How to Become a Supply Chain Manager


Supply chain managers have a significant impact on our daily lives by efficiently streamlining the flow of goods from raw materials to the final product delivered to the end consumer. Their job is to keep each step of the chain working seamlessly in coordination with the others.

5 Keys to Becoming a Supply Chain Manager

In order to become a successful supply chain manager, you need to possess a certain set of skills, academic knowledge, and experiences. Here are five key actions that, if taken, will help you become a more successful in the role.

  1. Refine Your Quantitative Analysis Skills

As a supply chain manager, you will be called on to make decisions about all aspects of the supply chain.

Whether it is finding ways to lower costs, managing inventory more efficiently, improving relationships with suppliers, or forecasting customer behavior and demand, you will rely on data analysis to make choices that will benefit your businesses.

Using your quantitative analysis and critical thinking skills, you will create mathematical and statistical interpretations of data that allow you to understand the behaviors of your supply chain.  These skills will equip you with the information needed to design and manage economic supply chains while at the same time building flexibility and responsiveness into the supply chains to mitigate risk and disruptions.

  1. Develop Expertise in Your Business and Industry

Understanding the full scope of your industry’s operations is essential to your success as a supply chain manager. From the source of raw materials at the start of the supply chain to the up-to-the-minute preferences of the consumers at the end of the supply chain — and every stage in between — you need to know it all.

A quick and curious mind and a drive to learn will not only give you an edge in your career but will keep you interested, motivated, and up to date.

There are many online resources, training courses, and webinars that can bolster your knowledge of your industry. You might try checking out employee resource groups within your organization, trade publications that cover your industry, or even academic research in your field.

One of the most effective ways to gain expertise is by earning a master’s degree in supply chain management.

  1. Communicate Clearly and Confidently

Strong communication skills are important in any career and are critical to success for a supply chain manager.

In addition to managing the movement of goods, you will also be coordinating networks of people, and all of them must be kept informed of and involved in the many decisions and other factors that impact the supply chain.

Clear and regular communication within the network can increase productivity and job satisfaction, just as poor communication can cause delays, losses, and lack of motivation.

Through verbal communication, such as timely presentations, meetings and brainstorming sessions, and written communication, such as well-organized reports and emails, you keep your teams informed and working toward the same goal.

  1. Build a Professional Network to Explore Supply Chain Management Careers

An invaluable key to success in any business is the participation in a strong network of professional peers. Your network is one of your best resources for exchanging ideas, keeping up to date on current trends, sharing information, meeting colleagues, demonstrating your knowledge and advancing your career.

This could be through a professional association for supply chain management, or, if you are lucky, an informal group of people working in similar roles such as the Elmhurst Supply Chain Professionals group – a group of over 450 Elmhurst University supply chain management alumni and friends of the SCM graduate program.

But one of the many advantages of pursuing a supply chain management master’s degree is the natural way a network develops for you. Your classmates, instructors, mentors, and program alumni are professionals know where you want to go in your career and what you need to do to get there. They can become a lifelong network of colleagues, mentors, collaborators and friends.

  1. Earn Your Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management

A supply chain management master’s degree gives you an edge that will set you apart from others in the field. You will enter this fast-paced career with a deep understanding of the industry and the skills, which sets you up to make an immediate impact at your organization.

As a busy professional, you need flexibility in your master’s program. Elmhurst University’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree program offers a combination of online and on-campus classes, making it easy to customize a convenient schedule.

Located just outside Chicago, one of the world’s greatest transportation and logistics hubs, Elmhurst’s master’s program includes valuable hands-on learning experiences in businesses that rely on supply chains. Combined with rigorous coursework and enthusiastic support from faculty, Elmhurst provides the key elements you need for success in your career:

  • Quantitative Analysis Skills
  • Expertise in Your Business and Industry
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • A Professional Network

Expand your skill set through Elmhurst’s Master’s in Supply Chain Management degree. Request more information below.

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Illustration by Telegramme
Posted May 2, 2023

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