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Top 5 Careers in Supply Chain Management

Sponsored by, Unilever

If you’re interested in supply chain management, then you know that it’s an exciting field with plenty of career opportunities. In fact, from manufacturing to data analysis, there are very few areas of business that supply chain management doesn’t touch upon. With so many roles and career paths, finding a position that matches your interests and experience might seem a bit overwhelming. But with a little bit of research and a clear understanding of the field, it’s possible to find a role that will be a great fit for you.

Here are the top five careers in supply chain management.

1. Manufacturing

Since supply chains begin with the process of manufacturing and end with getting the product into the hands of the consumer, manufacturing jobs are among the most important in the field. One of the most popular roles within manufacturing is a production manager, a position that oversees the manufacture of products in a plant. Among other duties, production managers are responsible for coordinating production schedules, determining how long the manufacturing process of a product will take and keeping track of the inventory of finished products. In addition to more senior roles like this one, manufacturing also has great entry-level opportunities such as that of a materials analyst who keeps track of inventory or a materials scheduler who coordinating materials with productions schedules.

2. Data analysis

Data management is another key component in supply chains and being able to analyze and understand this data helps supply chains work efficiently. “If you like playing with data, you could be a data analyst, data acquisition engineer, data manager, data administrator or statistician,” explains Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky, the president of Process & Strategy Solutions and an expert on supply chains. In fact, according to Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky, data analysis and management is one of the most popular career options within supply chain management since all of the processes involved in serving consumers have to be data-driven to be effective.

3. Procurement

Another supply chain career path with a lot of opportunities is procurement. Focusing primarily on identifying and purchasing the raw materials needed to create products, procurement is a key part of what keeps supply chains going. Among the entry-level opportunities in procurement are positions like procurement analyst and procurement officer, roles that focus on one specific aspect of purchasing. At the more senior level, there are purchasing managers who oversee the purchasing decisions for an entire organization.

4. Transportation

Getting products into the hands of consumers is the main goal of a supply chain. And meeting that goal would not be possible without transportation. As a result, there are many exciting career opportunities related to transportation including entry-level roles like a transportation analyst or logistics analyst and more senior roles like being a transportation manager. Although there is certainly some variation in the responsibilities of these positions, they all have one primary focus: getting products from the factory to the consumer.

5. Customer service

Last but not least is customer service. Always a crucial part of any interaction between a business and a consumer, customer service positions ensure that customers are satisfied with the products they receive. Like with other supply chain fields, there are many career opportunities within customer service including entry-level roles like being an account specialist at a logistics firm, working to coordinate product shipments and resolve customer issues. At the more senior level, customer service career opportunities include being a customer service manager and overseeing the satisfaction of a company’s entire client base.

Supply chains are an integral part the American economy and new supply chains and processes are being created every day. As a result, there are a lot of job opportunities available in each of the five major fields (and beyond). Not sure how to determine which opportunity is right for you? “Pick an area of supply chain that interests you and read up on it,” Dr. Kalina-Kaminsky advises. And once you’ve done that, consider taking on an internship to get a hands-on feel for what supply chain management really looks like.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 7 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You a Second Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here?