous track record. This is an essential step, as choosing the right supplier can make the whole supply chain work smoothly as suppliers are the people who manufacture the inventory.

Supply Chain Managers are also involved in guiding and motivating their subordinates. They assign tasks, analyze the performance of their subordinates and advise them on how to improve the quality of their work.

Networking and building relationships is an essential task for Supply Chain Managers. They have to build good relations and be on friendly terms with everyone in the organization, as their main job is to coordinate all departments. They have to have great bonds with suppliers and establish a sense of trust.

How to become a Supply Chain Manager?

Supply Chain Managers are responsible for all the steps it takes to get a product to the consumer. This includes raw materials, manufacturing, processing, packaging, shipping, distribution, retail etc. Therefore, Supply Chain Managers need to be multi – talented with a strong knowledge base in all these areas. Becoming a Supply Chain Manager is not easy, but one can be successful with dedication and hard work.

Academics are important if you want to become a Supply Chain Manager. You need to concentrate on your studies from school itself. Subjects like English, Math, Economics, Business Studies and Economics are important. You should choose the Commerce stream after your 10th.

Once you complete your schooling, you should pursue a Bachelor’s course in business or even Supply Chain Management or a related field if it’s available at the undergraduate level. This is the basic requirement if you want to be in this industry. Even though a Master’s degree is not necessary, an MBA can help you get preference over other candidates in terms of job opportunities as well as salaries and ease your climb up the corporate ladder.

Most companies do not hire inexperienced candidates for the post of a Supply Chain Manager. Therefore, you should work as a trainee or an intern wherever possible and gain as much experience as you can. This will help you learn more about the job and give you more confidence.

Networking is an absolute necessity if you want to become a Supply Chain Manager. This is because the job of a Supply Chain Manager is very important for a company, and having good relations with people can get you jobs way more easily than others, as they would already have an idea about the way you work.

Another way of becoming a Supply Chain Manager is to apply in companies. You should be confident and apply wherever possible. You should send your resume even if there is no vacancy as this will give them a chance of contacting whenever there is an employment opportunity.

You can also choose to pursue Diploma or Certificate courses in Supply Chain Management and related fields. These courses will focus more on vocational training and give you an idea about what the job is like.


There are many institutions in India which provide quality education in Supply Chain Management and related fields. The IIMs are the best in the country for management. IIM, Calcutta provides a Post – Graduate Diploma course in Supply Chain Management. The Indian Institute of Materials Management, Mumbai has a great course in Supply Chain Management. It provides a M.B.A in Logistics and Supply Chain Management upon completion of the course.

What are the skills required to become a Supply Chain Manager?

Supply Chain Managers are multi – talented people who have a strong knowledge base in various fields. They need to have an analytical mind so that they can spot faults in processes and correct them. Supply Chain Managers should be able to make quick decisions and solve problems on the spot. They need to have excellent communication skills as they need to be in touch with various departments including suppliers, other managers etc. They also need to have impeccable social skills as establishing good relationships with people can make the work of a Supply Chain Manager so much easier. Supply Chain Managers also need to have the ability to lead and motivate their subordinates to perform better. They need to have excellent organizing and planning skills as the whole production process survives on their planning. They should have the ability to work in a team and build a sense of team spirit amongst all employees. Supply Chain Managers also need to have basic accounting skills which would help them analyze whether to cut costs or not and whether to increase or decrease manufacturing amounts. They should have basic geographical knowledge, as this will help them in managing the transport of inventory and products from one place to the other. Most of all, Supply Chain Managers need to possess the desire to organize and create a method through which quality products can be created at low costs.

Is this the right career for me?

Supply Chain Managers spend their whole lives in factories and warehouses. They normally have 9 – 5 jobs, but can be called to the office at any time of the day or night during emergencies. It is a job that requires them to constantly deal with a lot of people and coordinate their actions. Supply Chain Managers are constantly making changes to their processes and trying to improve them in whichever way possible.

So if your interest lies in the field of management and production, and if you’re willing to work hard to come up with processes that facilitate quality production, and if you’re looking for a job that is well paying with good growth opportunities, then this might be the right career for you.

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Production, Service and Supply Chain Management

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