Career Paths in Supply Chain Management

It is hard to find a course that gives students only one option in choosing their future career path. Most learning programs provide students with knowledge in various subjects, which leads to them finding the job specification that is interesting to them. A career in business is not an exception. For instance, supply chain management can be helpful to an organization with different profiles and responsibilities. Moreover, future students can also choose different paths of moving upwards in the business. However, careers in supply chain management also possess a number of similar traits. While supply chain management may seem to have a straightforward career path, this sphere has different opportunities from which people can choose.

To understand the career tracks in supply chain management, it is necessary to establish the primary purpose of this profession. Here, managers work to improve the efficiency of all organizational processes and develop channels of delivery that help customers receive their products and services with increased speed and effectiveness (Akdogan & Demirtas, 2014, p. 1021). Therefore, the sphere of these’ workers occupation is usually limited to businesses. According to Akdogan and Demirtas (2014), there are two main directions in supply chain management. The first one is the operational supply chain, which deals with development and maintenance of connections to deliver products and services to clients (p. 1021). The strategic supply chain is the second option. It functions on a larger scale, including all processes of a company into its structure. Therefore, managers can take up positions that have a limited set of responsibilities such as inventory management and procurement or operate the whole system.

The similarity of all career options lies in the fact that they all contribute to one purpose. Different roles of supply chain management are concerned with various aspects of the chain, its parts, and operations. For instance, both a supply chain analyst and a procurement analyst work to improve the efficiency of the operational flow. They contribute to the company’s ability to provide customers with services in a way that allows them to conserve tangible and intangible resources. Similarly, strategic management and operational management also have the same aim (Akdogan & Demirtas, 2014, p. 1022). The specialists in this field are expected to have well-developed analytical skills and the ability to make predictions about the firm’s future performance. Moreover, all types of supply chain managers apply their interdisciplinary knowledge of marketing, production, distributing, and other elements of the chain.

On the other hand, these career options also have their differences. First of all, the specification of each specialist is his or her central area of distinction. Procurement analysts’ responsibilities may include purchasing operations, interaction with suppliers, the evaluation of previous purchases, and the prediction of future expenses. These workers are not concerned with other parts of the supply chain as their specification is not universal. As a contrast, supply chain managers may have a broad range of responsibilities that consider each part of the chain separately and in combination with others. They can focus on strategic planning and not on the actual implementation of the ideas (Akdogan & Demirtas, 2014, p. 1023). Moreover, these managers may need to have different experiences in the field and be acquainted with many specific operations.

The sphere of supply chain management has many options for students. Supply chains have many components and processes that can be handled by multiple individuals or one person. All career tracks in this area of management aim to achieve one goal, which lies in improving the process of supplying products to customers. However, many specialists in this field may have a specialization that sets them apart and opens a unique career path in business.


Akdogan, A. A., & Demirtas, O. (2014). Managerial Role in Strategic Supply Chain Management. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 150, 1020-1029.