Supply chain manager

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Supply chain managers organise the movement of goods and materials from suppliers and manufacturers to customers.

Salary range: £20,000 to £60,000

How to become a supply chain manager

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • logistics
  • supply chain management
  • transport management
  • business management

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to start on a supply chain advanced or higher apprenticeship, which could lead onto a supply chain leadership or express delivery manager degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Work

You could start in a junior role like transport clerk and work your way up through training and promotion.

You can do work-based training courses through The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

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Further information

You can find more details about careers and training in the supply chain industry through The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • business management skills
  • leadership skills
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on which part of the supply chain you’re in, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working with procurement managers and buyers to select products that are in demand and will sell
  • negotiating and managing contracts with suppliers
  • planning the best way to get goods from suppliers to distribution centres and retailers
  • tracking shipments and stock levels using computer software
  • working with retailers to make sure they receive their goods on time and in the right condition
  • looking at ways to improve supply chain networks
  • monitoring overall performance to make sure targets are met
  • preparing forecasts and inventories
  • recruiting, training and managing a team of supply chain staff

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior planning jobs and consultancy work.

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