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Supply Chains and Operations Management

Supply Chains and Operations Management (SCOM) includes a broad area that covers both manufacturing and service industries, involving the functions of sourcing, materials management, operations planning, distribution, logistics, retail, demand forecasting, order fulfillment, and more. It covers everything along the path goods travel from suppliers to eventual consumers.

Every environment from government to banks to schools to hospitals either consumes or sells items, and they need raw materials or product with which to work. A supply chain is involved in processing or using these materials or even providing services to customers using these materials. Professionals in these fields also work with processes and increasing efficiencies with processes. Operations and supply chain professionals have a place in all of these environments. Consider environments where there are large volumes of movement; movement of people, product, raw material, data, money or consumers. This occurs in almost any environment and any industry.

Logistics management is that part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements. Logistics management activities typically include inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, logistics network design, inventory management, supply/demand planning, and management of third-party logistics services providers. To varying degrees, the logistics function also includes sourcing and procurement, production planning and scheduling, packaging and assembly, and customer service. It is involved in all levels of planning and execution--strategic, operational and tactical. Logistics management is an integrating function, which coordinates and optimizes all logistics activities, as well as integrates logistics activities with other functions including marketing, sales manufacturing, finance, and information technology.

Source: Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Typical Careers

In the supply chain, there are various roles responsible for getting products to customers, from raw material to consumption. 

In Manufacturing and Operations: Sourcing, Procurement, Buying and Planning.  Titles include Purchasing Agents, Schedulers, Customs Brokers, Buyers, Contract Administrators, Materials Analyst, Foreman, Production Manager, and upwards to more senior roles.

In Logistics and Transportation and Warehousing: Inventory Planner, Logistics Analyst, Logistics Manager, Receiving Coordinator, up through senior level roles.

Supply Chain and Operations careers exist in more than manufacturing. You can find relevant work in all industries where processes are important and products or material is moved, i.e. healthcare, banking, education, government, military, consulting, airlines, entertainment, not-for-profit, retail, energy, and of course, the freight and third party logistics industry.

Required Skills for Success

  • Communication and negotiation 
  • Organization and time management
  • Teamwork
  • Customer focus
  • Process orientation
  • Reading comprehension
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Foreign language skills are increasingly important
  • Technical skills (i.e. Excel, ERP systems)
  • Forecasting and planning
  • Mechanical and spatial ability
  • Quantitative and financial understanding

Professional Organizations

Certifications

  • CPIM: Certified Production and Inventory Management (through APICS)
  • CSCP: Certified Supply Chain Professional (through APICS)
  • CFPIM: Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (through APICS)
  • CPSM: Certified Professional in Supply Management (through ISM)
  • CPSD: Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity(through ISM)
  • Six Sigma, White, Yellow, Green and Black Belt, focuses on Lean, quality, problem solving and  leadership
  • PMP: Project Management Professional

Helpful Resources

Academics

To learn more about the Supply Chains and Operations Management areas and courses included within the concentration or program, please refer to the academic curriculum.