How to start a career in supply chain

Have you ever thought about a career in a supply chain but didn’t know where to start?

This might be the right time for you to start thinking about it as the opportunities that are available in this discipline are massive and the upsurge in vacancies is hardly surprising considering the current economic changes.

This article gives you some tips and advice on how to start a career in supply chain.

What is supply chain management?

Supply chain management encompasses transport and storage of raw materials, inventory and also finished goods – from their point of origin to the point of consumption. It’s all about getting the products and/ or services to the right place at the right time. Supply chain is a sector that employs many people and most businesses wouldn’t be able to function without this division.

Focus on a specific area:

Because supply chain involves so many moving pieces, being able to focus on one specific aspect of the supply chain is the key to finding a position that will be a good match for you. Pick an area of the supply chain that interests you and begin to develop your knowledge in that particular field. This will give you a feel for that area, whilst also helping you to determine whether it’s something that you want to pursue in the long run. By determining what gaps you can fill, you’ll be more likely to show potential employers that you’ve thought carefully about your chosen career and that you’re looking to add value to an organisation.

What qualifications and experience are needed?

While most supply chain professionals start with a degree in engineering and perhaps an advanced management degree, there is no defined path to enter this field.

Considering the demand for highly-skilled graduates, you’ll find that more and more employers are seeking graduates with a specific degree in logistics and supply chain management . There are a variety of related undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer and these could give you the edge at interview stage. These courses are usually accredited by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain (CIPS) and are ideal for both professionals and novices. CIPS was initially developed by employers and academics to uphold a global standard for procurement, by providing practical training courses, workshops and qualifications. Not only can it help make you more attractive to prospective employers, it can also increase your chances of a larger salary.

During your course, you might be able to secure an entry level position, for example, providing administrative support to a buyer in order to develop your skills further.

Once you receive your qualification, you are prepared for an entry-level position in purchasing and/ or logistics such as a buyer, inventory controller, purchasing analyst or a planner. In order to catch the attention of employers, you’ll need to show some experience of this sector, either through part-time work or through placements on your course.

What skills are in demand?

While some candidates may have a natural flair for certain skills, many can also be learned and practised in order to excel in your career in supply chain. Here are a range that would gain the attention of recruiters and hiring managers in the supply chain sector:

  • Knowledge and experience of using key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Examples of strong communication skills
  • Relationship building: Developing relationships with the suppliers that can offer the right tools and services at the best price
  • Commercial awareness: Showing potential employers that you understand the bigger picture by suggesting ideas for improvements which demonstrates your value

As the economy improves, many of our clients are predicting an increase in production and are looking to recruit new talent into their businesses. We at CK have an in-depth knowledge of the market and are able to understand the changing needs of both our clients and candidates. If you are unsure about your career path in supply chain, feel free to give us a call and we would be happy to help!


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Written by Preetha Sampath, find out more about Preetha here

Posted in: Industry News, News
Image a of a container shipping area as part of the supply chain