There are many different ways to learn more about supply chain management. Start by visiting the Web sites of professional associations such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and APICS. Read the research and news sections to learn more about trends and issues in the supply chain management industry. Explore the careers section to see what kind of jobs are available. Get a foot in the door by working as an intern or in a part-time position in a department where supply chain managers or related professionals work. This will give you the chance to be immersed in the production process and observe firsthand the day-to-day responsibilities of a supply chain manager.
Supply chain managers coordinate and manage companies' supply chains, making sure that the production and distribution process flows smoothly, from the point of product acquisition through to delivery to consumers. Their work involves logistics, transportation, production, shipping, distribution, and warehousing. They analyze the production and distribution process and make recommendations for ways to streamline workflows and cut costs while still delivering quality products. They work closely with managers in other departments, such as procurement, production, sales, warehousing, marketing, and research and design. They use computers and supply chain management software to manage supply chain relationships and execute transactions.
A reliable supply chain is essential to success for many businesses. Raw materials must be available in the correct quantities when production is ready to begin or workers and equipment may stand idle. Once finished products roll out of a factory or other production facility, it's essential that transportation be ready to move them to warehouses and distribution facilities in order to convey goods to the consumer. Any disruption or delay can increases costs for the company, lead to losses, or even diminish consumer demand. Supply chain managers assess all aspects of these steps and work with individuals within their company and at other companies to ensure success.