Supply chain management is an ever-changing field that can take professionals in many directions as trends develop and change. This means that those with the right skills and experience can find themselves in high demand in one of the hottest, versatile, and adaptable career tracks.
On a daily basis, we’re helping clients improve their supply chain, and use better processes, technologies, organizational structures, and strategies to leverage a better supply chain for the future. One of the things we commonly get asked is, how do I move into supply chain management?
While there are different paths you could potentially go down, we've slated the top 5 supply chain management careers that are worth exploring.
This area is always in high demand. Technology consulting is focused on helping organizations figure out how they can automate and improve their supply chain processes and technologies. In this role, you assist clients in selecting and implementing different types of supply chain technologies that can help them improve their businesses.
This includes applications such as supply chain management systems, warehouse management systems, procurement systems, logistics or transportation management systems, and other niche-focused technologies and applications within supply chain management. You may focus on one technology and become an expert in a specific software within one specific niche, or you may learn about different technologies and provide more of a general consulting service.
This area is similar to technology consulting but focused on business processes. In fact, it is recommended to have knowledge in both areas. In order to be a good business process consultant, you need to understand how the different technologies benefit the business.
The role is focused on helping identify how organizations can improve and streamline their supply chain, manage their vendors in a more effective manner, re-engineer their supply chain to provide better visibility, remove bottlenecks, improve efficiency, and allow the organization to scale for growth. Experts in business processes are oftentimes certificated in methodologies such as six sigma or lean six sigma.
This is an important role within supply chain management as supply chains have gone through significant changes in recent years, causing a higher demand for people that can help enable the human side of change. This comes through supporting employees as they adapt to the changes that come with the evolution of the supply chain.
This could mean training people on new technologies, redesigning people’s roles and responsibilities within a supply chain function or looking at how to integrate a supply chain across an end-to-end business, among other things. The organizational change management expert is also a key enabler of the first two roles we discussed.
If you’re more of a technical-minded person, you can focus on the system architecture and data side of supply chain management. The architect looks after how systems tie together in particular supply chain management systems and how to use data as a competitive advantage within supply chains. Those with a background in data science are a good fit for this role, and they tend to be compensated very well for their expertise.
If you’ve worked as a project manager in other disciplines, you understand the complexity that can come with leading a team through the details of the bigger picture task at hand. You understand how programs tie together and can resource them, and know how to manage budgets and activities throughout a project plan, that’s all transferable to supply chain management.
In addition, project management is a central aspect of any successful digital transformation or change initiative. Whether it's leading a business transformation, organizational change, restructuring, or M&A integration, project management is essential to making any initiative successful.
With the right skill set, a career in supply chain management can be very rewarding. As globalization and technology continue to change the way businesses operate, the demand for supply chain professionals is expected to keep growing – especially for those who keep their options open.
At Third Stage Consulting, we’re hire new consultants regularly that understand and are interested in supply chain management. If you’re interested in exploring a career with us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and submit your resume. We would be happy to evaluate it and see if you might be a good fit.