What Can You Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree? 9 Opportunities You Never Knew About

Supply Chain Management Degree Jobs

Business is a massive field, and each career and degree seems more complicated than the next. You’re not interested in becoming a CEO at some prestigious firm. You just want a degree that will help you find the kind of job satisfaction you’ve been seeking—things you know you won’t find in your current job. That’s where a Supply Chain Management degree comes in.

Of course, before you’re convinced of that you likely have a few questions. What does supply chain management actually entail? What can you do with a Supply Chain Management degree? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Supply chain management might seem simple on the surface, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Join us as we uncover the fundamentals of the field and, more importantly, the types of careers you could land in this industry.

The basics of supply chain management

Quite simply, supply chain management is all about the production, shipment and distribution of products. It covers everything from inventory to sales, and is crucial to any business that makes and sells products.

Professionals in this field must work closely with others to acquire everything they need. More importantly, they need to ensure it’s all completed on time and within budget. There are several actual job duties, and these will vary depending on the position.

The Institute for Supply Management has identified 14 crucial components in the supply chain management process. These areas include:

  • Disposition/investment recovery
  • Distribution
  • Inventory control
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing supervision
  • Materials management
  • Packaging
  • Procurement/purchasing
  • Product/service development
  • Quality
  • Receiving
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Transportation/traffic/shipping
  • Warehousing/stores

The list above is a comprehensive one, detailing all aspects of supply chain management. Most professionals in the field are focused on just one or a few of these components. Even so, it’s helpful to have a fundamental understanding of the entire system.

So how can you acquire the practical knowledge and hands-on training needed to launch your career? This is precisely the kind of information incorporated in the curriculum of most Supply Chain Management degree programs. Most positions will involve some degree of on-the-job training as well.

If the list above has you intrigued, keep reading to learn more about the actual job titles you might have in the field.

Top 9 supply chain management careers

As you can see in the list above, there are a lot of factors involved in the supply chain management process. What’s more is that businesses large and small rely on supply chain efforts to keep operations running smoothly. This translates into plenty of job variety, spanning from specialist positions to more general ones.

This is good news for those interested in working in the industry, because you can narrow your job search to the areas that interest you most. We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 30,000 job postings from the past year that required a supply chain management degree.1 The data helped us identify the nine positions in highest demand.

Check out the info below to get a high-level breakdown of these job titles, listed in order of highest total job openings to lowest.

1. Purchasing agent

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 2,5751

Median annual salary (2015): $62,2202

Job duties:

  • Purchases equipment, parts or services needed for the operation of a manufacturing establishment.
  • Prepares purchase orders, solicits bid proposals and reviews requisitions for goods and services.
  • Negotiates and administers contracts with suppliers, vendors and other representatives.

2. Operations manager

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 2,4531

Median annual salary (2015): $97,7302

Job duties:

  • Responsible for the overall operations of a public or private organization.
  • Directs and coordinates activities dealing with the production, pricing, sales or distribution of products.
  • Reviews performance data to measure productivity and identify areas needing cost reduction or process improvement.

3. Logistics analyst

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 2,2781

Median annual salary (2015): $74,2602

Job duties:

  • Analyzes supply chain processes to identify or recommend optimizations and improvements.
  • Maintains databases that compile and organize logistics information.
  • Provides ongoing analyses in areas such as transportation costs, parts procurement, back orders or delivery processes.

4. Supply chain manager

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 1,7511

Median annual salary (2015): $104,8502

Job duties:

  • Directs and coordinates supply chain processes to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service and safety.
  • Monitors forecasts and quotas to identify changes and determine their effect on supply chain activities.
  • Develops procedures to help coordinate supply chain efforts with other departments, such as sales, marketing, finance, production and quality assurance.

5. Logistician

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 1,6221

Median annual salary (2015): $74,2602

Job duties:

  • Analyzes and coordinates an organization’s logistical functions.
  • Develops and maintains positive relationships with a client’s key personnel involved in logistics activity.
  • Reviews logistics performance with customers, weighing against targets, benchmarks and service agreements.

6. Purchasing manager

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 1,5781

Median annual salary (2015): $108,1202

Job duties:

  • Plans and directs the activities of buyers, purchasing officers and others involved in purchasing materials, products and services.
  • Represents companies in negotiating contracts and formulating policies with various suppliers.
  • Interviews and hires staff and oversees the training and development of existing employees.

7. Logistics manager

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 1,3191

Median annual salary (2015): $86,6302

Job duties:

  • Coordinates an organizations purchasing warehousing, distribution, forecasting, customer service and planning efforts.
  • Manages the personnel and systems involved in daily logistics operations.
  • Collaborates with other departments to integrate logistics with business systems or processes.

8. Production, planning and expediting clerk

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 1,0051

Median annual salary (2015): $46,1502

Job duties:

  • Organizes and expedites the flow of work and materials between an organization’s departments according to production schedule.
  • Distributes production schedules and work orders to various departments.
  • Arranges for delivery, assembly or distribution of supplies to accelerate the flow of materials.

9. Storage and distribution manager

Available jobs (4/2016–3/2017): 9851

Median annual salary (2015): $86,6302

Job duties:

  • Oversees a facility’s storage or distribution operations or that of an organization that’s engaged in storing or distributing materials or products.
  • Interviews, selects, trains and supervises warehouse personnel.
  • Develops and implements warehouse safety and security activities and programs.

Take the next step

So what can you do with a supply chain management degree? Lucky for you, the answer is not singular. Graduates in this field will have a variety of career opportunities from which to choose.

But no matter what role you play in the overall supply chain system, you can feel satisfaction knowing you’re helping provide products to the people who need them.

If you’re ready to take the next step, check out our Supply Chain and Logistics Management Degree for more information. If you’re still looking for more information on what to expect in these careers, check out our article for some expert insight, “6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Supply Chain Management Career.”

1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 30,863 supply chain management degree job postings, April 01, 2016–March 31, 2017).

2Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in May 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.



This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

Callie is the Associate Content Marketing Manager at Collegis Education. She oversees all blog content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about providing quality content to empower others to improve their lives.

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