Job description of a supply chain manager

Written by michael owens
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A supply chain is the process that brings a product from its raw material form to the point at which it is available for sale. The supply chain manager oversees the steps that comprise the supply chain process: planning, development, manufacturing, logistics and distribution. This process can be owned and managed by one or multiple companies working together to bring a product to its end user. If a company owns its supply chain then it has control over every step in the process. Great effort goes into making sure that the supply chain is effective, on time and cost effective. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 43 per cent of American workers are employed in either the wholesale or retail trades. These kinds of companies use supply chain managers in great numbers. However, the BLS projects no growth within this profession through the year 2016.


The supply chain manager directs the process which includes the planning of procurement, production, inventory control, logistics and distribution. The manager ensures that every step of the process is functioning effectively to avoid costly delays and lost sales opportunities. The supply chain manager's first and most important requirement is planning. Timing is very important in any supply chain. If one component is out of stock or unavailable at the exact point in which it is needed, then you do not have a cost-effective supply chain.


The next requirement is communication. The supply chain manager must communicate his needs and objectives to line managers and key personnel in procurement, development/manufacturing, logistics and distribution. This will help the entire team understand the timing required and individual input necessary to make the process run smoothly. Any miscommunication of expectations could generate costly delays.

Cost Reduction and Process Improvement

Cost reduction and process improvement is an ongoing requirement for the supply chain manager. If a service or raw material can be purchased cheaper from a new supplier, without jeopardising quality, then the change should be made. If a process can be improved or sped up, then productivity could possibly be increased. This ongoing task is continually being examined within the supply chain itself. Cost reductions and increases in productivity usually equal higher profits.

Vendor Management

The supply chain manager must mange the relationships between many different vendors and information technology systems. She must keep the material or services flowing smoothly. In order to do this, the manager must have the cooperation of the company's vendors. Relationship building is important in maintaining this high level of service and quality. The manager must take responsibility for the logistics of returns as well.

Team Building

A good supply chain manager will train, develop, mentor and assist his subordinates in all of the departments that fall within the supply chain process. It is essential that the various components of the team function effectively. Constant process and employee review is needed to ensure that the process stays cost effective. Supply chain management is an intense, process-oriented career. It is about making the processes of procurement, development, logistics and distribution as cost effective as possible. The chain must be continually evaluated in order to produce better techniques, cheaper materials and faster processes.

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