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Supply chain manager

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Supply chain managers organise the movement of goods and materials from suppliers and manufacturers to customers.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 45 to 50 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but it’s common to have a qualification in a relevant subject like:

  • logistics
  • international transport
  • supply chain management
  • transport management
  • geography
You could also start in a more junior role like transport clerk and work your way up.

Skills for Logistics and the The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT UK) have more information about careers in supply chain management.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • planning and organisational skills
  • the ability to motivate and lead a team
  • spoken and written communication skills
  • problem-solving and maths skills
  • good geographical knowledge
If your employer operates overseas it may be useful to speak a foreign language.

3. What you'll do

Supply chains are made up of different operations, from forecasting trends and buying through to transport and distribution.

Depending on which part of the supply chain you're in, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working with procurement managers and buyers to select products that are in demand and will sell
  • negotiating and managing contracts with suppliers
  • planning the best way to get goods from suppliers to distribution centres and retailers
  • tracking shipments and stock levels using computer software
  • working with retailers to make sure they receive their goods on time and in the right condition
  • looking at ways to improve supply chain networks
  • monitoring overall performance to make sure targets are met
  • preparing forecasts and inventories
  • recruiting, training and managing a team of supply chain staff

You might also be involved in brand and marketing planning.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 and £45,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends on a rota basis, or be available on-call to deal with emergencies. Some companies run 24-hour operations involving shift work.

You’ll usually be office-based but would travel to meet clients. This could include travel overseas.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior planning jobs and consultancy work.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018