Supply chain jobs: what are the employee requirements?

Supply and demand for raw materials and products continues to rise. The result is a rapidly growing global flow of goods, and with that, the importance of Supply Chains is also growing. Organisations are looking for specialists with experience in all aspects of Supply Chain as well as expertise in the position they work in. In this article we will delve a little deeper into the topic of Supply Chain. We’ll also talk about Supply Chain Management and career opportunities in this area.

Supply chain as a competitive advantage

A constant flow of goods is essential for an efficient Supply Chain, regardless of industry. It ensures productivity and turnover. Especially at a time when short delivery times, deadlines and reliable deliveries play an important role. Organisations with a reliable and fast Supply Chain have an obvious advantage over competitors. As an organisation, how do you ensure a smooth-running Supply Chain? You do this by applying Supply Chain Management.

Global tasks in Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is about process planning and ensuring the flow of goods throughout the chain. Analysing customers and markets is part of this to ensure quality. Negotiating with suppliers and customers and customer service are also important components for a smooth supply chain.

Organisations continue to digitise their processes. Digitization of Supply Chain is no exception to this. Artificial Intelligence is one of the widely used technologies to automate procurement and logistics and increase efficiency.

Artificial intelligence is a technology that enables the system to process large amounts of data in a short period of time. It provides automated functions and "learns" to improve processes through so-called machine-learning.

Supply Chain Planning as part of Supply Chain Management is the repeated matching of supply and demand.

Demand for Supply Chain jobs continues to grow

Optimising Supply Chain processes requires expertise. The result: the demand for Supply Chain professionals continues to grow, especially for the management part. This makes it a logical step for professionals to further specialise or upskill themselves towards Supply Chain. There are many different ways to specialise, as the supply chain is different in each industry. The commodity flow processes of organisations that source raw materials differ from those in the apparel industry. And an online clothing store has a different focus on Supply Chain than an online supermarket.

Because of these differences, professionals have the option to specialise on individual parts of the chain or on a specific industry

What skills must a Supply chain Manager possess?

Supply Chain Managers generally have degrees in economics or industrial engineering. Professionals with degrees in computer science or natural sciences also have career opportunities in the Supply Chain sector.

These are vital skills for a Supply Chain Manager position

  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Economic and strategic thinking
  • Organizationally strong
  • Flexibility
  • Strong in communication
  • Good in negotiation
  • Strong in leadership

Most common tasks for Supply Chain Managers

The duties of a Supply Chain Manager vary by organisation and industry. We have listed some of the most common ones:

  • Responsibility for process planning and assurance of the flow of goods and materials.
  • Continuously analysing market data, trends and developments.
  • Analysing customer data and needs.
  • Optimising processes for cost efficiency.
  • Implementation and planning of technical solutions for Supply Chain Management.
  • Ensuring compliance.
  • Stakeholder management with other departments such as sales and production.

Other jobs involved in Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain management offers many other opportunities in the field besides the Supply Chain Manager position. We highlight a few for you.

Supply Chain Planners support the manager by taking on part of the planning process and preparing processes. The whole process consists of multiple processes and thus different planning functions such as Demand Planner, Supply Planner, Transport Planner and Logistics Planner.

Supply Chain Analysts focus on the prospects within the demand (planning) process. Analysts look at customer needs and what they need. Based on this information and data, they look at what the customer needs and how the organisation can provide it. For example, by checking whether there is enough inventory.

Logistics Specialists are responsible for the logistics process from sales to delivery. The specialists are the point of contact for customers, colleagues and other external parties such as Customs. Other job titles for Logistics specialists include Traffic Coordinator and Import & Export Specialist. In these positions, knowledge of import and export documents is essential to manage the process.

Purchasing Coordinators are involved in the purchasing process. Creating and implementing contracts with new suppliers, improving purchasing processes, and ensuring the best available commercial conditions are some examples of the responsibilities. Other job titles within the purchasing process include Tactical Buyer, Operational Buyer, and Strategic Buyer.

Attractive career opportunities, including for career changers

Supply Chain Management offers many opportunities and possibilities for both experienced professionals and newcomers or professionals undergoing retraining. Knowing that Supply Chain will become even more important in the future, the career opportunities are promising.

Looking for a new challenge?

Our consultants are ready to advise you on the next step in your career. Are you looking for a Supply Chain Professional for your team? We are happy to help you with that too.


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Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled talent, the team at JP Gray are here for you.