Job Preparation for Supply Chain Students!

Job preparation

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Job preparation article and permission to publish here provided by Alisia Stren.

Students start looking for a job early. They are still studying in university, but a part-time job would give them more financial freedom and they would not be dependent on their parents.

A career in supply chain management is very attractive, especially because now more and more supply businesses are founded. The global pandemic made people more aware of their choices and many of them decided to found their own startups or business.

The supply chain industry needs project managers. This is because their process is very complex and they need competent people to tackle these challenges. And challenges are always on the road. A supply chain manager is responsible for handling the services or goods that are produced by a manufacturer until they reach the customer or final consumer.

So, a few practical and social skills are the ones students who want to pursue a career in this domain should develop and improve in their job preparation. 

But First, Think About What You Want to Do 

Well, you need a set of skills to succeed in a domain such as supply chain management. But first, think about what exactly you want to do. And this highly depends on what you like and where you take your energy from. For example, if you like working with people, you might take on a career in the Human Resources department or customer service. 

There you will always be working with people. If you like numbers, you can prepare for a career in the financial management of the supply chain. If you love engineering, you could work on solution design with a third-party logistics company. There are many opportunities in supply chain management, but you have to decide the niche you want to choose. Depending on the niche you choose, you can seek courses that will help you learn more and gain more knowledge. 

The Steps You Need to Take 

If you are a student who wants to prepare for a job in the supply chain management profession, you need to know that there are a few steps you can take. This job preparation process will also help you get to know yourself and your dreams better and work on achieving something you really want. 

  • Decide on the niche you want – this will make the next steps clearer; ask yourself what you love doing and where you take your energy from. Do you take your energy from the people around you and do you like managing them? Do you like working with numbers and planning the expenses? Do you love engineering or design?
  • Look for the positions available – after you have decided on your niche, you could start looking for the positions available that would meet your needs. For example, if you want to work with people, positions available would be in the HR and Customer Service departments. 
  • Get to know the qualifications and courses you need – even though you are still a student, you can take part in many courses that will shed more light on supply chain management. Moreover, they are valuable things to add to your resume, which may make a difference; you can get certifications for purchasing manager, production and inventory management, and many more. 
  • Look for internship positions – if you think you have enough time to start working part-time in this domain, an internship position would be exactly what you need to get it started and learn more. 
  • Improve Yourself Continuously – there will always be new technologies that get invented, there is always something new to learn about. Stay curious to improve your skills and knowledge continuously; stay connected with updates in the supply chain management domain.
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Challenges are always on the road in a supply chain management profession, so you need some sets of skills to face these challenges. 

Knowledge of Logistics and Transportation 

Transportation and logistics are a crucial part of the entire process of supply chain management. This is because they represent an essential step in the entire process. A supply chain manager is responsible, among others, for the transportation of goods from the manufacturer to the supplier. It depends on the size and weight of goods, which in turn depend on the profile of the supply chain business. 

Logistics and transportation are essential for the well-functioning of the company or business and if done and planned wisely, they can be very efficient and low cost. However, logistics and transportation are two of the main functional areas of supply chain management, and they are deeply connected, even though they operate separately. Usually, transport management is a subdivision of the logistics department, but this is different from company to company. 

While the logistics part involves the handle of goods and services, storing them, and making sure that they are there for the customer, the transportation part is another essential part. This is because you may have the best products, stored in the biggest warehouse, and customers that demand them. But if you do not manage the transportation part accordingly, they may not even reach the final consumer.

If you are a student passionate about supply chain management and the logistics and transportation domains caught your interest, you can start studying for certifications. There is a certification of logistics, transportation, and distribution (CLTD) you can get. 

Inventory Management and Demand Planning 

The supply chain management domain has many functional areas, among which the inventory management and demand planning. In some businesses, they can be organized separately. 

However, they are interconnected. Inventory management is essential for a supply chain business, as it has to make sure that all the products are ready to be delivered and that there is an optimum number of each of them in the warehouse. The primary goal of an inventory manager is to make sure that there are uninterrupted sales. Delays and issues can always appear, especially because this domain is closely related to transportation too. 

Well, based on the orders submitted, demand planning can be forecasted. This means that in some periods, such as Winter Holidays, the demand for products might be higher, so you need to make sure you have the products in the warehouse. 

Well, to be part of the demand planning area, you need to know quantitative methods of forecasting the demand, computer modeling and have good analytical skills. Planning and anticipating the demand of the consumers require the collection and a good analysis of data, so you also need to know data analysis. There are many roles you can fill in this domain and you can choose from inventory analyst/manager, deployment planner, demand planner, and many more. 

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Financial planning 

Another part that is important not only to businesses in the supply chain management sector but to all businesses is financial planning. If you want to work in supply chain management, you need to have good financial skills. Besides logistics and transportation, this is another set of skills that will help you succeed in this industry. Planning the entire activity of the business from a financial point of view might sound easy, but it is very complex. 

There are income, expenses, and investments you need to take care of and measure. At the same time, you should not forget about the employees, suppliers, and customers too. So, making a financial plan and setting financial goals is essential, and to do this, you need to have a good understanding of finance. 

Customer Service

Even though it may seem that the customer service department is at the end of the supply chain management, it is an essential and crucial department that ensures the satisfaction of the customers. Being a customer service representative or manager comes with responsibility and even though it sounds easy, it is a very challenging job. 

Students that study in university and want to be active in this functional part of the supply chain need to be aware of the skills they need to have. It is important to also know that you will need to handle both difficult and easy customer cases, help and support the customer in their acquisition, and be able to come up with solutions to their issues.

And for this, besides the technical knowledge, you need to have on the supply chain management processes, you also need to have important social skills. Professionals from Writix: cheap service suggest that the most important social skills to work on are: conflict solving/resolution, assertive and effective communication, empathy, active listening, relationship management, and many more.

Job Preparation in Conclusion

If you were wondering how to prepare for a job in the supply chain management profession, we hope this article met your expectations and answered your questions. The supply chain management profession is a nice and rewarding one, but also challenging and complex. So, a few sets of job preparation skills are essential to ensure success in this profession. 

Knowledge of logistics and transportation, financial planning, and inventory management and demand planning are among the practical skills needed. But besides these, social skills should not be missed as they help you connect with the employees and communicate better with the suppliers and customers. 

Bio lines: Alisia Stren is an essay and content writer. She writes on topics such as supply chain management, social skills, and drop shipping. Alisia loves watching SF movies.

Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on July 28, 2021.
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