What Is Supply Chain Management?


What is supply chain management? In a nutshell, it's the business of getting materials around the globe.

If you’re thinking about becoming a supply chain manager, it’s easy to get bogged down in the many career choices you need to make in order to get started.

For one thing, the list of different industries that utilize supply chains goes on for miles. And the range of job responsibilities and skills to learn can seem overwhelming, too.

So let’s simplify things a bit: At its core, supply chain management is all about making connections.

From the germ of an idea to its execution, from raw materials to finished products, from planning to sourcing to managing inventory, a supply chain manager fixes any snags and puts all the pieces together.

Supply Chain Management Career Paths

Supply chain managers understand their businesses from one end to the other. That makes them an indispensable part of any company. SCMTalentGroup, a national recruiting organization, answers the question “What is supply chain management?” by breaking it down into its most basic components:

Overall hiring in the field is on the rise, according to Forbes. As hard as it is to believe, employers are struggling to find qualified applicants, not the other way around. Meanwhile, by 2025 the ongoing digital revolution will create more cloud-based planning systems. That should, in turn, create an expansion of jobs in analytics. In addition, there will be an increase in demand for “smart” automation systems in fulfillment centers.

Career options run the gamut from industrial engineers to operations research analysts to production managers and quality control inspectors.

So ask yourself this: Are you a big-picture person who also has an eye for detail? Do you look at complex projects and immediately try to make them more efficient and effective? Are you always seeking a challenge? Do you love flow charts?

If you answered “yes,” you might be a good candidate for the many roles available.

How to Become a Supply Chain Manager

But first, you have to get your start. You’ve read the answer to the question “What is supply chain management?” Now, the question is “Where do I begin?”

Here is where a supply chain management degree comes in.

Studying this discipline lets you step back from the daily grind and explore how businesses improve their operations. For example, you might dig into a Fortune 500 company’s sourcing, purchasing, logistics and delivery programs.

Or maybe you will look at how IT infrastructure drives e-commerce and gives customer relations a boost.

At the same time, a classroom setting is perfect for developing the soft skills you need for management. Remember, supply chain managers are:

  • Troubleshooters
  • Leaders
  • Collaborators
  • Independent Thinkers

They know a little bit about everything and are well-versed in how to make businesses operate more efficiently.

At the end of the day, nearly every type of company in every type of industry needs them. That leaves the doors wide open as you head out on any number of supply chain management career paths.

M.S. in Supply Chain Management

At Elmhurst University, we understand that a degree is not just a piece of paper—it has to be worth your time and financial investment. That’s why we have designed a master’s degree in supply chain management that fits the needs of busy professionals.

When you enroll in the Supply Chain Management master’s program, you will join a cohort that meets on campus one evening a week with faculty members who are experts in their field.

In addition, you will gain hands-on experience and tap into a built-in network of Elmhurst alumni and professors who can connect you to employers in the Chicago area and across the United States.

Interested in Getting Started?

Complete our form to request more information!

Fill out my online form.

How to Become a Supply Chain Manager

May 2, 2023 | 5 Minute Read

An illustration that shows supply chain delivery is a complex process involving location, product, timing and data.

How to Manage Supply Chain Delivery

December 10, 2019 | 4 Minute Read

Manufacturing a product is more than just making—you are part of a supply chain, managing raw materials, pricing and more.

Manufacturing a Product in a Supply Chain

November 18, 2019 | 4 Minute Read

Master the basics of supply chain sourcing and buying.

Supply Chain Sourcing and Buying 101

October 15, 2019 | 5 Minute Read

Do you know about supply chain planning? Learn about supply and demand planning, production planning, and more.

Getting Started with Supply Chain Planning

September 20, 2019 | 3 Minute Read

Connect with #elmhurstu