Supply Chain Salaries: A Closer Look at Careers and Compensation in This Field

Supply Chain Salaries: A Closer Look

You’ve put in enough of your time working in jobs that never seem to lead to anything resembling a career. You’re ready for a change and a career path that can actually take you places—and the high-growth logistics and supply chain industry seems like it could be just the right fit.

With parts, supplies and goods flowing to and from all corners of the world, it has become abundantly clear how important a nimble and well-planned global supply chain and logistics operation is to the health of our economy. This industry needs efficient and thoughtful planners at all levels, and you think you could be a natural addition once trained and brought up to speed with a college degree.

That said, you need more information before you feel comfortable committing to an investment like this. For one, you’re curious about supply chain salaries and the earning potential in this field. Can careers in this industry really give you the type of income you’re looking for?

You won’t have to wonder for long! We’ve rounded up salary data for six common supply chain careers, along with job descriptions so you can see which of these job titles could be the right fit for you.

What is the supply chain industry?

The supply chain is the process companies follow to manufacture and distribute products and raw materials. Every item you buy, whether it’s a package of socks from your local brick-and-mortar store or the latest bestselling novel from an online retailer, goes through a supply chain that can span the globe.

There are 14 components that make up the supply chain, including packaging, logistics, inventory management and distribution. Skilled supply chain professionals work within each component to make sure that goods are accounted for and delivered to stores for the consumers who need them.

There are many different roles in the supply chain and logistics industry. We’ve broken down the basics of six supply chain job titles, including job description and annual salary. Let’s dig into the details of these supply chain careers!

6 Supply chain careers and salaries for your consideration

Understanding a career’s typical compensation is important research for anyone considering a new career path. The salaries listed here represent median earnings for each job title in 2018—and of course, individual salaries depend on factors like location, experience and education level. Now explore these careers to see if there’s a place for you in the supply chain industry!

1. Procurement specialist

Procurement specialists are involved with purchasing and taking inventory on supplies needed to manufacture a product. They work closely with suppliers to negotiate pricing, purchase goods and schedule order deliveries so supplies arrive on time. Part of their job also includes keeping an eye on inventory and predicting which supplies will be needed in the near future so they can make wise purchasing decisions and avoid both shortages and overages.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $42,670

2. Production assistant

These supply chain professionals are masters of scheduling! Production assistants manage workflows between different manufacturing departments to make sure that production stays on schedule. They work with department managers to create production schedules—and then adjust those schedules if problems arise, such as materials shortages. They also compile data to prepare reports on goods produced and raw materials used.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $47,580

3. Logistician

Their job title may sound mysterious, but logisticians have a practical part to play in the supply chain. They take a high-level view of the supply chain as they manage every component for their organization. Logisticians follow products through every stage, from design to production to distribution. Some of their job duties include researching technology to improve the supply chain process, performing cost analysis on the life cycle of a product and proposing strategic ways to lower production times and costs.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $74,600

4. Distribution manager

Distribution is the component of the supply chain that handles delivering goods or products to the end consumer. Distribution managers provide shipping instructions and schedule pickup and delivery times, as well as negotiate prices to stay on budget for shipping or transportation costs. Distribution managers are also in charge of their storage warehouse, meaning they supervise and track warehouse inventory, ensure that materials are safely stored and design warehouse layouts for the most effective use of space.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $94,730

5. Operations Manager

Operations managers share many of the same duties as other managers, including hiring and supervising employees, approving department budgets and making strategic decisions. However, operations managers also have tasks directly related to the supply chain. They collaborate with other departments, such as procurement specialists and distribution managers, to improve the supply chain. They may also manage goods moving to and from various production facilities, as well as create plans to reduce their supply chain’s environmental impact.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $100,930

6. Purchasing director

Purchasing directors supervise and coordinate the work of procurement specialists and other purchasing agents. It’s their job to think strategically about the procurement component of the supply chain. They negotiate with wholesalers and retailers, develop plans to reduce the cost of production, create purchasing policies for their organization and oversee purchasing budgets.

  • 2018 Median annual salary:1 $118,940

Can you see yourself working in a supply chain and logistics career?

The supply chain industry is an important part of our economy, made up of hard-working professionals with specific skillsets. Now that you’ve gotten all the details about real-life supply chain salaries, you can see plenty of potential in this industry for your future career.

Many of these positions require a bachelor’s degree, but gaining an education doesn’t have to be difficult! Learn more about the Rasmussen College Supply Chain and Logistics Management program to get started.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [accessed March, 2020] Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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