Getting Started as a Supply Chain Manager in Puerto Rico

A logistician or supply chain manager (SCM) is in charge of the process products and services go through, from beginning to end from concept and design to manufacturing and transport and finally to the consumer. This complex process is called a supply chain. A SCM might be involved in the ordering of raw materials, production operations or product sales. There are many more steps along the way for products in supply chains, and logisticians are trained to specialize in one or more of these processes.

You must possess excellent communication skills to become a logistician, since you need to be able to communicate effectively with your clients and outside companies. It’s also important that you can pay attention to detail and manage complex processes without a hitch.

While logisticians often work in offices, they may be required to visit sites of production or other supply chain locations. The workload can be demanding, because it requires at least 40 hours of work per week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that almost half of U.S. logisticians work in either manufacturing or for the federal government. The rest work in various industries, such as scientific services, professional management and wholesale trade.

Your Educational Base in Supply Chain Management

The best way to start your career as a logistician is with a strong education background in business. This can be achieved by earning your bachelor’s degree in supply chain management or business administration. Some schools in Puerto Rico that offer such programs include:

  • Universidad del Turabo. This school is located in Gurabo and is a branch of the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez. It offers a number of bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, including those that focus on management, computerized information systems, marketing and more. By earning a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields, students can become prepared for a career in supply chain management.
  • University of Puerto Rico-Bayamón. This school also offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in which students can focus in one of these areas: accounting, finance, management and marketing. This program is accredited by the ACBSP.
  • Inter-American University-Bayamón. Another University located in Bayomón, this is a private school that offers a variety of Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) degrees. Students may study general administration, business development, finance, accounting and more. There are also master’s degree options available at this school.

Master’s Degrees in Supply Chain and Business

A master’s degree in supply chain management or business administration may help you stand out from the crowd when seeking employment or looking for higher pay rates. University of Puerto Rico-River Piedras Enclosureis a public school where students can earn a Master in Business Administration. Also accredited by the AACSB, this school will prepare students who already have a bachelor’s degree and some work experience for higher positions of management in the business field.

Shorter Training for Supply Chain Management

If you want to specialize specifically in supply chain or don’t want to pursue a four-year degree just yet, you might consider Polytechnic University. With a location in San Juan, students here can earn an Associate Degree of Engineering in Supply Chain and Logistics. This degree prepares logistics technicians to enter the supply chain field, prepared for purchasing, planning, storage and distribution aspects of the supply chain.

Is Certification Required for Logisticians?

In most cases, certification in supply chain management isn’t required to work in the field. Usually, specialized education and work experience are enough to get started in the field. However, to set yourself apart in the career field, you may wish to pursue APICS certifications. There are four types of certifications available, and each can be earned through the successful passing of an exam.

APICS is soon becoming the Association for Supply Chain Management (ACSM), which will take over future certification of SCMs.

Puerto Rico SCM Income Estimates and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, Puerto Rican logisticians made a median income of $20.38 per hour in 2017. However, those working in Puerto Rico (within any industry) are usually paid much less than reported by the BLS due to austerity measures.

It’s more likely that logisticians made just above the minimum wage of $7.25 in the area, like those in other occupations. The taxes paid by Puerto Ricans are also much higher than those paid within the United States mainland, causing comparison between incomes in the two areas to be quite difficult.

The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) predicts just a 3 percent increase in employment for logisticians in Puerto Rico by 2026. This is about half the rate of that within the United States nationwide. Logisticians in Puerto Rico can expect to see about 70 new job openings per year, says the PMP.

Working as a Logistician in Puerto Rico

It seems best to work in the San Juan-Carolina-Caguas area as a logistician, as the BLS reported a much higher number of logisticians in that area than the Aguadilla-Isabella area in 2018. However, those who did work in the Aguadilla-Isabella area seemed to be paid higher salaries, which, again, is difficult to gauge due to austerity measures.

This career field is experiencing standard job growth across the United States and Puerto Rico and generally pays above minimum wage. If you’re looking for a career in business and are interested in SCM, start looking at your bachelor’s degree options in business administration so you can begin learning the necessary skills for the trade.

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