What Is Supply Chain Management?
If you’ve ever heard of supply chain management, you might be wondering exactly what it is and how it fits into other areas of business. To find out the answer, we recently sat down with Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky, the president of Process & Strategy Solutions, who gave us some great insights into supply chains and how they impact the economy.
Here’s what she had to say about working in supply chain management.
What exactly is supply chain management?
Supply chain management is not a new concept, but it’s definitely a concept that has changed in recent years. At its core, it boils down to satisfying customer demands and finding the most efficient ways to get a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. For example, when you buy a phone, a supply chain is responsible for manufacturing that phone and for all of the steps involved in getting it delivered to you. In recent years, supply chains have become more complex than they used to be and this has led to new challenges. “Companies used to think they had basically one supply chain,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. “Now, because there is such an abundance of supply, we create supply chains to satisfy what customers value.” What this means is that companies require more processes in order to serve their customers better. The good news? With increased demands come increased opportunities for employment and career development.
What types of jobs are involved in supply chain management?
Supply chain management includes everything from data analysis to transportation management. The key to finding a role that is a good fit for you is knowing where your interests lie and then developing skill sets to match them. Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky recommends doing this by identifying what you’re passionate about: “What do you find yourself coming back to?” she asks. Whether that’s working with data, developing processes or working closely with other people, supply chain management involves all sorts of career options that could work for you.
Is supply chain management a cross-functional industry?
Because a supply chain has so many moving pieces, working in supply chain management absolutely involves some degree of cross-functionality. Although there is some variation depending on the role you pick — for example, a data analyst will likely have a less cross-functional position than a transportation manager — most roles in the industry do rely on team-oriented processes to deliver results.
Is supply chain management a good field for recent grads?
“Globalization has opened up more competition, leading to increased supply chain requirements,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky explains. As a result, there are now increased demands that can’t be met by the existing older workforce. “Baby boomers are leaving the workforce and few are being trained to take their places. On top of that, many were or are in legacy jobs that need to be updated for today’s realities,” she emphasizes. Because of these gaps, there is an immediate need for fresh talent to enter the field, not only to fill existing positions but also to help create new ones.
Working in supply chain management is an exciting chance to learn about the processes that power a consumer-driven economy. It’s also a great opportunity to participate in a field that is rapidly changing and evolving to serve a new generation of consumers. If turning that opportunity into action sounds like an exciting prospect, then supply chain management might just be for you.
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