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Supply Chain Management: A needed and growing opportunity

Today, almost every successful company banks on an efficient supply chain management process for the flow of their goods and services into the marketplace rapidly and efficiently. Supply chain management includes all the activities a business organization applies to make its products available to the end user, from obtaining raw materials, to delivering finished goods at the point of purchase. Many of the top firms in industries such as automotive, food and beverage, computer hardware, electronics, and pharmaceuticals practice depend heavily on supply chain management to deliver goods consumers want or need at a price the market will support.
At present, Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a promising career choice with employment opportunities in a variety of industries. Businesses houses including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, warehouses, healthcare providers and government agencies, make constant use of supply chain management principles to plan, assemble, store, ship, and track products from the start to the end of the supply chain cycle.

Supply chain management encompasses alliance with suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, customers, and includes the following:

1. Sourcing raw materials and parts

2. Manufacturing and assembly

3. Warehousing and inventory tracking

4. Order entry and order management

5. Delivery to the customer

Supply chain management professionals, at any point in their career, can further make a difference for themselves through industry-recognized certification. Principal organizations, such as The Association for Operations Management (APICS), and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), recognize capable supply chain managers with industry recognized certification.

SCOPE:

Experienced logistics managers are in huge demand because of their capability to address complications and create valuable solutions in line with the organization goals. Supply chain management professionals take on roles under the following two areas:

1. Planning – These supply chain managers are concerned with areas such as inventory control, forecasting demand, and handling customer service issues.

2. Operations – These Supply chain managers are concerned with distribution facilities, port terminals and operations centers. These roles involve day-to day management of people and the flow of products.

There are several job categories under SCM, among them are:

Forecasting – This area of expertise includes supply chain analysts, planners, and project managers, who use logical and quantitative methods to administer the supply chain process. They naturally focus on performance improvement and identifying prospective problems.

Fulfillment – This includes fulfillment supervisor, distribution center supervisor or distribution team leader. They are commonly accountable for receiving, storing and shipping products, and typically manage teams focused on these activities.

Purchasing – Professionals in this area direct buying activities, locate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and synchronize materials management for the company.

Storage and Distribution – The professionals in these areas are known as warehouse operations managers; directors of logistics, or warehouse and delivery managers. These supply chain management people are skilled in inventory management; from receiving and storing goods, to filling orders across town or around the world.

Customer Service – Also recognized as customer order managers and logistics or distribution coordinators, these people plan and direct actions of customer service teams, to make certain accurate orders, efficient shipments, and timely release of products.

SKILLS REQUIRED

Outstanding communication, negotiation skills, and leadership abilities are the basic qualities to become an aspiring supply chain manager. Apart from that a core competency of knowledge in the basics of supply chain management, such as distributions strategies, planning, and procurement is also needed. In addition, a broad range of specialized knowledge in areas such as globalization, risk management, logistics and lead-time management will serve you well.

JOB PROSPECTS

After graduating in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, one can find a job as a logistics management planner, developer, manager, consultant, trainer, supervisor, or entrepreneur. Logistics and Supply Chain Management business provides lucrative employment opportunities for the candidates, including those in specialized courier and freight management companies which operate on an international scale. Domestic courier and freight management companies also offer enormous employment opportunities at various levels.

REMUNERATION

The salary structure in this industry is lucrative and sky is the limit for the hard workers. A fresher can earn a monthly salary ranging between, Rs.8,000 to Rs.15,000. Hence, if a candidate is dynamic, hardworking, enthusiastic and ready to ride on a fast moving career, then this career may be the right choice. Mid-level professionals in logistics and supply chain management earn anything between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000.

Logistics and supply chain management is an enormously rewarding profession. But one has to be serious and focused towards this profession because of the risk involved in handling and transporting goods from one location to another. After getting the required academic qualifications as well as some practical exposure, one can also become an entrepreneur.

ELIGIBILITY

Minimum qualification required for admission into undergraduate degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management is 10+2 or its equivalent from any recognized Board. Most of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management institutes conduct an entrance test to select candidates for their course.

Logistics and supply chain management courses can be pursued at the undergraduate level as well as post-graduate level. Apart from the undergraduate and post graduate courses, some institutes also offer certificate/diploma courses in logistics and supply chain management.

Prominent institutes offering supply chain management courses are:

Era Business School
Plot No. HAF-1, Sector – 9, Dwarka
New Delhi – 110077
Tel. 011- 46451000

IIT Delhi
Certificate Programs in Supply Chain Management
IIT Campus, Hauz Khas
New Delhi -110 016
Tel: 011-26582222, 26582223

All India Council for Management Studies
Diploma in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
55 (Old No. 29), Lazarus Church Road, R.A. Puram,
Chennai- 600 028
Tel: 044- 24956036

The author is Sanjiv Marwah, the director of ERA Business School (EBS), one of the most technologically advanced business schools located in Dwarka, New Delhi. He can be reached at [email protected]

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