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Staff Writers
Updated December 18, 2020

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Anyone who wants to become a supply chain manager will need the right skills, education, and personality. Supply chain management skills can be cultivated through working in the field of logistics and an education can be gained through completing a bachelor's degree in operations, procurement, warehouse or supply chain management.

Get a Supply Chain Management Degree

In order to compete with other applicants in the fast-paced world of supply chain management, job candidates must have the right qualifications. A degree in supply chain management is the best way of learning how to effectively streamline logistical operations and supply chain flows. These degrees produce supply chain management professionals who know how to organize internal processes, efficiently improve functions and remain competitive in the eyes of customers. There are courses on global logistics, distribution systems, international transportation and warehousing fundamentals.

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Courses introduce students to the basic operations of supply chain management and how transformation processes create value, reduce costs and streamline efficiency. There are courses on how to impact supply chain efficiency with decision-making tools and performance models. Classes in quality-related management concepts focus on enhancing goods, productivity, timeliness and customer service. Students learn how to handle complex business environments through technology solutions like capacity resource planning (CRP), materials resource planning (MRP) and master production scheduling (MPS).

Work in Supply Chain Management

There is a wide range of entry-level jobs in the field of supply chain management. The most common job titles include import, export, trade and logistics coordinator or specialist. These office employees handle the documentation and administration of various shipments. They may work for customs brokers, warehouses, distribution centers, third-party logistics providers and import or export companies. They may handle inventory levels, accuracy, and reconciliations. They will measure and report on the effectiveness of logistical activities.

They must understand supply chain procedures in order to successfully transition products between overseas suppliers, shipping lines, ports, warehouses, and customers. Logistics coordinators may help develop strategies to improve the quality of service, departmental efficiency, and documentation consistency. They monitor KPI's to track the performance of assigned logistics processes in order to ensure continuous improvement. They spend most of their time conferring with internal and external customers and coordinating activities between organizations.

Develop the Right Skills

Supply chain management professionals must know how to develop and monitor complex schedules and spreadsheets. They must be proficient in database systems, warehouse management systems and Microsoft Office suite. They must know how to create customized reports and presentations that support decisions, recommend solutions and expose chronic problems. They must understand how to leverage inventory management opportunities to improve profitability, reduce costs and streamline enterprise-wide processes.

Supply chain management professionals may choose to focus on the comprehensive supply chain cycle, or they may specialize in an area like warehousing or customs clearance. Employers who job candidates who can apply their problem-solving techniques and strong statistical skills to understand data, resolve issues and identify new opportunities. Experience in a support role with responsibility for multiple, time-sensitive customer accounts will be helpful.

A supply chain manager can increase their job marketability through earning industry-recognized credentials, such as the Green Belt Lean certification or the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification.

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

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