Supply Chain Management – More Than a Buzzword

supply-chain-background-concept-glowing-13489447The supply chain is a critical system used by many companies that involve multiple parties such as manufacturers, suppliers, transporters, and warehouses that all contribute to the movement of products from the point of origin to consumers. Specific functions of the supply chain can include distribution, marketing, new product development, finance, and operations.

Because there is continual movement in the supply chain process, any disruption could negatively impact a company’s revenue and profit and leave customers dissatisfied. You only have to look at a recent iPhone issue that Apple faced to see how a supply chain can be affected.

The production of display panels for Apple’s iPhone 6 was interrupted when the backlight used to brighten the screen had to be changed, according to Reuters. The redesigned display screen slowed the production of the iPhone 6 because the screen assembly had to be paused. Production has resumed, but suppliers are scrambling to quickly produce a sufficient amount of screens for the iPhone’s anticipated launch this fall. It’s unclear how the issue will affect the launch.

As the above example illustrates, any setback in the supply chain process could have ramifications that ripple across the process. It’s important to have supply chain managers who can oversee the life cycle of goods, anticipate any issues, and respond accordingly so movement of goods won’t be disrupted.

Supply chain management professionals are in demand across several industries, including oil and gas, automotive, food and beverage, and electronics. There are many opportunities to work in various areas of the supply chain such as logistics, inventory control, purchasing and more.

Supply Chain Manager Skills, Responsibilities and Salary

Supply chain managers have several responsibilities, such as:

  • offer guidance on selection of suppliers
  • analyze pricing trends that may impact the time of purchases
  • coordinate the activities involved with the distribution of the products
  • manage the process of identifying and securing materials

Another supply chain management professional is a logistic technician/manager. Their duties include:

  • plan, oversee, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution of goods and services
  • develop both strategies and forecasting plans to keep sufficient inventory by serving as the liaison between company and supplier
  • confirm products are arriving at their destinations in a timely fashion

Individuals who pursue supply chain management careers usually possess solid problem-solving skills, good time-management skills, an ability to see “the big picture” and details, and cab collaborate well with others.

In Houston and the surrounding area, there is a projection of nearly 50,000 supply chain management jobs by 2016. The hourly wage at the high end of the pay scale is $54.34. There will be an estimated 4,320 logistician jobs by 2016 with hourly wage of $65.77 (high pay).

The member colleges of the Texas Gulf Coast Community College Consortium (TGCCCC) offer programs of study in both logistics and supply chain management. Contact a TGCCCC member school to learn more about the coursework and career opportunities in this exciting and challenging field.

Main Menu