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Supply Chain Management

The main role of Supply Chain Management in a business is to make decisions in controlling inventory.  They are to make sure everything is running smoothly with all parts of the inventory.  They are involved with the movement of products, services and information between and within businesses.

Careers in the Field

1. Product Supply
2. Warehouse Manager
3. Logistics Analyst
4 Purchasing Manager
5. Supply Chain Analyst/Manager
6. Fleet Manager

Mentor Interview

Discussion with: Evan Hill

Position: Service Delivery Manager Rio Tinto

Date: 7 Nov, 2010


What are your projections for this type of work or industry? Is it stable, growing, declining?


What are the key trends or issues? New developments? Key challenges?

Key trends in supply chain is vendor performance and sourcing out of developing markets like china is one of the bigger issues.  The issue is quality control and intellectual property. 

What and where are the opportunities?

The growth industries are the high tech manufacturing, public sector, government agencies, health care or medical manufacturing companies. 

What are typical salaries in this type of job, entry-level to experienced? What are the opportunities for career growth?

With a Bachelor’s Degree - 55,000 - 70,000.  For Experienced it goes up from there.  The VP could make in the 250,000 range and up.

Entry into Position

When and how did you get involved in this work?

I got involved right after my mission.  I was 22 years old and a friend of mine that had a computer retail business asked me to manage their warehouse and their supply chain.  The recently grew from 1 store to 5 stores in multiple states.

What was your training and background? Is this typical for people in your position and in similar positions?

At that point I didn’t really have any training.  I was a business major at Utah State and did the APICS program because that taught me inventory supply and other things that I needed to know.

Typical people would actually do supply chain management classes or  a degree.  Usually it comes in form a business degree and then you start to specialize in supply chain management.

How important are specific credentials for entry or success?

Professional credentials are more important.  The organizations that you belong to like APICS or ISM.  To get certified in those programs is very important.

Job Specifics

What’s a typical day like for you or someone in a similar position?

My typical day is looking at the metrics of our supply, looking at inbound freight and where things are.  Due dates is another part that happens every day.  Looking at expediting reports, past due dates, stock out reports, looking at what we have to what we are supposed to have.

What do you like most about your work?

It is something different every day and it is challenging.  Its not the same thing twice.  Its different elements that you are dealing with.

What do you like least?

Probably the personnel issues.  When someone doesn’t perform you have to deal with them.

What talents or skills do you think are the most crucial to success in this work?

The most important is the ability to build relationships and data analysis skills and what it means.  You have to have some pretty good math skills and general business skills.

What attitudes or values are important?

Probably the most important values is integrity.  In supply chain management there are opportunities for fraud or dishonesty and you have to be able to conduct business on a high level without getting caught up in the unethical activities.  The attitude that you need is that you are able to accomplish it.  

Who doesn’t do well in this type of work?

People that can’t multitask.  There are a lot of demands that come in and you have to prioritize the demands.  You have to be able to work well under pressure.

How do you advance or get promoted in this type of work?

Continued education offers opportunities for advancements, performance, and looking inside and outside of the company for advancements because they probably won’t come to you.  You need to go and hunt them down.  Networking is also important.  Building your social network will help you become aware of different opportunities.


Would my background be appropriate for this type of work?

Yeah that would be a really good background for this type of work.  In supply chain management, you need to be able to look at financial models and make evaluations to know what is the right choice financially.

What would you recommend I do if I want to go into this type of work?

Probably get a good solid business background in your education and look for entry level opportunities.  It may be in warehouses, logistics and that could lead to more advanced supply chain management careers.

Are there other jobs similar to yours that you would suggest I also consider?

Anything that is procurement related. Buying jobs, logistics management are all related areas.

Can you recommend other people I can talk to, or other resources I can check out?

Knowing what you do now, would you approach this career (or job) in the same way? If not, what would you do differently, and why?

Thats a tough question.  No I wouldn't actually. There would be some things I would change.  I stayed at my first job too long and I should have changed companies quicker than I did.
Key Terms

Lead time - cycle time between order placement and delivery of goods; usually expressed in days or hours. 

Cycle time - The elapsed time between the start and completion of a task or an entire process; for example, in order processing it can be the time between receipt and delivery of an order. 

Just In Time (JIT) - stock mangement strategy; suppliers working with producers to ensure that stock is only held as and when needed thus avoiding large storage costs; it cuts non-value-added tasks, cuts inventory, eliminates delay, and requires near-zero defects and fast setup times, particularly for repetitive, discrete manufacturing.

Lean Production - developed by Toyota it envisages eliminating unnecessary steps in the manufacturing process, and aligning all steps in the value chain in a continuous flow; it includes working with cross-functional teams and companies cooperating across the trading group. It is a major step in achieving consumer responsiveness. 

Statistical Process Control (SPC) - The application of statistical techniques to control a process. The term "statistical quality control" is often used interchangeably with "statistical process control." 

Six Sigma - A methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of product. 

Logistics - the movement and storage of goods together with associated information flows from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. Or more generally, the management of the details of any complex business operation. 

Inventory control - the management of product-flow through the retail/ wholesale system.

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) - a uniquely identifiable line within a product range. A particular product may have many different variations e.g. 20 percent extra free, price marked etc. each of these variation would be a unique SKU. 

Level Loading - An annual charge deducted from an investor's mutual fund assets to pay for distribution and marketing costs for as long as the investor holds the fund. For the most part, this fee is paid to intermediaries for selling a fund's shares to the retail public.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) - automatic electronic tracking and identification system for storing information sent by radio waves and remote retrieval of data using tags or small labels used to track movement of merchandise or parcels and baggage (the system was originally developed to track cattle)