Supply Chain Manager

Introduction

Supply Chain Managers (SCMs) play a vital role in the successful operation of an organisation or business. You will be responsible for the smooth flow of goods and services throughout your organisation.

Work Activities

Supply Chain Managers (SCMs) play a vital role in the successful operation of an organisation or business. You will be responsible for the smooth flow of goods and services throughout your organisation.

As an SCM, it will be your job to make sure that there is always exactly the right amount of materials and supplies on hand for meeting production schedules and other needs of your organisation. You must also make sure that the right quantity of goods are stored in warehouses and then delivered to retail outlets in such a way that customers' demands are met at all times.

If those demands cannot be met because of low supply, the company will miss potential sales, and if the supply is too great, the company's storage costs might rise and reduce its profits.

As an SCM, you will be involved in every stage of the business process, including:

  • maintaining excellent levels of customer service within the organisation
  • analysing current stock and raw material levels
  • negotiating the cost of raw materials with your suppliers
  • identifying possible new suppliers
  • planning the delivery of the raw materials
  • delivering raw materials to the right area of the business
  • storing goods before they can be delivered
  • transporting goods to where they are needed
  • leading projects and working closely with people from other departments, such as marketing or buying

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Supply Chain Manager, you will need:

  • brilliant customer service skills
  • great motivational skills
  • excellent time management
  • a great understanding as to how business work and operate, including finance

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £36,500 - £40,000
  • With experience: £44,000 - £51,500
  • Senior Supply Chain Managers earn £58,000 - £66,000

Hours of work

Supply Chain Managers usually work 39 hours a week, which may include shift work and work at weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers include:

  • manufacturing firms
  • logistics firms
  • charities
  • telecommunications companies
  • health services
  • universities

Opportunities for Supply Chain Managers occur with manufacturers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Qualifications are not always needed for this career. Many employers will value relevant first-hand business experience above actual qualifications. This experience could include:

  • finance
  • purchasing
  • human resource management (HRM)
  • customer service
  • project management

However, some employers may ask for a degree or HND in a relevant subject.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

An Intermediate, Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship is also great place to start. You will learn on the job and gain the skills you need to work in sales and eventually become a Supply Chain Manager. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in finance or in human resource management is useful for this career.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree course in any subject, the usual minimum requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma 

To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A* - C or 9 - 4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to one A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Qualifications are not always needed for this career. Many employers will value relevant first-hand business experience above actual qualifications. This experience could include:

  • finance
  • purchasing
  • human resource management (HRM)
  • customer service
  • project management

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be a way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

The Institute of Operations Management offers Certificates, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas in Operations Management, via distance learning. Details of course providers are available on its website.

Relevant Advanced Level Apprenticeships are available.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Financial Skills Partnership (FSP)

Skills for the financial, finance and accountancy sectors

Address: 51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ

Tel: 0845 2573772

Email: info@financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Website: www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk

Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT UK)

Address: Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4AX

Tel: 01536 740100

Email: enquiry@ciltuk.org.uk

Website: www.ciltuk.org.uk

Skills for Logistics

Skills for the freight logistic industry

Tel: 0117 927 8800

Email: Contact@skillsforlogistics.co.uk

Website: www.skillsforlogistics.org

Institute of Operations Management (IOM)

Address: Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4AX

Tel: 01536 740105

Website: www.iomnet.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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