January 16, 2021
Supply chain careers

Supply Chain Careers : The Absolute Guide Career Path 2020

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Supply chain careers

 

Supply Chain Careers : 

The Absolute Guide on Supply chain Career Path 

supply chain careers


Supply chain careers enthusiasts have lot of queries around what are the supply chain careers path, what are the various types of roles  in supply chain function and what are the activities that supply chain professionals do.

Purpose of this article is to provide answers to all these queries and improve understanding of supply chain careers, roles and career path.

Supply chain function has three sub categories- Sourcing, Planning and Logistics and Customer Service. There are four levels of roles and responsibilities  in these sub- categories- Senior leadership, Leadership , Middle Management and Entry level roles. 

Various supply chain careers roles are explained as follows:

1. Head of Supply Chain Function 

Role- Senior Leadership and member of Leadership Team

Key Responsibilities  :

  1. Lead, guide and support supply chain strategy and function to deliver business goals
  2. Develop supply chain leaders and team competencies to meet functional objectives

Key skills: Strategic agility, navigate complexity & strong functional and team leadership.

 

supply chain careers

 

a. Sourcing Function

Sourcing is Procurement  of Raw materials and Packaging Materials which are directly used in production of Finished goods. Key activities include Market Demand and supply assessment, Supplier selection, Pricing negotiation and contract management. Material is to be ensured with high availability, best quality & lowest total cost of ownership.

Sourcing function Supply chain careers ladder starts from operational buyer role at entry level, move upwards to strategic buyer role, then to category lead managing a team of buyers, strategic sourcing role driving continuous improvements to leadership role of Head of Sourcing function.

Supply chain careers roles for sourcing :

1. Head- Sourcing 

Role – Leadership

Key Responsibilities :

a. Lead sourcing strategy and engage with Senior management team to deliver business goals

b. Guide and support sourcing team to meet the objectives of ensuring material availability at the right quality at the right cost

Key skills: Team leadership and Strategy execution, business alignment and supplier relationship management

 

2.Head- Strategic sourcing 

Role :  Middle to Leadership level

Key Responsibilities :

a. Drive continuous improvement initiatives in Sourcing function to improve supply service levels

b. Develop alternate vendors, material substitution and localization initiatives to streamline supplies and reduce the total procurement cost

Key skills: Sourcing industry knowledge, leading best practices initiatives and project management.

 

3. Head- Raw Materials 

Role – Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Lead Raw Material sourcing strategy, planning and supplier management to deliver best value to the business

b. Guide and support category Raw Material team to meet the objectives of ensuring material availability at the most optimal cost

Key skills: Strategy execution, supplier management and team leadership

 

supply chain careers

 

 

4. Head – Packing Material

Role – Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Lead Packaging Material sourcing strategy, planning and supplier management to deliver best value to the business

b. Guide and support category packing team to meet the objectives of ensuring material availability at the most optimal cost

Key skills: Strategy execution, supplier management and team leadership

 

5. Operational buyer

Role- Entry Level

Key Responsibilities:

a. Share  Purchase order with suppliers and ensuring material delivery as per agreed service levels 

b.  Coordinate with plant stakeholders to ensure material availability as per production plan

Key skills: Action oriented, Vendor  and Crisis Management

 

6. Strategic Buyer  

Role- Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities:

a. Demand Analysis , supply scenario assessment and  vendor selection.

b. Contract management and resolution of repeat issues with suppliers.

Key skills: Category Market research, negotiation and supplier management

 

7. Raw Material Buyer 

Role- Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Purchase Raw materials like food ingredients from vendors as per production requirement

b. Demand and supply assessment, vendor selection and contract management

Key Skills: Category Market Research, Supplier Management  and Negotiation.

 

8. Packing Material buyer

Role- Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Purchase Packing materials like laminates, carton box and shipper etc. from vendors as per production requirement

b. Demand and supply assessment, vendor selection and contract management

Key Skills: Category Market Research, Supplier Management  and Negotiation

 

 

b. Planning Function : 

Planning function is responsible to plan activities in a way that right product is available in the right quantity and at right time for the customers and consumers. It plans for finished goods production at product level basis the demand requirement and inventory stock levels.

Materials are planned basis production requirement and targeted inventory levels. It estimates Demand using Demand planning tools, arrange for supplies using supply planning activities by ensuring capacity, materials and inventories to meet and service the demand requirement.

Supply chain careers in Planning connects all the functions using Integrated Business planning process with Portfolio Management Review, Demand management review, Supply management review, Finance and Integrated reconciliation review and Management business review.

 

Planning function Supply chain careers ladder starts from plant planning roles at entry level, progress  upwards to demand and supply planning roles, then inventory and capacity planning roles, IBP and excellence roles driving continuous improvements to  leadership role of Head of Planning function.

 

Supply chain careers roles for Planning :

 

1. Head- Demand and Supply planning

Role – Leadership

Key Responsibilities :

a. Proactively engage with management team to share full visibility and report on demand and supply planning function

b. Guide and support demand planning, supply planning and factory teams to meet the objectives of ensuring availability, optimizing inventory at the lowest possible cost

Key skills: Customer focus, comfort with higher management and strategic planning

 

2. IBP Leader

Role – Middle to Leadership Level 

Key Responsibilities :

a. Guide and own entire Integrated business planning process from portfolio review, demand review, supply review, financial review to management review.

b. Assess the quality of all the processes and take continuous actions for improvement

Key skills: Cross functional collaboration, process improvement and comfort with higher management

 

3.New Product Launch Activity Manager

Role – Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Plan and Deliver New product launch activities with timelines along with all cross functional stakeholders

b. Identify bottlenecks and resolve them to meet the targeted timelines

Key Skills: Project Management, Planning  and cross functional collaboration

 

4. Supply chain Excellence Manager :

Role – Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Lead and Manage Planning and Enterprise Resource Planning system continuous improvement activities

b. Coordinate with external vendors to implement best in class planning automation solutions

Key skills: Fundamental planning skills, SAP and BW reports and current industry trends

 

5. Demand Planning Manager :

Role – Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Forecast demand basis historical data and specific inputs.

b. Align and build consensus of sales, marketing and supply chain organization on one demand plan.

Key skills: Analytical tools usage, Consensus building, Analytical

 

supply chain careers

 

 

 

6. Supply Planning Manager : ( Supply chain careers)

Role – Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Generate supply or production plan basis demand plan, inventory norms and scheduled arrivals.

b. Resolve supply related bottlenecks and issues along with cross functional stakeholders

Key Skills: Analytical skills, Cross functional collaboration , issue resolution

 

7. Inventory Planning Manager : 

Role – Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Set inventory norms and review inventory regularly

b. Manage overall inventory targets, clear blocked stocks and report overall inventory

Key skills: Analytical skills, reporting skills and cross functional collaboration

 

8. Capacity Planning Manager :

Role – Entry to Middle Management

Key Responsibilities :

a. Map SKU wise demand on all the capacity resources to work out utilization %

b. Initiate require actions to resolve short term and long term capacity constraints

Key skills: Analytical, reporting and planning.

 

9.  Dispatch planner : 

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

a. Plan and execute dispatches from factory warehouse to ensure Finished good stock availability at distribution centers basis the demand plan and inventory norms

b. Load planning in the trucks with right SKU weight and volume mix to maximize the vehicle fill rates

Key skills: Optimization, planning and cross functional collaboration

 

10. Production planner : 

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

a. Day level production plan basis dispatch requirement, production capacity, labour and material availability

b. Identify constraints and challenges in meeting production plan as per market requirement and address them

 Key Skills: Scheduling, capacity utilization and proactive resolution

 

11. Material planner :

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

a. Material management process include sharing purchase order with the suppliers mentioning quantity and delivery date and ensuring material availability for production.

b. Get the material quality released, resolve operations issues which may impact availability

Key skills: Material Requirement Planning process, cross functional collaboration and  risk   mitigation

 

c. Logistics and Customer Service : ( Supply chain Careers) 

Logistics is about goods and material storage and movement from one location to another. Warehousing Management, Transportation Management and Customer Service are the key activities.

Warehouse Management include network and warehouse design, selection and management. Management includes unloading the goods from truck, ensuring proper storage in safe and  hygienic work environment and loading and dispatch of goods basis customer orders.

Transportation Management is managing movement of goods from source to destination location like suppliers to factory warehouse and factory warehouses to customers.

Key activities are vehicle and route management, vehicle planning, slot scheduling, vehicle placement, freight negotiation and contract management and ensuring goods delivery to the customers on timely basis

Customer service is a new evolving function in supply chain. Key Activities are go to market strategy and joint business partnering with customers to improve order management process and serviceability. Purpose is to forge a mutual beneficial partnership for both the business partners

 

Logistics function Supply chain careers ladder starts from warehousing and transportation operational roles, progress upwards to warehouse and transportation manager roles, then logistics excellence roles driving continuous improvements to  leadership role of Head of Logistics and Customer service function.

 

Supply chain careers roles in Logistics :

 

1. Head- Logistics  

Role – Leadership 

Key Responsibilities :

a. Lead, guide and support logistics function in delivering the required service levels at lowest possible cost. Ensuring quality in distribution and driving continuous improvements in logistics function

b. Develop logistics team and expand people capabilities

Key Skills: Logistics strategy, people development and vendor management

 

2. Logistics and Customer service Improvement manager :

Role – Middle to Leadership level 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Drive continuous improvement initiatives in Warehousing and Transportation to improve service levels and reduce cost for example, Network modelling and Route optimization
  2. Do industry benchmarking and Learn and implement best industry practices

Key skills: Logistics industry knowledge, best practices implementation and influencing others.

 

3. Customer service manager

Role – Middle Management 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Joint business planning with customers to increase sales
  2. Voice of the customer in the organization .Drive various initiatives to improve availability and freshness to become preferred partner for our customers

Key Skills: Customer relationship management, issue resolution and listening

 

4. Warehouse Manager

Role – Middle Management 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Manage warehouse operations ensuring timely and accurate dispatch at minimum possible cost.
  2. Manager external vendors Forklift operators, labor contractor, security etc

Key Skills: Customer orientation, people management and vendor management

 

5. Transportation Manager   

Role – Middle Management 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Ensure vehicle placement as per the requirement
  2. Manage transportation operations at lowest possible cost.

Key Skills: Negotiation , vendor management and customer focus

supply chain careers

 

6. Material Warehouse manager:

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Accurate and timely unloading of goods and entry in system
  2. Stock Management and Timely issue as per production requirement

Key skills: System knowledge, warehouse and people management.

 

7. Finished Goods Warehouse Manager :

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Accurate Loading and timely dispatch of goods to service customer orders
  2. Stock Management and Accurate putaway for Inbound stocks

Key skills: Warehouse System knowledge, customer focus and people management.

 

8. Transportation planner and scheduler

Role – Entry Level 

Key Responsibilities :

  1. Place vehicle requirements with transporters on slot level
  2. Coordinate with transporters for effective execution and resolve placement issues.

Key skills: Transportation planning  and vendor management

 

Now, since there is clear understanding of supply chain careers  roles, sharing key practical insights on  supply chain career ladder.  MBA Grads in supply chain and operations management from premier institutes join in planning roles and move up the ladder in planning function.

Benefit of planning function in supply chain careers is that it is connected and provide visibility to end to end supply chain from procurement to logistics and customer service. There is overview of entire supply chain function with good understanding of key challenges and overall perspective of procurement and logistics.

MBA Grads in Logistics Management join in logistics roles like warehouse or transportation manager in manufacturing and logistics companies and gradually progress in logistics function.

After spending some time in one sub function ,supply chain professionals also move to other functions at middle management level at category lead positions which is generally a good move.

In depth Exposure of one sub function and broad understanding of other two sub functions is essential and important to progress to Head- supply chain Senior leader position.

Roles explained are at national level. There are also other senior leader roles as Head of Supply Chain for the Region or Continent and Global head of supply chain. Organizations now are also creating and having new role as Chief Supply Chain officer.

Also read how to build robust supply chain

Where Can My Supply Chain Career Take Me?

supply chain careers

About Post Author

anupam.shrotary

Anupam is expert Supply chain professional with rich experience in leading organizations. He shares supply chain knowledge, insights and useful tips based upon practical experiences through his articles and posts on blog supply chain thinker and Linkedin platform. Many of his articles are listed in Top Rankings on popular search engines. He likes to inspire people and get inspired from them. Has studied MBA from SJM school of management, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Electronics Engineering from MNNIT, Allahabad. Author views are personal
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anupam.shrotary

Anupam is expert Supply chain professional with rich experience in leading organizations. He shares supply chain knowledge, insights and useful tips based upon practical experiences through his articles and posts on blog supply chain thinker and Linkedin platform. Many of his articles are listed in Top Rankings on popular search engines. He likes to inspire people and get inspired from them. Has studied MBA from SJM school of management, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Electronics Engineering from MNNIT, Allahabad. Author views are personal

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