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BUSINESS CAREER GUIDES

Supply Chain Specialist Career

OVERVIEW

What Is a Supply Chain Specialist?


 

A supply chain specialist oversees the movement of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption. Their primary goal is to ensure that the supply chain is efficient, cost-effective, and delivers products on time. Specialists are responsible for managing inventory, forecasting demand, and finding solutions to any issues that may arise in the supply chain. To achieve this, specialists collaborate with multiple departments, from procurement to logistics to sales, to monitor and optimize inventory levels, enhance delivery timelines, and track order fulfillment. Specialists must also be adept at analyzing data metrics, identifying inefficiencies in the supply chain process, and devising strategies to reduce costs. With excellent problem-solving skills and industry knowledge, a supply chain specialist plays a vital role in ensuring that the company meets its financial and operational objectives while delivering the product to the customer.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Key Responsibilities of a Supply Chain Specialist

The day-to-day tasks of a supply chain specialist can vary depending on the company they work for and the specific industry they are in. However, common tasks that most supply chain specialists perform daily include:

  • Analyzing and optimizing supply chain processes for maximum efficiency. 
  • Sourcing and negotiating contracts with suppliers and vendors. 
  • Implementing inventory control and demand planning strategies. 
  • Coordinating with other departments to ensure timely delivery of products and services.
  • Monitoring and managing transportation and logistics operations. 
  • Evaluating and mitigating risks within the supply chain. 
  • Ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. 

Where Does a Supply Chain Specialist Work?

The work environment for a supply chain specialist can range from large multinational corporations to small, local businesses. Supply chain specialists can work in the manufacturing, transportation, retail, healthcare sectors, and more. 

Some supply chain specialists might work in a warehouse or distribution center, overseeing the shipment and delivery of goods. Others could be found in a purchasing department, sourcing and procuring the parts and raw materials necessary for their company's production processes. Several specialists even work for logistics companies, coordinating shipments and transportation across multiple countries and continents. 

EDUCATION & BEST DEGREES

How Do I Become a Supply Chain Specialist?

To become a supply chain specialist, you should first obtain a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, or a related field. This degree will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to succeed in the field, including procurement, inventory management, and transportation planning skills. Once you've completed your degree, you can gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions with supply chain companies. 

Additionally, many supply chain specialists pursue certifications from industry organizations such as APICS, which offers a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification. Others may consider becoming Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) or Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD). Employers highly value these certifications and demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of key supply chain concepts and best practices. A master's degree in supply chain management can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

Best Degrees for a Supply Chain Specialist

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: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Operations Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Distribution Manager
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Project Management Specialist

With incredible growth opportunities in supply chain and operations management, this program helps prepare students to meet industry needs and become credentialed experts.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

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

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

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

How Much Does a Supply Chain Specialist Make?

$77,520

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a supply chain specialist in the United States is $77,520. However, this figure can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. For example, a specialist working in the healthcare industry may earn a higher salary compared to someone working in the retail sector. Additionally, those with advanced degrees or certifications may also command higher salaries. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

18%

The job outlook for a supply chain specialist is quite promising. In fact, according to the BLS, the job outlook for supply chain specialists or logisticians is expected to grow by 28% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. Companies seek to hire individuals who can manage the intricate network of suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers in today’s increasingly technologically advanced and globalized world. Supply chain specialists are also in high demand due to their ability to streamline operations and reduce costs. Additionally, a growing focus on sustainability and responsible business practices has led to an increased need for individuals who specialize in environmentally-friendly supply chain management. 

SKILLS

What Skills Does a Supply Chain Specialist Need?

A supply chain specialist requires a variety of skills, most notably:

  • An understanding of the business: A supply chain specialist needs to know the ins and outs of the company, including the products or services that are offered, the target market, and the competition. They should understand the company's financials well and how each department works together.
  • Strong communication skills: A supply chain specialist must be able to communicate effectively with all supply chain members, from suppliers to customers. They should be able to clearly articulate their needs and expectations and understand the needs and expectations of others. Additionally, they should be able to resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently.
  • Excellent negotiation skills: A supply chain specialist must be an excellent negotiator to get the best possible terms for their company. They should be able to negotiate contracts, pricing, delivery schedules, and other terms with suppliers. 
  • Strong organizational skills: A supply chain specialist must have strong organizational skills to keep track of all aspects of the supply chain. They should be able to create and maintain detailed records of orders, shipments, invoices, and other data. Additionally, they should be able to develop efficient systems for tracking inventory levels and managing supplier information. 
  • Ability to think strategically: A supply chain specialist must think strategically to make decisions that benefit the company. They should be able to forecast future trends, anticipate changes in customer demand, identify problems and opportunities within the supply chain, and develop plans to address them.  
  • Knowledge of logistics: A supply chain specialist needs a strong understanding of logistics to manage the flow of goods throughout the supply chain effectively. They should be familiar with different transportation methods and how to choose the most efficient option for each situation.  

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