A career in the supply chain industry can be very rewarding, but like most things, it isn’t easy.
Regardless of how you prepare to start a new career, there’s usually something unpredicted that pops up and makes you wish you had known about it beforehand. This can be particularly true with a supply chain career, where success calls for a wide array of skills and knowledge.
Consider the following four things before starting a supply chain career.
1) Understanding your specific industry is essential
Fundamentally speaking, supply chain professionals handle materials, information and financial transactions from supplier to manufacturer to consumer, and everywhere in between. However, the specific duties can vary based on the specific industry and company where you’re working. A supply chain career can vary wildly from a basic purchasing role, to managing the end-to-end supply stream for a massive global corporation. Moreover, every business has a somewhat different take on what each supply chain job involves, meaning the daily work can vary considerably between organizations.
2) A supply chain career is wide-ranging
In the supply chain, you should expect each day to be unpredictable. Everyone has a vital role to play in any given supply chain, and in some cases, you may have to take on a role you’re not used to in order to ensure goods are shipped or received properly.
Also, “supply chain” is a broad term that includes very different roles. A standard career path includes starting as an expeditor, advancing to becoming a purchaser and moving up from there.
3) You will work with numbers
Almost all supply chain positions involve working with numbers. The industry is very data, math and operations driven.
For instance, software systems used to track supply and demand have become more advanced to meet ever more intricate demands of customers, and a supply chain manager must have the capability to use these complex tools to analyze information that is invaluable to their company.
4) You will work with many people
While most information on the nature of supply chain jobs is concentrated on methods and technology used in modern supply chain functions; there is fairly little which mentions the need to work well with others. People new to the industry can be surprised by how much they must collaborate, service customers and lead others.
Networking with people in the industry is also key. Meeting and engaging with suppliers can go a long way to success in the supply chain industry. If you need a favor or advice, relationships in the industry are extremely valuable. In particular, mentors are key sources of knowledge and can allow you to develop more than you would on your own.
Start your supply chain career today!
At ZDA, we assist supply chain professionals at every career stage, from entry level to upper management. Please contact our top supply chain recruiters today to find out how we can help your career.