17 Jun 2015 19:03 IST

Become a supply chain manager

It’s a challenging job, and the pay is good

The key issue in today’s board rooms is how to measure the efficiency of the organisation’s supply chains. Supply chain management (SCM), hence, has become a critical concern for senior executives. Starting from supplier selection, to inventory management, transportation, and operations management, once the product is out of the production line, it is the efficiency of the supply chain that delivers the product to the right place in right time. Hence it is mandatory for an organisation to keep its supply chain efficient and proactive all the time. As competition in today’s world is between supply chains, an inefficient supply chain can bring about the downfall of an organisation.

Significant increase

Reduced time-to-market is one of the key objectives in today’s business world. Organisations continue to try and be more significant with increased performance in terms of better quality, delivery speed, flexibility, innovativeness, responsive to customer’s needs and be more cost efficient in their overall operations

Tops in SCM

The best performing organisations, such as Apple, Amazon, McDonalds, Unilever, P&G, Cisco Systems, Nike, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Nestle etc, are the companies that rank best in supply chain management consistently.

The practice of Indian industry in taking care of the supply chain has changed dramatically from traditional observation to a system driven approach. Indian supply chain management is also becoming competitive because of the ease in use of technology and visibility of the end-to-end processes in the various supply chain flows such as material flow, information flow and money (fund) flow from the upstream to the downstream (from the suppliers to the final customer) and better infrastructure. An understanding of what a supply chain is has begun to engage the minds of young professionals as they strive to compete in understanding the business under the logic of supply chains.

Now in India, because of the rapid growth of e-retail industry, increased manufacturing and production and make in India initiatives, job opportunities in the supply chain-related activities are turning out to be enormous. Be it manufacturing, engineering, oil & gas, e-retail, traditional retail, IT/BPO or any other industry, there is a need for an SCM department.

The Cross-functional jobs

SCM jobs are available across various functions such as procurement, material management, warehousing, stores, production planning, logistics, transportation, operations management, data analysis, inventory management, supply chain analysis etc. The salary on an average, a supply chain manager earns in India, is about ₹8.3 lakhs according to the website payscale.com. A prominent example of a business head who leads the organisation from a Supply Chain background is Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc. (earlier Global Operations Manager)

Challenges galore

The job of a supply chain manager includes identifying the right supplier, price negotiation, drawing up terms and conditions of contract, placing purchase orders, Supplier evaluation and selection, monitoring orders, inventory control and maintenance, distribution network planning, logistics optimisation, forecasting and demand planning, strategic cost management in terms of increased availability of stock at store or reduced spending, implementing IT in SCM, efficient tracking and tracing, spend analysis etc. This is one of the best jobs where the challenges are enormous and managers handle a variety of situations each day. The gap between the talent required and what is available is big; the predominant skillset developed is based on a traditional understanding and not an education based approach.

CII certifications

CII-Institute of Logistics as a part of deepening skills and to bring awareness to the industry as well as to bridge the skill gap in the Supply Chain, has come up with certifications called SCM EXE and SCM PRO, which are great platforms to enrich knowledge. Many educational institutes and B schools have now come up with MBAs, certifications and post-graduation programs on supply chain management.

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