Supply chain management is undergoing a massive transition in the 21st century. As more and more top-level executives realize the value that this knowledge brings to their companies, they are creating professional jobs in supply chains with more authority and clout. Supply chain managers (SCMs) are being elevated to strategic positions in firms that previously delegated them to the warehouse. Leaders are truly beginning to understand the influence SCMs have on the bottom line.
In such an environment, current and future jobs in supply chain management are opening up at every level. At the same time, professionals currently holding jobs in supply chain positions are being courted to fill the increasing need for stronger, more experienced supply chain teams.
Need for Jobs in Supply Chain Across the Board
The need for highly trained, executive-ready SCMs crosses all boundaries. Industries that previously viewed jobs in supply chains as necessary cogs are propelling SCMs to positions of greater authority and reach. While a few industries such as consumer products may see slight drops in open jobs, other industries such as healthcare products and transportation are reaching critical shortages.
The paradigm shift is dramatic for everyone — from new supply chain graduates to executives looking to fill a strategic spot on the leadership team. Top industry executives seek to hire, train, mobilize and immerse new hires in supply chain positions. As current management teams move into executive positions, slots open regularly for new blood at every level. Here are highlights from several representative industries:
The majority of logisticians, who typically hold entry-level and mid-level jobs in supply chain departments, primarily work in manufacturing and for the government. As they manage the complete life cycle of products from the producer to the consumer, they quickly learn the processes required to allocate materials and finished products.
Developing relationships is a prime duty for those holding jobs in supply chain manufacturing groups. And it’s in those relationships that you will find the keys to advancement and additional opportunities. Additionally, many manufacturing supply chain professionals train in the armed services, where they receive front-row, hands-on logistics training.
Logisticians in the manufacturing field are uniquely suited to notice the need for improvements and make suggestions to SCMs and upper-level managers about potential solutions. Critical thinking and organizational skills, coupled with your time in the trenches of a manufacturing environment, put you squarely in the eye of hiring managers looking to strengthen their supply chain teams.
Wholesale and Retail
Jobs in supply chain roles within the wholesale and retail industries are experiencing slower growth in 2015 than other industries due to an overall slight downturn in consumer spending. But exciting prospects exist for buyers and purchasing agents in the computer systems and healthcare fields that rely on wholesale and retail supply chains.
Both buyers and SCMs are in greater demand as companies seek to get new lines into the market quickly and efficiently. Timing in the healthcare and technology fields is always a critical component of the process. If you bring a working knowledge of and support for healthcare and computer products to the table, you will find a wealth of significant opportunities for highly coveted jobs in supply chain management.
The growing industry that manages the world’s transportation products and services is ripe for jobs in supply chain management. Supply chain analysts who can gather and analyze reams of data effectively and who understand the intricacies of carrier contract compliance will find jobs in every level of the transportation supply chain.
From government and private aerospace to trucking, automotive and rail, stakeholders rely on the information gathered by supply chain analysts to create strategic plans and meet future demands.
Like purchasing agents, many graduates pursue supply chain analysis as an entry point to higher-level jobs in supply chain management. As transportation needs explode, the most pressing jobs in supply chain arenas will range from analysts to engineers, senior analysts, SCMs and operational managers at the executive level.
Third-party Supply Chain Providers
As the global economy expands and jobs in supply chain roles become increasingly more complex, many companies are turning to third-party supply chain vendors to manage the entire logistics process. Opportunities to join this field are increasing.
Mergers and acquisitions within the private third-party logistics arena continue to strengthen the 50 or so major companies that control most of the logistics contracts in the country. Working for a global third-party logistics provider requires extensive training and experience. Employees will need to know customs rules and regulations, fulfillment, distribution, warehousing, transportation, consolidation, and just about any logistics and trade-related services, making this private sector arena ripe for SCMs seeking a competitive advantage.
Even with the soft U.S recovery and wavering economies in Europe, continued global expansion in consumer and B2B industries is driving the need for exceptional talent to join supply chain teams in the private sector.
Information technology plays an increasingly important role in logistics every year. In addition to supply chain information systems that streamline manufacturing and delivery systems, cloud-based storage and communication systems are gaining popularity across many supply chain platforms. Opportunities are rising within the IT sections of growing logistics teams.
Additionally, talented technology managers are finding a new niche in the arena of information supply chain creation, support and management. Organizations in every industry, big and small, must process vast amounts of information. The chain created by the flow of that information creates a vacuum for specialized jobs in supply chain management.
Professionals in information supply chain technology will find significant opportunities in private sectors, service businesses, IT consulting, and both consumer and business-focused enterprises in every industry.
Into the Future
Balancing the current needs in manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transportation, third-party providers and IT with the future needs in global supply chains is a challenge for many companies. Whether you bring a wealth of experience to a future employer or are in need of competent, exceptional supply chain candidates, Kimmel and Associates can help. As leaders in supply chain recruiting, we can help you manage future trends from any seat. Jobs in supply chain management are one of our premier specialties. Contact us today!