Supply chain careers can be a good fit for people with experience in other industries or in the military. Once you understand the range of supply chain job opportunities you can look for ways to leverage your skills and experience to develop a supply chain career path or roadmap.
- There's been a growing demand for supply chain professionals in lots of industries. But how do you transition into a supply chain job at this point in your career? Well some folks go back to school, they get a degree or a certification. But if you've ever had a job before then there's a good chance you already have some relevant supply chain skills. So let's start by looking at how your past experience can help you transition into a new field.
Understand that the term supply chain management was invented in the 1980s as a way to describe a lot of complex interactions that occur within and between businesses. So it's a fairly new term that encompasses a lot of what goes on in a company. And believe it or not there are a lot of people today who have jobs that are critical to the supply chain and they don't even realize it. Let's look at some of the keywords that you'll often see in a supply chain related job description: Logistics, distribution, transportation, material handling, procurement, inventory, planning, operations, fulfillment, and forecasting.
Any job that involves one of these skills is probably a supply chain job. And if you've done any of those things in the past then you've already got some useful supply chain experience. But when you're working in a job, it's sometimes hard to connect the dots and see how the things that you do tie into the other parts of the supply chain. So we need to step back and take a broader view. Here's a framework from my book, Supply Chain Management for Dummies, that breaks down many of the different kinds of jobs that you'll find in any supply chain.
You can hop onto the career ladder by starting as an associate. And from there look for opportunities to get promoted. Analysts, supervisors and technicians are all in line to become managers, engineers, and executives. There are some jobs that focus more on business issues and others that require a more technical engineering background. And there are also jobs like project management, information technology, and even sales that are critical for making supply chains work.
Because supply chain management involves the coordination of a lot of different functions, it often pays to get some experience in all of them. The key point is that you probably already have some skills and experience that will be useful for one or more supply chain jobs. And that can give you a head start as you set goals and prepare yourself for future opportunities.
- Supply chain management basics
- Setting career goals
- Jobs in the supply chain
- Getting a job
- Building your skills
- Building a network