Supply Chain Management Job Description

Discover the characteristics of supply chain management and the career options in the field. Examine salary potential and academic requirements for jobs in supply chain management.

What is Supply Chain Management?

Do you ever think about how your online order appears at your front door and the steps it took to get it there? This process is essentially the supply chain--the steps taken to get a product, idea, information, or service from point A to point B.

Supply chain management (SCM) requires planning and executing the process flow of raw materials all the way to a developed product being in the hands of the customer. It ensures this process is optimized, efficient and economical.

As you can imagine, the SCM process is complicated and involves many complex steps, including planning, understanding demand, assembling, transporting, warehousing, logistics, and distributing. Because of that, SCM professionals are needed in all types of industries, such as government and manufacturing, and areas, such as product development and quality assurance. Let's look at some common jobs within the supply chain management field so you can start exploring your career options.

Supply Chain Management Jobs & Salary

There are several careers within the supply chain management process that require a wide range of education and professional experience. You can explore careers within the field based on your educational and professional goals. Supply chain management degrees can prepare you for these careers; however, other business degrees can also qualify you for jobs in supply chain management.

Some SCM careers may seem similar on the surface, but there are many intricate parts of the supply chain process that have specific characteristics that distinguish them from one another. Let's take at a look at some careers available and the median salary of each one.

Career Median Salary Education Requirement
Expeditor $44,382** High school diploma; bachelor's degree preferred
Purchasing Agent $62,120* Typically a bachelor's degree in business, finance, or supply management
Supply Chain Analyst $58,127** Bachelor's degree in supply chain, business, or related field
Logistics Analyst $55,365** Bachelor's degree; master's degree may be preferred
Inventory Control Specialist $44,090** Associate's degree
Logistician $74,590* Associate's degree; bachelor's degree usually preferred
Operations manager $100,410* Bachelor's degree
Purchasing manager $115,760* Bachelor's degree
Logistics manager salary $92,460* Bachelor's degree
Supply chain manager $105,610* Bachelor's degree in logistics, SCM, or business

Sources: *bls.gov (2017), **payscale.com (2018)

Expeditor

Expeditor Salary: $44,382

Expeditor Education: High school diploma; bachelor's degree preferred

Expeditors oversee customer orders and ensure a product is delivered on time. In this entry-level position, expeditors also guarantee the quality and packaging of items are up to standards and in-line with customer expectations. Expeditors can expect to work in a warehouse or office setting.

Purchasing Agent

Purchasing Agent Salary: $62,120

Purchasing Agent Education: Typically a bachelor's degree in business, finance, or supply management

Purchasing agents assess, buy, and review products or services that suppliers provide. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and make product/service delivery agreements. In this SCM role, purchasing agents also ensure supplies will be delivered on time as to not disrupt the supply chain. In this role, it's required to have a strong understanding of the product or service being bought to ensure fair pricing and high quality.

Supply Chain Analyst

Supply Chain Analyst Salary: $58,127

Supply Chain Analyst Education:

The main responsibility of supply chain analysts is to do exactly what the job title implies: analyze the supply chain. To do this, these analysts evaluate a product or services workflow to find efficiencies and ways to streamline a process. People with strong analytical skills thrive in this job since it requires analyzing and modeling data and compiling reports.

Logistics Analyst

Logistics analyst salary: $62,120

Like supply chain analysts, logistics analysts find effective ways to enhance the supply chain process for a given good or service. However, logistics analysts spend less evaluating the supply chain processes and focus more on specific equipment, facility, and personnel resources needed to improve the supply chain. In doing so, they execute procedures to make the process more efficient at a specific step and adapt as needed.

Inventory Control Specialist

These logistics professionals monitor and report item inventory mostly in warehouse or retail settings. Inventory control specialists, also known as inventory management specialists, adjust the number of items in inventory, classify items, recommend inventory stock changes based on demand, and ensure items aren't lost or stolen.

Logistician

Logistician salary: $74,590

This career is closely related to the duties of a logistics analyst, but these professionals are in charge of coordinating the logistics of a company throughout the whole product life cycle. Logisticians use software to plan and track product activities from purchasing, transporting, keeping in inventory, and delivering to the customer. To make the supply chain process more efficient, logisticians have close relationships with suppliers and customers.

Operations Manager

Operations manager salary: $100,410

This management position can vary from company to company, but operations managers are typically tasked with monitoring and overseeing the overall production process. In doing so, they manage day-to-day operations and plan for human and material resources needed to make daily operations more efficient. These professionals can work in the public or private sector of several industries, including healthcare and government.

Purchasing Manager

Purchasing manager salary: $115,760

Purchasing managers are responsible for buying products, services, or materials for a supplier and negotiating for a fair price. They typically manage and supervise buyers or purchasing agents and may review specifications and purchase orders for issuing and awarding product bids. In doing so, they prepare bids for upper-management approval.

Logistics Manager

Logistics manager salary: $92,460

At a high level, logistics managers oversee the supply chain process from the purchasing, shipping, and distribution of a product or service. Along with supervising other SCM employees, like logistics specialists or planners, logistics managers, also known as distribution managers, address transportation and delivery delays, compile reports on delivery and inventory, and evaluate delivery pricing. The minimum requirement to become a logistics manager is a bachelor's degree.

Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain manager salary: $105,610

Supply chain managers manage existing supply chain processes to find opportunities to gain product distribution efficiencies at all stages of the SCM process from production and purchasing, all the way to storage and distribution. Their main goal is to reduce time and cost and increase customer satisfaction. To do this successfully, they perform tasks like purchasing appropriate equipment, staffing in areas of need, and evaluating transportation and delivery routes. A bachelor's degree in supply chain management, logistics, or business is required to become a supply chain manager