Is A Career In Supply Chain Management Hard?

It is pretty easy to get a job in the supply chain management field because supply chain management covers a broad category of industries.

The job is getting hard when you get to management roles such as supply chain manager or supply chain director. It is difficult when you need to oversee the whole supply chain system of a company.

What degree is needed to get in this field?

You do not have to have a supply chain degree to work in the supply chain management field. You can work in the supply chain field with any degree.

I work in the supply chain field and my colleagues are from all kinds of backgrounds. Some of them study business, and some of them study accounting or finance.

Is it hard to get into this field?

I would say it is very easy to find a job in the supply chain field. You do not even have to have a college degree to break into this field.

Supply chain management is a such broad category. There are so many jobs belonging to the supply chain field. Warehouse jobs are supply chain field jobs. Amazon is constantly looking for warehouse workers to receive, sort, and dispatch parcels.

If you work in the procurement depart as a buyer, then you also work in SCM (supply chain management) field.

There are thousands or millions of different jobs belonging to the supply chain field. It is quite easy to start a job in this field.

How difficult is a supply chain job?

It is hard to say since there are so many different types of supply chain jobs.

In general, entry and medium-level jobs are quite easy. It becomes difficult when you reach management roles, such as supply chain manager or supply chain director.

Entry-level jobs such as warehouse workers, and inbound or outbound dispatchers are very straightforward. High school graduates can handle this kind of job easily.

Medium-level jobs such as operation planning, logistics coordinator, procurement, etc require a college degree. It is not difficult to handle this kind of job, but you may need to work on weekends or on call after work hours. Transportation of freight does not stop on weekends or after work hours.

Management jobs such as supply chain manager, and supply chain director are very difficult because you need to oversee the whole supply chain system for an organization. A supply chain system starts all way from supplier, raw material purchase till the delivery of the finished goods to the customers. It is not easy to improve a whole system. It takes years to build a good supply chain system.

Would you recommend an SCM career to anyone?

I would not recommend SCM (supply chain management) career for anyone unless they like this field.

Pros of SCM career

1, Lots of job opportunities

There are millions of types of SCM jobs in the job market. Just think about how many people work in the procurement department, supplier & customer relationship, production, warehouse, and logistics department in your company.

2, Broad choice of industries

SCM covers a broad category of industries so it means you have the choice to work for these industries. Whether it is the oil, gas industry, retail industry, or manufacturing, they all have supply chain systems, hence they need people to work there.

3, Evergreen career field

The supply chain system is indispensable to our everyday life. The food and daily necessities all depend on the supply chain system to deliver to the consumer. This career field is evergreen because we always need supply chain workers.

Cons of SCM career

1, Stress

There are stresses associated with SCM jobs, especially in the logistics field. You never know what is going to happen when a truck is on the road when a vessel is on the water, but you have a deadline to cut.

You need to monitor the cargo to make sure it will arrive on time, if it does not, then you need to inform the customer as quickly as possible. Your customer might keep a bunch of workers at the dock to unload the cargo, or maybe your customer keeps the dock open just for your truck, or maybe they need the product inside the truck to run their production line. If anything happened on the cargo you need to know it ASAP and update the customer immediately.

2, Inconvenient work shift

You might need to work at the weekend or work at night. Vessels, planes, and trucks run constantly, so you have to work at inconvenient hours to keep up with them.

What is a job really like day to day?

My first job is operation planning after graduating from college. I learned tons of logistics knowledge in this role.

1, Quote to customers

Customers email you asking for a freight quote to move their product from point A to point B.

2, Check cost with a trucker

You will find costs with truckers, add our margin then quote to customers.

If the freight is an international move ( pick up from one country and deliver to another country), you will involve the ocean team, and air team together to complete the quote.

3, Correspondence between shipper and customer

You are the person responsible for this cargo from pick up all way to the final destination. You are the person to monitor the cargo and update customers constantly. You are also the person to solve any problems during the transition of the cargo.

4, Invoice

Once the cargo is delivered to customers, you will bill customers. This shipment is complete after payment receive.

Career options

There is a wide career option in the SCM field. I work in the logistics field after college. My classmates work in many different fields. Some of them work in the procurement department, some of them work at consulting companies as supply chain consultants and some of them work as production schedulers, category managers, or process improvement.

How is the job security?

A career in supply chain management is an evergreen career.

I saw many people who worked in the oil field were laid off during the economic downturn, but hardly see anybody laid off when they work in the supply chain field.

Companies hire more supply chain professionals during difficult times to help them cut costs, and minimize waste.

Is the pay comfortable?

The pay varies greatly depending on what company or industry you work for. The same job at different companies will pay differently.

Generally speaking, the majority of supply chain jobs are in the national average pay category.

Management and supply chain specialized roles are high pay jobs. You can earn good money if you have specialized or advanced knowledge in Lean control, process improvement, process optimization, supply chain optimization, etc.

How does globalization influence SCM jobs?

I do not believe globalization has any influence on SCM jobs because we are already in a globalization environment.

The majority of U.S. companies either have factories in other countries or purchase parts and raw materials from other countries. We live in an interdependent global society.

Will automation affect SCM jobs?

Based on automation has the potential to eliminate 73 million US jobs by 2030.

Automation affects greatly SCM jobs, especially in Warehouse and transportation fields.

David Edwards wrote on dated Jan 21, 2020, that e-commerce giant Amazon has 200,000 robots working in its warehouses. There is no need to hire warehouse workers to locate and pick up the item when Kiva robots can do it all at the Amazon fulfillment center.

Future self-driving cars also decrease the job market for drivers.

Although labor-intensive jobs will decrease because of automation, new jobs will also be created because of new technology.

Meet the robots at the Amazon Video