5 Job Duties of a Supply Chain Manager

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Staff Writers
Updated September 4, 2020

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Supply Chain Manager Job Duties

  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Planning and Analysis
  • Inventory Control
  • Management

Regardless of the industry, a supply chain manager will have similar job duties. Supply chain managers are prepared for these duties through earning a bachelor's degree in logistics, business administration or supply chain management.

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Effective supply chain management is impossible without proper communication. Supply chain managers need to have the ability to professionally communicate with all types of people via phone, email, face-to-face and videoconference interactions. They need to have the ability to negotiate shipping prices and transportation arrangements with contracted providers. They must maintain clear and consistent communication with suppliers, vendors, and shipping contacts throughout the procurement lifecycle. They must know how to proactively engage suppliers in identifying potential issues, resolutions and opportunities. They must know how to develop communication solutions that create value, decrease problems and preemptively solve consistent issues.


Supply chain managers negotiate contracts and rates with shipping lines, freight forwarders, customs house brokers, warehouse managers and related third-party logical service providers. They must ensure that appropriate import and export compliance procedures are followed by employees and contracted service providers. They must execute industry standard policies related to quality, safety, and process improvements. They should be familiar with U.S. Customs and Border Protection practices, the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Supply chain managers ensure that designated freight forwarders and customs house brokers follow established processes and procedures.

Planning and Analysis

Supply chain managers develop and maintain various supply chain plans and strategies. This may involve coordinating and overseeing manufacturing operations in order to forecast orders and meet customer demands. They must optimize operational resources while executing cost reductions and inventory controls. They conduct monthly capacity and performance analyses to ensure that forecasts and schedules are aligned and integrated. They execute demand flow verification processes, engage in short- and long-term planning and conduct inventory analyses for warehouse utilization and manufacturing coordination. Supply chain managers must be comfortable using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and warehouse management systems (WMS).

Inventory Control

Inventory control is a common job duty for supply chain managers with purchasing manager duties. They support growth objectives through the development of concise metrics and reporting functions. They are responsible for conducting risk assessments on things like product perishability, supply trends, demand factors and at-risk product mitigation. They reduce product obsolescence through inventory reviews and re-balancing efforts. They must maintain a total cost perspective with a lean manufacturing mindset. They must identify obsolescence drivers and effectively communicate solutions to third-party logistics providers. They generate daily, weekly and monthly reports to provide stakeholders with actionable data and insights regarding current stock levels by category and location.


Supply chain managers promote the design, development, and implementation of warehouse, distribution and logistics solutions. They manage labor costs, personnel productivity, inventory levels, data accuracy and stocking strategies. They measure and report on the effectiveness of departmental activities and operations. They often create and maintain safety work instructions and standard operating procedures. Supply chain managers establish and adjust work procedures to meet warehouse demands, production schedules, established workflows and OSHA safety guidelines. They implement strategies to improve service quality, employee efficiency, equipment performance and interdepartmental communication.

A supply chain manager is usually expected to improve warehouse operations through the use of lean enterprise practices and share warehouse data to improve productivity, quality and customer service standards.

See also: Best Affordable Master's and MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management Degree Online Programs

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