Supply chain careers

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Supply chain professionals are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the supply chain. How does this differ from a logistics professional? A logistics professional will focus on four main aspects, including supply, production support, distribution and returns, whereas the supply chain professional will oversee the processes which occur within the overall supply chain, including the manufacturing and procurement processes.

Within supply chain management it is important to manage relationships with clients, suppliers, various teams (including the likes of logistics, procurement, customer service, etc.) and contractors to ensure the smooth running of the logistics process.

Supply chain professionals work within a variety of sectors, which allows for a rich range of experiences. However, before beginning your job search you would be advised to consider which sector would most suit you. This will help reduce your search area, and give you the opportunity to begin getting to know more about the sector you want to work in and the relevant news related to supply chain activity in that sector.

Employers run graduate schemes specifically in supply chain, as well as within logistics and procurement. Employers would prefer a 2:1, while candidates with degrees in operation management, supply chain or logistics would be beneficial most employers will welcome applications from a range of degrees. It is also possible to enter this profession without a first degree so if you are unable to get onto a graduate training scheme you would be advised to apply for advertised entry level positions closer to the time you would like to begin employment.

Job roles

Supply chain analyst

Both qualitative and quantitative analytical skills are important in this role, as the analyst interprets, manipulates and reports on real time data of the supply chain that can help the manager make strategic and operational decisions.

A supply chain analyst may specialise in a particular area (for example, transport, healthcare) which can help in finding problems, coming up with solutions and in creating tailored reports. They may also be responsible for ensuring the timely coordination of supply chain activities.

Supply chain manager

Management responsibility might include managing a small team, managing the entire supply chain process or managing relationships with third-party suppliers. The liaison with subcontractors and partners may play a large part in this role (company dependent) making communication skills essential.

However, the focus of this role could also be numerical and analytical, requiring forward forecasting to ensure future demand from customers is met. They may also need to process orders, deal with import/export and customs issues, and coordinate stock control.

Useful links

Routes in

Gaining experience in this industry can be done through applying for internships, although there are few available. Therefore if you wish to see what it is like working as a supply chain professional it is worth you sending speculative applications to employers you would like to work for to see if they are able to offer you any casual work experience. The experiences you gain will be a positive step forward in helping you show your motivation for the sector when it comes to applying for advertised entry level positions or through graduate training schemes.

As it is possible to enter this profession without a first degree do not panic if you do not gain a place on a graduate training scheme as you will be able to apply for advertised positions closer to the time you wish to start employment.

Internships

There are very few supply chain internships meaning they are competitive to get onto. Search the websites of organisations you are interested in for details.

Alternatively apply for work experience (as detailed above) or consider applying for procurement or logistics internships.

Graduate training schemes

Search the careers websites of any of the larger organisations you are interested in to see if they offer graduate training schemes.

For more graduate schemes see Inside Careers, Prospects and employers’ websites. Visit our resource centre to pick up copies of the Times top 100 graduate employers, The Guardian UK 300 and TARGETjobs which list employers with graduate vacancies.

You can also search LSE CareerHub for graduate jobs and find organisations who are coming on to campus to recruit LSE graduates.

Advertised positions

It is possible to enter this profession without a first degree although this is becoming the norm. Therefore, it is possible to apply for entry level roles which are advertised as and when the employer needs the staffing. Similarly, if you have experience in Supply Chain you will be able to apply for advertised positions in line with your level of experience. The following are some job search sites:

Recruitment agencies

Before approaching a recruitment agency, please read our advice on how to get the most from the interaction. See recruitment agencies: the basics.

Resources

Links to external sites

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