There is no standard career path in SCM. You are in control of your own destiny and have the opportunity to pursue hundreds of potential career paths. Your career path will be largely influenced by your skills, interests, and personal decisions. It will also be impacted by the size, type, geographic scope, and organizational structure of the firm that you choose to work for.
A broad base of business skills, knowledge of supply chain processes, and relevant internship/work experience will give you ample opportunity to begin your career with a manufacturer, retailer, carrier, third party logistics firm, or other organization. You will likely begin as a management trainee, analyst, or front line supervisor. As you demonstrate your managerial capabilities, you can progress to SCM positions of greater responsibility. You may also decide to gain experience in other parts of the organization.
One key to your success in this field is flexibility. You will work with people throughout your company—logistics, manufacturing, and marketing. Depending on the size of your company, your initial responsibilities may deal with one or more logistics functions. Some positions will require you to specialize in a specific area of SCM. There are numerous opportunities and career paths in this field—it is up to you to seek them out and develop the appropriate skills to be successful.
Supply chain careers offer many routes to success. As discussed earlier, your career can take you to many types of organizations, numerous supply chain activities, and virtually any location in the U.S. or the world depending on your skills and interests.
The career path profiles provide great examples of how senior supply chain leaders work their way to the top of the organization. Realize that success is not an overnight proposition. These supply chain professionals invest a great deal of time and effort into their careers, take on challenging roles, and make sacrifices along the way. They have truly earned their prestigious positions.
VP, Product Supply
Robert L. Robertson