What does a Supply Chain Manager/ Analyst do?
A supply chain analyst is a professional who collects data and analyzes it to gauge the efficiency of supply chain operations. They use analytical and quantitative methods to understand, predict, and enhance supply chain processes. As a supply chain analyst, you keep track of logistics and update the company’s inventory. You’re expected to use your skills in database management and spreadsheet analysis to help the business increase cash flows, inventory turns, and employee productivity.
What skills do you need to become a Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager?
A good supply chain analyst MUST possess a variety of skills. They usually have a degree in Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Business, or any other similar field.
- Project management: You will require skills such as a high degree of personal organization, negotiation skills, and being proactive at approaching risk management to perform project management as a supply chain analyst.
- Be customer-focused: One of the most important supply chain management skills is being highly customer-focused. You have to be creative in coming up with messages that customers are going to remember. The secret is in the details!
- Have a great understanding of economics and market dynamics: The supply chain industry just like other industries has been affected by the rapid shifts in customer and consumer purchasing behaviors. Your role as a supply chain manager is to focus on the future and to some extent predict it. This means you have to understand the market dynamics relating to your industry.
- Master flexibility: A great supply chain manager should give their team the freedom to innovate and the confidence to be creative. You will do this by being flexible and being open to change.
- Be a great networker: You must possess the ability to build relationships internally and externally for they impact you both at a personal and business level.
- Have IT and automation knowledge: Even though supply chain management is a leadership role that requires using people as technology, you still need to be supported by tech tools in this day and age. This means that you need to have an IT understanding to work as a supply chain manager.
What are the responsibilities of a Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager?
- Creating processes and methods to gather supply chain data (costs, productivity, demand patterns, etc.)
- Investigating problems by analyzing data, finding root causes, and developing solutions
- Developing performance reports and distributing them to stakeholders
- Planning and implementing supply chain optimization projects
- Identifying the most cost-effective shipping modes and schedules
- Overseeing inventory procedures
- Evaluating vendor operations according to quality standards
- Helping foster trusting relationships with business partners
- Collaborating with IT professionals to put effective systems in place
- Tracking key metrics and reports on supply chain’s performance
A day in the life of a Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager
As a supply chain manager, you start your day by checking emails from overseas suppliers from the previous night and responding to them first thing in the morning. You then review and resolve daily delivery issues before attending the cross-functional team meetings. You will then check on a larger stack of emails and collaborate extensively with internal stakeholders and suppliers, customers, and third-party logistics providers.
You’ll then go on to review and approve documents before having a meeting with key customers and suppliers to continue fostering good relationships. Later in the day, you conduct a discussion with the manufacturing/warehouse about next-day delivery and double-check on the delivery of important orders.
Career prospects and job outlook for a Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics which has grouped Supply Chain Analysts with logisticians, the field will experience 4% jobs increase from 2019 to 2029. This is the same rate as expected job growth for all occupations during the same ten-year period.
A Supply Chain Analyst is mostly hired by the transportation and logistics companies but can also be hired by; shipping companies, freight and all transportation companies, warehousing and distribution units, inventory control units, administration, and IT.
The Supply Chain Analyst job role highly depends on the industry you’re in, the company you’re working for, and the department you’re assigned. Here are some job profiles available for you as a Supply Chain Analyst:
- Materials Analyst
- Data Analyst
- Purchase Manager
- Warehouse Manager
- Purchasing Agent
- Operations Manager
- Logistics Analyst
- Logistics Manager
- Distribution Manager
Top 5 Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager books you MUST read!
- The Supply Chain Revolution: Innovative Sourcing and Logistics for a Fiercely Competitive World. This book aims to educate leaders to improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue by using the supply chain as the hidden tool for outperforming the competition.
- Managing Supply Chain Operations: This book focuses on the key factors of efficient supply chain performance which are: demand forecasting, sales and operations planning, inventory control, capacity analysis, supply chain integration, transportation models, and project management and risk analysis.
- The Forklifts Have Nothing to Do! Lessons in Supply Chain Leadership: This book provides you with practical methods that you can implement in your business strategy. It gives examples from the civilian industry and military operations and how the two correlates to supply chain management.
- Strategic Supply Chain Management: The Five Core Disciplines for Top Performance. This book offers in-depth examples that shed light on what is needed for successful supply chain design. The five disciplines it covers are: aligning your supply chain with your business strategy, developing an end-to-end process architecture, designing a high-performing supply chain organization, building the right collaborative model, and using metrics to drive performance.
- Total Value Optimization: Transforming Your Global Supply Chain into a Competitive Weapon. This book is designed to provide you with a clear pathway to transforming supply chains into the ultimate competitive weapons. It’s the ultimate book for companies looking to survive and thrive in the 21st century’s fast-paced and ever-changing business world.
5 Best online platforms for Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager courses
The educational requirements for a Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager are a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management, Business, or any related field. This should, however, not deter you from adding to your skills through online courses and certification, after all, you should never stop learning if you want to be great at something. The following are some online resources/ courses that will help you expand your skills:
- Supply Chain Management Specialization: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/supply-chain-management
- Supply Chain Logistics: https://www.coursera.org/learn/supply-chain-logistics
- Supply Chain Optimization Analyst Training: https://www.experfy.com/training/courses/supply-chain-optimization-analyst-training
- RA: Data Science and Supply chain analytics. (A-Z with R): https://www.udemy.com/share/103l46/
- Supply Chain Fundamentals for Complete Beginners Skillshare: https://skl.sh/39OwtUC
Supply Chain Analyst/ Manager is an in-demand job seeing as the world is increasingly becoming globalized. Unlike several years ago when roles such as supply chain management were people-oriented, in today’s technological world you will need to have knowledge in IT to perform your duties excellently. In this article, we have covered the most basic information you need to be aware of before deciding on a supply chain analyst career path. We have provided you with guides to resources to help you start or sharpen your already existing skills. Keep in mind that more than formal and informal education to achieve hard skills for the job, you will also need to enhance your soft skills, which will transform you from a good supply chain analyst to a great one!
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