Your Career in Supply Chain Management Starts Here
Supply Chain Management is the engine of industry and commerce. Start your career today with first-class education. SCMEDU provides full listings of undergraduate and graduate options at universities and colleges in your state, and online.
Supply Chain Management and the Top Five Degree Programs
In today’s world of global manufacturing and shipping, many businesses simply wouldn’t function without supply chain management professionals. Put very simply, supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the movement of goods from the point when raw materials are first shipped out all the way to the end point where the finished goods reach the customers. However if we dig a little deeper a vast industry that covers a wide array of career opportunities opens up.
A supply chain professional should always be prepared for the unexpected and have the necessary tools to make snap decisions when unforeseen situations arise. No two days will look alike and depending on what shift you end up working, early mornings, late nights and weekend work could be a normal part of the job. There is a lot of data behind all those good as well so someone interested in the industry should know they will be spending some time in front of a computer screen.
There are many different career opportunities involved in supply chain management but they share many similarities so whatever position you end up in you can expect to perform at least a few of the following duties on the job:
- Supervision of one or more employees
- Inventory control
- Data processing
- Reporting and analysis
- Collaborating with vendors and suppliers
- Shipping and receiving
- Creation and or streamlining of a company’s supply chain strategy
If you like the idea of being constantly on the go, being the go to person for problem solving and interacting with many different types of people then a career in supply chain management may be perfect for you.
There are many moving parts to this industry and supply chain management is actually more of an umbrella term used to describe a plethora of occupations. A supply chain professional could find themselves working in many different positions throughout their careers. Just a few of those possibilities are:
A person working in this position is responsible for increasing the proficiency of a business’s supply chain processes. This is done by managing inventory levels, coordinating subcontractors, streamlining interdepartmental communication and preparing progress reports for project meetings.
A buyer or purchasing agent must not only buy products they must be excellent negotiators. They must keep an eye on inventory levels and budgets while being able to forecast the company’s future needs so that they do not buy too much or too little in the way of goods and supplies.
- Operations Manager
An operations manager hires, supervises and trains employees. By managing quality assurance programs and strategizing process improvements they are ultimately responsible for maintaining and increasing the efficiency of the business or businesses they work for.
A person working in this position will oversee the movement of goods, people or supplies in order to make sure that the supply chain can meet a business’s needs. They oversee activities such as purchasing, transportation, inventory and warehousing.
- Supply Chain Manager
A supply chain manager oversees and coordinates the supply chain processes of their business in order to lower costs while improving customer service, accuracy and safety. They Analyze forecasts and quotas and develop interdepartmental coordination to streamline supply chain processes.
Popular SCM Programs
What is Required to work in Supply Chain Management
The best course of action for someone interested in working in supply chain management is to obtain their bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management. Other pathways such as studies in business, finance, or even engineering can lead to careers in the industry but a Supply Chain Management degree will teach you exactly what you need to know in order to be successful in the field.
Many individuals build successful careers for themselves on a bachelor’s degree alone, but it is becoming more common to see supply chain managers with graduate level education. Dedicated masters programs in Supply Chain Management exist and take anywhere from one to three years to complete. Some professionals will even go so far as to complete a PhD in Supply Chain Management. Choosing to obtain your Doctorate can add another two years of study.
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Top 5 Supply Chain Management Degree Programs
There are many excellent schools and programs on offer in the US for students considering becoming a Supply Chain Management Professional, but the following schools were chosen by USNews and the results are based on peer assessment surveys. All undergraduate programs listed below are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). So if you are interested in this industry but aren’t sure where to start, this list should help you out.
- Michigan State University – East Lansing, M
Rated as the #1 undergraduate program in Supply Chain Management and offering three levels of degree programs in SCM
As of fall 2020 the university reported a little over 38,000 enrolled undergraduate students.
The department of SCM is the top ranked leader in supply chain management education, research and outreach and its department faculty are global industry leaders. The Bachelor’s program unifies subjects on manufacturing operations, purchasing, transportation and physical distribution.
The three core courses the program is built around are
- Procurement and Supply Chain Management
- Manufacturing Planning and Control
- Logistics and Transportation Management
All students enrolled in the B.A program have access to the University’s Supply Chain Management Association giving them access to valuable networking opportunities and real world experience.
Supply Chain Management Alumni work for businesses such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, C.H. Robinson, Kellogg Company, FCA North America, Boeing, Amazon and many more.
- Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
One of the top rated Supply Chain Management programs in the world, ASU offers students three levels of degree programs in SCM. The SCM program is available to take in person or online.
The bachelor’s curriculum focuses on the following topics:
- Execution systems
- Strategy development.
Class sizes are small and course materials use projects and case studies to engage their students. Special accelerated programs allow interested students to complete both their bachelor and masters in as little as five years. ASU also offers high achieving undergraduate students the opportunity to create concurrent degree combination to complement their interests. This is done in conjunction with an academic advisor.
Alumni of the program have found employment in the following roles, Inventory Specialist, Materials Manager, Product Forecaster, Supply Management Analyst, Quality Control Specialist and many more.
- University of Tennessee – Knoxville, TN
Internationally recognized and offering a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degree in SCM
All students of the undergraduate program receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with the option of obtaining a collateral concentration in one of the following areas,
- Business Analytics
- Information Management
- International Business
The SCM undergraduate program provides all students with the opportunity to complete an internship in the industry. The SCM curriculum is shaped by an advisory board of over 40 industry professionals. Students of the program have access to professionals in the field through guest lectures, site visits and networking events.
There are multiple student run organizations geared towards supply chain management such as Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and a group called NeXxus who are run by female students and staff and concentrate on promoting gender diversity in the industry.
- Pennsylvania State University – University Park, PA
Consistently ranked in the top #5 Penn State offers students the opportunity to obtain their Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral Degree in SCM.
The faculty that makes up the Smeal College of Supply Chain Management and Information Systems are nationally and internationally recognized scholars.
Students can approach their curriculum in multiple ways but the core focus of the program centers on,
- Sourcing and procuring raw materials
- Manufacturing and service operations
- Planning and fulfilling customer demand
Students also learn about information processing, databases, information systems design and analysis and supply chain technologies. Internships and co-op opportunities are an important part of the curriculum.
SCM students have the opportunity to get involved with SMEAL College of business organizations such as the Penn State Supply Chain Podcast and the web based initiative Women in Supply Chain.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA
MIT offers two intensive Masters level programs in SCM.
- The Master of Engineering (MEng) in Supply Chain Management
Best suited for students with an interest in research or planning to pursue a PhD.
- The Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Supply Chain Management
Best suited for students looking to pursue a career in industry or consulting
Both programs are aimed primarily at students who have previous industry experience but anyone who meets the entry requirements may enroll.
Courses are delivered by leading logistics and supply chain professionals and students take specialized courses in,
- Logistic systems
- Supply chain designs
- Inventory planning
- Transportation management
- Analytical methods
- Data Science
- Machine learning
As well students are exposed to subjects in leadership, business writing, public speaking and strategy. All students get to participate in international study projects as well as domestic and international week long trips to gain valuable real world experience in the industry.
In addition to obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree many supply management professionals will choose to become certified with the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) a global leader in the Supply Chain Management Industry. Members of ASCM gain access to a huge network of industry professionals and business and learning opportunities.
Supply chain professionals can choose from the following three certifications,
- Certified in Planning and Inventory Management
This certification signals to employers and those in the industry that you know how to handle disruptions, demand variation and supply chain risk.
- Certified Supply Chain Professional
This certification signals to those in the industry and employers that you specific knowledge of the technology, concepts and strategies that are essential to todays extended supply chains.
- Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution
This certification signals to those in the industry and employers that you are well versed in streamlining the logistics, transportation and distribution sectors of the supply chain.
The cost of obtaining these certifications runs between $1600 and $1800 for ASCM Plus members. This includes self-study exam preparation materials and exam entrance fees. Certification need only be renewed every five years. Membership with the ASCM cost $220 per year and gives professionals’ access to a huge source for career resources, networking opportunities and much more.
Career Outlook and Salary
The career outlook for a supply chain management professional is extremely bright. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Logisticians can expect to see massive growth of about 30 percent from 2020 -2030 which is much faster than other occupations across the nation. This translates to an addition of 56,400 jobs over a 10 year period. The supply chain management industry continues to become more and more important as more goods are shipped around the world and as online purchasing continues to increase in popularity.
Logisticians can expect to make an average of $76,270 per year which works out to about $36.67 per hour. With more education, time on the job and depending on the location of the job some of these professionals can expect to make around $122, 580 per year which is recorded as being in the 90th percentile for earnings. In terms of earnings, the top five states for logisticians are the District of Columbia, Maryland, Alaska, Delaware and Virginia.
Working in Supply Chain Management
Wherever you decide to start your career in supply chain management and no matter which school or program you choose you can be sure that you are entering an industry that has nowhere to go but up.
For those interested in learning more about the Supply Chain Industry in the U.S and across the globe the following resources should be of interest.