Skip to content Skip to Live Chat


Supply Chain Manager Career


What Is a Supply Chain Manager?


Supply chain managers play a crucial role in getting goods and services into the hands of consumers. Often working as part of a logistics team, SCMs have a deep understanding of how each step of the production, manufacturing, and distribution process work together. 

As an SCM, your goal is to get products from manufacturing to consumers as quickly and efficiently as possible, without increasing costs or reducing quality. 

The job of a supply chain manager is highly collaborative. In fact, SCMs often work closely with:

  • Logistics analyst
  • Transportation manager
  • Purchasing manager
  • Logistics manager
  • Logistician
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Supply chain specialist
  • Planning manager
  • Strategic sourcing manager
  • Commodities manager


What Does a Supply Chain Manager Do?

Supply chain managers coordinate all the moving parts of the supply chain—from planning and sourcing to retail management and delivery. Here are some common SCM responsibilities:

  • Logistics management: Supply chain managers are in charge of defining the parameters of supply chains and streamlining as many points on the chain as possible.
  • Operations management: A big part of this role involves optimizing processes such as product flows, procurement, warehousing, and transportation.
  • Cost management: Supply chain managers are in charge of creating budgets and implementing strategies that make operations more efficient.
  • Negotiation: SCMs are often tasked with negotiating prices for raw materials and delivery with suppliers, vendors, and shipping companies.
  • Relationship building: As a supply chain manager, you may also be responsible for building and maintaining partnerships with manufacturers, suppliers, transporters, etc.


How Do I Become a Supply Chain Manager?

The world of supply chain management is complex, fast-paced, and comes with a high degree of responsibility. If you're interested in becoming an SCM, here are some of the most common steps you’ll need to take:

Step One: Get a bachelor’s degree in business management, or supply chain and operations management.

A business degree will give you a better understanding of business fundamentals, financial elements, operations, communication, and management techniques to help you work with suppliers, vendors, and customers.

Step Two: Add to your education.

If you want to create more room for advancement, consider pursuing a master’s degree in management and leadership or an MBA degree. Many management positions will require candidates to have this advanced degree, and these programs will prepare you with the right skills to lead a team. You’ll learn operations management, ethical leadership, accounting, and other skills that make you an effective SCM.

Step Three: Gain work experience.

As with any career, experience only adds to your marketability. Some people may have five or more years of experience in manufacturing or supply chain management before applying for an SCM role. Experience with enterprise resource planning programs and project management can also make you more competitive.

Step Four: Get certified.

Certifications aren’t a requirement, but they can help boost your résumé when applying for jobs. It will show future employers that you have a broad range of supply chain knowledge on top of what a business degree can provide. Some popular certifications in this field include the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) program, the Association Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation, and the Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) program.

Best Degrees for a Supply Chain Manager


Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 19 months
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé this program will teach you include: 

  • Business communication
  • Product development
  • Decision making models
  • Project management strategies
  • Budgeting for business

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.


Supply Chain and Operations Management - B.S.

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare...

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare you for real-world experiences in business.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish similar programs within 19 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Detail Oriented
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Operations:

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: 60% of graduates can finish in 17 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 10 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé that this program will teach you:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Coordinating
  • Communications
  • Performance Management 
  • Planning

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.


Supply Chain Certificate – School of Business

Boost your résumé and gain valuable experience with a supply chain...

Boost your résumé and gain valuable experience with a supply chain certificate from the School of Business.

  • Time: 6 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,500 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 4 courses total in this program.

This program is designed for individuals who are ready to take their supply chain experience to the next level and become a front-line leader in their organization.

Whether you want to advance your career in this field, or you're just getting started, a supply chain certificate can help you be ready for your next career step. You'll be prepared to work in a variety of industries including: 

  • Startups
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Retail
  • E-Commerce

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé you will learn in this program include: 

  • Leadership strategies
  • Talent management
  • Communication
  • Data collection and interpretation
  • Financial statements

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

How Much Does a Supply Chain Manager Make?


According to, the average supply chain manager salary in the United States is $117,073, but the range typically falls between $102,000 and $133,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places the SCM role under the umbrella of logisticians, which is projected to grow 30% between 2020 and 2030. About 24,500 openings for logisticians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. As more goods are purchased online, timeliness of delivery will become a critical component of competition, further increasing demand for this role.


What Skills Does a Supply Chain Manager Need?

Good SCMs are highly organized people who can work effectively under tight deadlines and manage multiple moving parts at once. To succeed in this role, you'll need:

  • Problem-solving skills: When issues come up, you need to be able to pinpoint the problem and come up with a strategic solution.
  • Computer savvy: There are multiple programs used in supply chain management, and you’ll need to be familiar with as many as possible, as well as comfortable learning new applications.
  • Leadership skills: You'll have employees who you manage directly and that need to be steered in the right direction when supply chain questions come up.
  • A knack for numbers: SCMs are skilled at performing financial and mathematical projections about supply-related costs.
  • People skills: SCMs should have excellent communication skills as they’re responsible for maintaining relationships in the supply chain.
  • Project management skills: The SCM role requires you to develop and maintain accurate delivery schedules that are relevant to project dependencies and resources.

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Next Start Date

Interested in Becoming a Supply Chain Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.