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5 Facts about Working in Supply Chain Management

It’s amazing how modern day commerce has evolved.  Not only do we expect a variety of goods at our fingertips, we also expect them to be there when we want it – and fast.


Amazon Prime ships products we buy with a click of a button to our door within two days.  Wal-Mart is never out of stock of any product for more than 24 hours.  This all comes from the world of logistics, or what is gradually becoming known as supply chain management.


More broadly defined, supply chain management is all about the coordination of resources to get from point A to point B.  This could be products you’re selling, raw materials being moved to a facility for processing, or even services as a transporter like UPS or FedEx.  How do you get involved with supply chain management, and what do careers look like?


Job Growth is Rapid

Thanks to companies like Amazon setting the bar for how quickly products can get to you, other companies are now stepping their game up – and it’s logistics companies that are benefiting.  George Prest, CEO of Material Handling Industry, claims that there are roughly “6 to 8 management positions for each applicant we get.”  A report by MHI expects there to be roughly 270,000 job openings a year.  To put that into perspective, positions in financial management are expected to grow from 555,900 to 593,500, or roughly 7% (the national average) between now and 2024.  Compared to the national job growth rate over the past few years, careers in supply chain management are growing faster than the economy!



It’s a Big Part of the Economy

Supply chain management affects practically every part of the economy – all products needs to be transported at some point.  This shows in the economy too, almost 10% of US GDP, or 1.3 trillion dollars, is spent on supply chain management every year.  Supply chain management is spread across all of these sectors below, so you’ll be able to work within an industry that interests you.





Education is Changing Fast

As supply chain management grows as a field of interest, schools are scrambling to change their programs to accommodate.  Programs formally focused on manufacturing or logistics are now working to combine all of these into one coherent program, supply chain.  Expect to take courses related to logistics, statistics, and management of information systems, but also courses in finance and accounting.



Starting Salaries are High

According to Gartner, which ranks the top supply chain management programs in North America, the average starting salary grew from $53,584 to $55,749 between 2015 and 2016, or a 4% increase.  If you graduate from one of the top 10 schools listed above, Gartner estimates the entry level salary to be around $61,590.



You Might Want Certification

Although certification in supply chain management isn’t necessary, it may give you the edge you need over competition for a job.  There are actually 3 different certifications you can get, but the broadest is the CSCP, or the Certified Supply Chain Professional.  Overall cost for the program from APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society) is roughly $1,250, along with around $700 for the exam.  These fees go down if you join the society, which costs $200.  You aren’t just throwing your money away though, APICS estimates that the salaries of those certified as a CSCP earn 21% more than those that are not.  


Have an analytical mind?  Check out our other guides on data driven jobs – Marketing, Accounting, and Finance.  


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