Supply Chain Management as a Profession? (SCM Career)


This is about SCM (Supply Chain Management) as a profession.

SCM is a part of almost any company.

Do you wonder whether an SCM career could suit you? Then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

A Career in Supply Chain Management

If you’re wondering whether Supply Chain Management or SCM as a profession might be a good fit for you, then you have come to the right place!

Supply chain managers are an integral part of small and large companies, and the career path you can take with a degree in SCM is full of opportunities.

Any business that sells goods or services needs a supply chain manager. There are tons of available jobs in the field.

Is SCM right for you? If you are capable of seeing the bigger picture and a stickler for details, then SCM might be the perfect fit for you.

In this article, we’re going to talk about several jobs that you could land with an interest in SCM. But before we discuss job opportunities, let’s go over a few fundamental things about supply chain management.

First, What Is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management, or SCM, deals with the handling of the whole production flow of any good or service. This begins with the raw materials and goes all the way to the delivery of the final product to the consumer.

Companies create networks of suppliers, which you can think of as the links in the chain.

SCM deals with moving the product along those links. It goes from the suppliers of the products to the organizations that deal directly with consumers.

Ideally, the SCM will improve the performance of the supply chain.

The goal is to provide accurate and timely supply chain information so that the manufacturers make and ship the right amount of product that can be sold.

If you have an adequate supply chain system, you will help retailers and manufacturers reduce excess inventory. That means that the cost will be lower for producing and shipping. It also decreases the price of insuring and storing the product that is not sold.

This short video will explain SCM further:

The Components of Supply Chain Management

There are six different components to SCM:


The planning component means that you plan and manage everything involved in meeting the customer’s demand for a product or service.

Once the supply chain is established, you will define the metrics to measure how efficient and effective it is.

The planning component assures that you are delivering value to your customers and meeting company goals.


The sourcing component is where you choose suppliers who will provide the goods and services that you need to create the product.

Once you’ve done that, you will establish processes to manage and monitor your supplier relationships. Some of those processes include ordering and receiving.

Other key processes include managing the inventory and authorizing the payments to the suppliers.


The making aspect of SCM deals with organizing the activities that you will need to accept the raw materials and manufacture the product.

Making also involves testing for quality, packaging for shipping, and scheduling delivery.

Logistics (Delivering)

This is where you coordinate customer orders, schedule deliveries, dispatch loads, invoice customers, and take payments.


With this component, you will be creating a process or network to take back unwanted, excess, or defective products.


Enabling means establishing support methods to monitor information as it flows along the supply chain. This is where you assure compliance with any regulations.

The enabling process includes:

  • Facilities management
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • IT (Information Technology)
  • Portfolio management
  • Product design
  • Quality assurance
  • Sales

Why Choose SCM as a Career?

There are many reasons why you should choose SCM as a profession. Supply chain managers oversee all the critical phases of the life of a product or service. That includes distribution, allocation, and delivery.

If you are asking yourself, “why SCM as a career?” you should know that the demand for SCM is at an all-time high, which means that you will be able to find steady, high-paying work.

Here are several key reasons that you should choose SCM as a profession:

Career Growth

SCM is a rapidly growing field. It even expanded during the height of the recession.

Today, the field of SCM is more promising than ever.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth in this field is predicted to see a 7% increase between 2016 and 2026.

Great Pay

The pay is another reason that you should consider SCM as a profession.

The median annual wage for an SCM position as of May 2017 was $74,590. That equates to $35.86 per hour.

At the high end, supply chain managers can make well over $120,000 per year.

Development of Skills That Could Transfer to Other Careers

With the many challenges within an organization and in achieving SCM (Supply Chain Management) goals, you are sure to develop certain skills as you grow in your career.

Below are examples of the top obstacles that businesses face in realizing their SCM goals:

Top Obstacles to Achieving SCM (Supply Chain Management) Goals and Achievements Worldwide as of 2016

Many people who choose SCM as a profession stay in the position for decades, but that’s not always the case.

Some logisticians take the skills that they’ve learned in SCM and transfer them to new careers in different fields.

Some transferable skills from SCM include financial planning, forecasting, workflow optimization, and general management.

There Are Plenty of Internship Opportunities

Many people worry about landing their first job in SCM. Not only is this a quickly growing field, but there are also plenty of entry-level positions available.

Some companies offer paid internships, and they then provide permanent jobs to successful interns after the program is complete.

Many Options in the Industry

Another reason why SCM as a career makes sense is that there are many opportunities available within the industry.

You can go in the direction of specialization in sub-sectors. Some related fields to SCM are postal services, warehousing, and wholesaling.

You can also choose to work for a large corporation or maybe you’d prefer to work for a small business or even a non-profit organization.

Working for the government is another option in this versatile field.

No matter what route you go, you will find enjoyable and challenging work that fits your interests and skills.

Local Jobs Are Available

One of the unique things about SCM is that you can take a job where you travel regularly.

But if you don’t like to travel much, you can also find local jobs that don’t require travel.

The beauty of SCM is that there are lots of jobs in many areas of the country.

See the World

Another reason why SCM as a career is a great idea for some is that it could lead to international travel.

As we already noted, some SCM jobs allow you to stay local, but there are also many opportunities to travel, including internationally.

Are you interested in breaking into the field of international business? SCM is an excellent route to get you there.

Plenty of Advancement Opportunities

There is a lot of room to move up the ladder in an SCM career.

You don’t need an advanced degree to be successful in supply chain management, but if you have one it can lead to rapid advancement.

You can find plenty of upper management jobs in this field. However, it’s worth noting that these higher-level jobs will require both more experience and more education.

This Field Is Relatively Easy to Enter

Starting out in the field of SCM is relatively easy. It’s also possible to find excellent paying work without an advanced degree.

In the year 2015 alone, many SCM software vendors were already leading the industry. This leaves you with more and better options even while you are still starting out in the field.

Market Share of Leading SCM Software Vendors Worldwide in 2015

While some positions require a graduate education or some form of advanced training, you can still find many places that only require a bachelor’s degree.

Some SCM jobs only need an associate’s degree, but typically, most SCM positions require a four-year degree.

Experience Personal Satisfaction

Steady work and high pay are two reasons why SCM as a career makes sense for many looking for a long-term career. But even more than that, SCM professionals stay in the field because they find their jobs so rewarding.

A 2017 report put out by the SCM research association APICS found that millennials are now seeing this field as an incredible opportunity for growth.

The professionals surveyed said that they believed they could make a difference in the field. And they reported that their jobs provided development and personal growth.

Ultimately, the best reason why you should choose SCM as a profession is the prospect of an incredibly rewarding career.

What Can You Do with an SCM or Any Other Related Degree?

Because SCM is such a diverse field, there are many jobs that you can do with a four-year supply chain management or any other related degree.

Whether you want to work for a large company or a small one, there are plenty of opportunities that range from general positions to more specialized jobs.

The vast number of jobs in this industry allows you to focus on the areas that you are most interested in.

Rasmussen analyzed over 50,000 different SCM jobs in 2018 to find the positions that are in the highest demand. Here are the top nine jobs with the highest total job openings in the field:

Purchasing Agent

In 2017 the median annual salary for purchasing agents was $62,120.

One of the main job responsibilities for this position is purchasing equipment, parts, or services that are required for the operation of manufacturing companies.

Purchasing agents also prepare purchase orders. And they get bid proposals and review requisitions. In addition, purchasing agents negotiate and administer contacts with vendors and suppliers.

General and Operations Manager

If you are interested in SCM as a profession, another job might be in operation management. In 2017 this position had the second most total jobs available.

The annual salary for this position is $100,410.

Operations managers are responsible for the overall operations of the company. They direct and coordinate tasks dealing with the distribution, sales, pricing, and production of goods and services.

If you choose operations management for a career, then you will be reviewing performance data.

Part of your responsibilities will be using that data to measure productivity so that you can identify any areas that need process improvement or cost reduction.

Analyst of Logistics

Another job that you could get with an SCM degree is a logistics analyst.

The annual salary for this position is $74,590.

If you choose a logistics analyst position as a career, you will be responsible for analyzing the supply chain processes.

Your job is to recommend and identify any improvements or optimizations that need to be made in the company.

Logistics analysts also maintain databases that deal with logistics information. And they provide continual analyses of processes that include delivery, back-orders, parts acquisition, and transportation costs.

Purchasing Manager

Becoming a purchasing manager is another option that you have with an SCM degree. The median annual salary for purchasing managers is $115,760.

This job will entail representing companies in their negotiations of contracts and formulating new policies with suppliers.

You will also be responsible for developing cost-cutting strategies and savings plans.

Purchasing managers also implement and develop instructions, procedures, and policies for contract and purchasing management.

You will prepare bid awards that require approval from the board.

And you will be responsible for directing and coordinating personnel tasks dealing with buying, selling, and distributing goods and services. 

Supply Chain Manager

An SCM degree can also land you a supply chain management position. This job has a median annual salary of $105,610.

If you choose supply chain management as a career, you will determine the right amount of equipment and staffing needed to load, unload, move, and store products.

You will also be responsible for managing tasks related to tactical or strategic purchasing, planning the required materials, inventory control, warehousing, and receiving. 

Supply chain managers select transportation processes to maximize the economy. You will do this by combining shipments or reducing distribution and warehousing.

For this position, you will examine performance metrics for comparison or evaluation of supply chain processes, including quality and product cost.

You will also be responsible for implementing new supply chain processes to improve performance and efficiency.


Logisticians are also in high demand. The median annual salary for logisticians is $74,590.

To do this job, you will develop and maintain excellent business relationships with customers involved in logistics processes. It will be your responsibility to understand the customer’s needs and take actions to make sure those needs are met.

Logisticians serve as liaisons between subcontractors and organizations. They manage subcontractors, review proposals, and develop performance specifications. They develop proposals for estimates too.

Another responsibility of logisticians is to review the logistic performance with customers against service agreements, benchmarks, and targets.

Manager of Logistics

If you like dealing with logistics, then you could also use your SCM degree to become a logistics manager. The annual salary for this position is $92,460.

Logistics managers collaborate with other departments in the company to incorporate logistics with business processes like sales, order management, shipping, and accounting. If you go for this career path, you will also supervise the logisticians, schedulers, and planners.

Logistics managers create procedures and policies for logistic tasks. And they direct the operations of distribution centers to make sure that the cost, production, accuracy, and timeliness objectives are met.

If you choose SCM as a profession and you go into logistics management, you will also have to resolve issues dealing with transportation, imports or exports, logistics systems, and customer problems.

Clerk of Production, Planning, and Expediting

If you become a clerk of production, planning, and expediting, you can plan on making $46,670 as a median annual salary.

Job responsibilities for this position include distributing work orders and production schedules to other departments and reviewing documents like staffing tables, work orders, and production schedules to figure out staffing and materials requirements.

You will also maintain inventories of products needed to meet the demands of production. And you will arrange for distribution, assembly, and delivery of supplies to speed up the flow of materials and meet the production schedules. This position also involves talking to department supervisors to analyze progress and determine if any changes are needed.

Storage and Distribution Manager

Another reason why SCM as a career is a good idea is that you could land a job as a storage and distribution manager.

The median annual salary for this position is $92,460.

To do this job, you will need to supervise all the activities involved in receiving, testing, storing, and shipping goods and services.

You will also be involved in planning, developing, and implementing warehouse safety and security activities.

Storage and distribution managers inspect warehouses, vehicle fleets, and equipment, and they order replacements, repair, maintenance, and testing. They often respond to questions and complaints from customers and shippers about storage and distribution processes.

Another responsibility of this job is to document and develop emergency and standard operating procedures for handling, receiving, shipping, and storing products.

Traditional SCM Careers vs. SCM Software Careers

What’s the difference between working in SCM in a traditional career versus in a software-related role?

You’ll find jobs relating to SCM in every industry, niche, and even department, of course.

Clearly, supply chain management jobs aren’t only on the logistics end of operations. After all, most organizations use a range of tools for SCM in the form of software.

But who has the overall knowledge of this software or manages, implements, and maintains those tools?

Software experts are the ones who focus on the details of your behind-the-scenes SCM applications.

While you’re logging into a company-wide program that gives you stats on what’s in stock and what’s on order, an SCM IT-related person has implemented and is supporting the unseen aspects of that software.

For example, an IT consultant for SCM might mastermind an entire application that supports a company’s logistics targets.

Or, they customize the SCM software because of new requirements or changed processes.

Or, they might find bugs in existing software—speeding up the platform and its ability to provide up-to-date information to the entire organization.

And when your program needs customizations or doesn’t work as expected, then the IT expert is on hand with solutions.

But what else is different in a traditional SCM versus software-focused career?

Traditional SCM Careers Center on One Aspect of the Process

While a traditional SCM career has you focusing on one thing such as logistics or manufacturing, the SCM software pros are looking at the bigger picture.

After all, your SCM software has to factor in multiple types of information, make sense of it all, and produce results.

So, a software career involves understanding and processing information from every aspect of the business.

While traditional SCM jobs allow you to become an expert in one area, an IT person will learn facets of every role and the importance of each.

SCM Software Careers Translate Across Industries

Specialized knowledge in a niche industry could mean better odds of employment in similar organizations. And it’s good to know your product or service inside and out.

But SCM software careers translate across a range of industries—from manufacturing to retail to healthcare.

In an SCM IT career, you’ve to possess in-depth knowledge of processes, technology, computers, and network specifics. Those broader skills translate to a whole host of roles spanning nearly every industry.

Traditional Careers May Not Be as Flexible

Heading to the office every day isn’t for everyone, but in a lot of roles, your physical presence is vital. For software specialists, however, remote work is often possible and enjoyable.

With cloud-based technology and so many virtual tools at their disposal, SCM software professionals can telecommute and still get things done.

Consultancy is another facet of SCM software careers. A consultant could work with multiple companies on a range of projects, all remote or with occasional in-person meetings.

Freelancing with a background in SCM software is a viable option if you choose that career path and it’s lucrative, too.

The Future Is Digital

There’s no denying that tons of roles within SCM won’t fade with the times. But the increasing reliance on technology confirms that the future really is digital.

Experts from all industries need to learn the ins and outs of technology and software to support their organizational goals.

As more businesses move toward software solutions for SCM, more support professionals, coders, developers, programmers, researchers, and all manner of other computer specialists will find their services in high demand.

How SCM Careers Rely on SCM Software

If you’re in a higher management position, you might not think the IT folks are a vital part of your team.

When you’re designing, manufacturing, and shipping product, it can feel like the operations as such are more important than the processes behind them.

Workers in the factory literally make the product—so what more do you need?

But all the seemingly invisible work that software performs in your organization is backed by workers who are experts in information technology. In short, SCM careers rely on SCM software.

The right tech support, human or otherwise, can help you run what-if scenarios, calculate budgets, hone your logistics plan, improve your SCM processes and more.

You’ll find applications and software for things like:

  • Analytics
  • Business integration
  • Expenses
  • Hospitality
  • Invoicing
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Procurement
  • Retail solutions
  • Sourcing
  • Transportation management
  • Warehouse management

Why Does SCM Software Matter Day-to-Day?

Without an application to manage your inventory, track shipments, and a hundred other tasks, you’d be left with pen and paper.

Without advanced programs to track data and point out discrepancies, you might be running inefficient processes and wasting money.

Without the means to analyze production and find ways to refine your processes, you may wind up spending more personnel hours struggling to get work done.

The truth is, the future of SCM lies in the hands of the tech experts that make up your support department and external consultants.

Of course, SCM software is also a billion-dollar industry, which shows just how essential it is to businesses zeroing in on the practice.

As shown in the chart below, the global SCM software market revenue is expected to have a steady growth for the next few years.

By the year 2023, it is forecasted that the SCM software market would have a revenue of 8,650 million U.S. dollars.

Career Opportunities in Supply Chain Management Software

You already know that purchasing, logistics, and management jobs are all crucial for SCM. But career opportunities go beyond in-warehouse positions overseeing production, distribution, and more.

Because all those traditional professions rely on SCM software. And SCM software needs in turn SCM software experts—professionals familiar with SCM and IT as well.

SCM Software Consultants

Although SCM software consultants generally need to be familiar with all aspects of supply chain management to do their jobs, there are still specializations within the field.

Some software specialists focus on designing the systems that an organization runs on, working with their clients to understand their needs and develop a solution for them.

Others are more involved in the actual building and management of software systems.

Functional SCM Software Career

A functional SCM software consultant works with a company to design a software solution that meets their SCM needs.

They need to have an understanding of the entire supply chain as well as in-depth knowledge of the tools available and the ability to configure them to provide the necessary functionality and security.

Technical SCM Software Career

A technical SCM software consultant generally has a skill set that is more focused on programming and hardware implementation, with a background in software design and development or other areas of IT.

Technical consultants often work with companies to build software and possibly hardware solutions.

What Other Careers Are Important for SCM?

In reality, nearly any type of information technology job can transfer to SCM. From software developers to network administrators, every tech professional has a part in producing, safeguarding, troubleshooting, and analyzing a company’s data.

While you may not hold a traditional SCM role, if you work in information technology, you’re a significant part of the organizational puzzle.

Plus, as Harvard Business Review cites, artificial intelligence and robotics can aid companies in improving their supply chain planning, inventory databases, and more.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is also causing new supply chain jobs to emerge. That doesn’t mean human workers are dropping off, however, notes HBR. Instead, AI can augment workers’ output—the way your SCM software and tools are already doing within the organization.

From trainers to explainers to sustainers, people will support AI development to enhance their ability to be productive.

People and technology will come together to support a more dynamic SCM approach, say experts. T

hings like 3D printing and automation will continue to aid in SCM. And, if we keep an open mind, SCM will continue to become more efficient and dynamic.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, there are many excellent reasons why SCM as a career is something that you should strongly consider. There are many high-demand jobs available in this field, and the pay isn’t bad either.

To go into SCM as a profession, you first need to choose an area of supply chain management that interests you.

Next, you need to do plenty of research and find the right niche.

Once you figure that out, you will need to demonstrate your unique value to land the job. Demonstrating your value is essential no matter what industry you go into, but it is especially crucial in SCM. To do this, you need to explain that you understand the big picture. Show that you can get the job done by communicating effectively with other professionals and making decisions using data analysis.

If you can do this, then you just might find an SCM career to be exciting and rewarding.

Understand SCM VS. ERP & SCM vs. CRM & SCM vs. SRM & SCM VS. PLM

The business community has a serious love affair with acronyms.

Sometimes, it’s virtually impossible to wade through the industry speak to decide if your business needs to focus on ERP vs. CRM or CRM vs. SCM, SRM vs. PLM, or any other configuration of systems for that matter.

Whether you’re an IT professional, barebones startup, a small or midsize business, or a global corporation, it’s incredibly crucial that you can parse through all this industry speak in order to make the most informed decisions for your business and its customers.

This article helps you out and provides you with all you need to know about how SCM exactly differs to other important systems: complete guide to ERP vs. CRM vs. SRM vs. SCM vs. PLM.

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