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Skills to succeed in supply chain management

Skills to succeed in supply chain management

From analytical skills for data-driven decisions to risk management, accounting, communication, and technical proficiency, explore examples of essential skills that supply chain managers use daily.

What is supply chain management?

Logistics and supply chain management drive an organisation’s success to help it grow. They impact a business’s bottom line, ensure customer needs and demands are met, and influence global reputations. 
Supply chain management is management of the flow of goods, materials and information, and the coordination of various elements of this chain, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers.

Similarly, sustainable supply chain management is all of the above but the objective of a sustainable supply chain is to reduce adverse effects of these procedures on the environment, society and economy, whilst still getting the job done efficiently. 

Supply chain management can be an extremely varied, interesting and rewarding career path; If you’re interested, read on to explore the skills you’ll need to be successful in supply chain management and gain expert tips on how to improve in these areas.

Examples of supply chain manager skills 

Supply Chain Managers require a diverse set of skills to navigate the complexities of modern supply chains. You can read more about what a Supply Chain Manager does. Meanwhile, here are examples of skills that Supply Chain Managers typically put into practice on a day-to-day basis:

Analytical skills for data-driven decision-making 

A successful Supply Chain Manager will be excellent at analysing data, interpreting trends and making informed decisions based on relevant metrics determined by themselves and the wider business. 

Risk management 

The ability to assess, plan for and mitigate potential risks within the supply chain, including disruptions, geopolitical factors and changes in market conditions, without these external factors impacting efficiency.  

Accounting / budget management  

Many supply chain operations require accounting skills to manage financial documents like balance sheets and overall budgets. A typical Supply Chain Manager will be well-versed in the likes of tax returns, profit-and-loss statements and cash flow statements.

Having strong accounting and budget management skills empowers these stakeholders to oversee key performance indicators (KPIs) and implement adjustments aimed at enhancing the company's profitability. 

Communication and collaboration  

As with any leadership role, strong verbal and written communication skills are crucial for effective collaboration with your internal team, suppliers and other stakeholders throughout the entire supply chain. 

Technical skills – e.g., software and systems   

Familiarity with supply chain management software, data analytics tools and emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence is vital. 

Project and time-management skills 

The role of Supply Chain Manager involves overseeing multiple projects simultaneously, meaning that being able to prioritise and allocate resources effectively is crucial.

Proficient project and time management skills will ensure timely execution of tasks, minimising delays and enhancing overall operational effectiveness. 

How to strengthen your supply chain manager skills 

If this fast-paced and dynamic role is of interest to you, here are some of our expert tips on how to strengthen your supply chain manager skills and make yourself appealing to potential employers. 

Set goals 

Setting personal goals provides a clear roadmap for professional development and improvement on your path to becoming a successful Supply Chain Manager.

Well-defined goals help focus your efforts on specific areas and improving on any weaknesses, whether it's enhancing communication, mastering new technologies, or refining strategic planning.

By establishing measurable objectives, you can track your progress, hold yourself accountable and stay motivated.

Earn qualifications 

A well-recognised qualification validates and formalises your expertise in the field. Not only this, but it demonstrates a commitment to continuous learning and professional development, which will be recognized favourably by potential future employers.

Gain experience 

It sounds like an obvious one, but gaining real-world experience in the field will signal to employers that you have practical insights and a deep understanding of the challenges in the field. Exposure develops adaptability, resilience and wider understanding.

Keep a record 

Our top tip is to keep a record of any qualifications, experience and learnings along the way. Firstly, this log can serve as a valuable reference, allowing you to reflect on past challenges, solutions and successes.

This documented history not only aids in professional development but also provides a dated log of insights that can be shared with future teams and colleagues, contributing to collective knowledge within the organisation.

How an MSc Supply Chain Management can help you succeed 

Are you interested in learning more about this fast-paced, competitive and dynamic industry? Do you want to build your understanding of optimising processes, streamlining operations and eliminate bottlenecks in supply chains? 

Our CILT-accredited part-time MSc Supply Chain Management is 100% online, giving you the flexibility to study online and work at your own pace around other commitments, anytime and anywhere. 

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Have questions?  

We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch to discuss your course of interest and ask any questions about studying.