Supply Chain Managers: Starting Your Career in Wisconsin

Did you ever wonder where your new shoes had been long before they made it to your feet? It’s a long process for a product to be made, transported, marketed and sold. This process is called the supply chain. Your shoes followed the supply chain from the person who designed them to you.

The people who manage this lengthy, detailed process are called supply chain managers (SCMs) or logisticians. They oversee everything in the process, maintaining efficiency in speed, product quality and cost reduction. There are a lot of logistics required to get those shoes to you.

Some logisticians focus on specific pieces of the supply chain, such as manufacturing, shipping or warehousing. Others focus on the supply chain as a whole, working in whichever areas need improvement.

To become an SCM, you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level jobs require bachelor-level training. If this is the career for you, be prepared to work full-time and often overtime hours. Supply chain situations can change quickly, so you need to be someone who can think on your feet. It’s important that you notice small details and that you can communicate well with others.

The Best Start is a Bachelor’s Degree

There is no doubt that a bachelor’s degree is the best choice you can make on the road to becoming a supply chain manager. You’ll learn the business and management skills you need to enter your career. Here are a few schools in Wisconsin with bachelor’s degrees in SCM:

  • University of Wisconsin-Stout. This school’s Bachelor of Science (BS) in Supply ChainManagement takes place on campus in Stout. It boasts that 100 percent of its graduates are employed or continuing their education. To be accepted, students need to submit an ACT composite score of 22 or higher and an ACT math score of at least 22. Transfer students must demonstrate a GPA of 3.0 or higher from previous coursework.
  • Rasmussen College, Green Bay and Wausau. This is a bachelor’s degree completion program that can be completed in 23 courses or 90 credit hours. To be accepted into Rasmussen, you must have previously earned an associate’s degree at an accredited college, or have performed an equivalent amount of secondary education-60 credit-hours.

Continuing Your Education with a Master’s Degree

Say you’ve already gotten your bachelor’s degree, started working in the supply chain field, but realize now that you need more training to go into a certain area or be promoted. If that’s the case, you might want to pursue a master’s degree in SCM.

  • Wisconsin School of Business at University of Wisconsin. Earn an MS in Supply Chain Management in just one year at this school. The program emphasizes global supply chain management, while covering operations, marketing and risk management. The supply chain program is supported by the Grainger center, which allows students to take a global trip. They can also take part in a biannual exchange program to Norway. An MBA program is also available.
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville. This Master of Science in Integrated Supply Chain Management program takes two years to complete. The total cost of the program currently ranges from $20,850 to $22,935. Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a similar field and a GPA of at least 2.75 for all completed coursework.

Shorter Alternative SCM Programs

There are a few shorter degree options, such as associate degrees, for those who want to get started in their careers sooner. An associate’s degree offers much of the technical side of training to students. These are some excellent associate programs in SCM:

  • Fox Valley Technical College. This technical college in Appleton offers an AAS in Supply Chain Management. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.75 or higher to be accepted. Credits can easily be transferred to another degree, such as a bachelor’s degree.
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Earn a Supply Chain Management associate’s degree at this school. To be accepted, applicants need their high school transcript and must demonstrate a cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher in either high school or college classes.

Types of Certifications Logisticians Pursue

The global leader in certifications for supply chain managers is APICS. Credentials which can be earned by logisticians include:

  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)
  • SCOR Professional (SCOR-P) Endorsement

Obtaining credentials such as these will set you apart from other logisticians, bringing more job opportunities and higher income levels. APICS is currently transitioning into the Association for Supply Chain Management(ACSM).

Career Details for Wisconsin Logisticians

Logisticians made a strong income in Wisconsin in 2017, with a median income of $28.31 per hour. That pay rate is four times the minimum wage in Wisconsin that year. This career field is also looking promising for logisticians, as a 14.2 percent growth in employment is predicted by the year 2026. On average, there are 280 job openings per year in Wisconsin, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS).

Getting Started in Wisconsin

When beginning a logistician career in Wisconsin, a good place to look for jobs would be in the Milwaukee area. In 2018, this city employed the highest number of SCMs compared to other cities. Other good places to work include Wausau and Racine, which reported the highest median incomes in the state at $35.38 and $33.32, respectively. The highest rates of logistician employment per 1,000 jobs in the state was in Oshkosh, Janesville, Sheboygan and the western Wisconsin nonmetropolitan areas.

If this career sounds perfect for you, living in Wisconsin will be beneficial as you get started on your path. The demand for logisticians is projected to continue growing, and these professionals are in demand all over the state. Start looking into your education options today.

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