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Supply Chain Management/Operations MBA

Supply chain managers provide oversight and streamline the necessary steps from A to B, including oversight of everything in between.

If some of the core components of business are communication, community, and commerce, than establishing and building upon these components are essential for sustainability as well as growth in business. The phrase “Supply Chain Management” made its debut in the Financial Times in 1982 and became a stronghold for businesses by the late 1990’s. Initially the “supply chain” was the transformation of goods that went from raw materials to the end user (many times the buyer) and was greatly linked to communication, community, and finally, commerce. Establishing these strongholds and maintaining them have been core components to businesses ever since, and today supply chain managers are in high demand. Supply chain managers provide oversight and streamline the necessary steps from A to B and all that go in between. For many businesses this means saving money, as supply chain managers may analyze and determine where inefficiencies are located and create and implement more efficient and cost effective ways to create goods. This focus ensures quality end products that are predictable and valuable both to the consumer and to the whole community that creates the final product. As many industries globalize their supply chain, the task of the supply chain manager becomes even more important:

Job description

Building community is at the core of supply chain management as the supply chain manager must establish, build, and continually improve trust among all supply chain partners. As is implied in the word “chain” the job title focuses on the collaborative components that make production. A supply chain is kind of like an assembly line except stretched out across various organizations. Often times starting with raw or crude material and ending with a product (i.e., a desktop computer) the supply chain involves every link to its production. As such, supply chain managers have an incredibly important job establishing, coordinating, and maintaining these relationships as well as ensuring that the final result is correct. A supply chain manager will also key in on inefficiencies and analyze why they exist and eliminate those inefficiencies without affecting the quality or predictability of a product.

One simple example may be a cup of coffee. The supply chain manager will oversee the farmer, the green coffee importer, the roaster, the packaging company, and potentially the equipment that turns the roasted bean into a beverage. The final link in the chain is the cup of coffee, and for many fans of that cup of coffee, if something changed in any part of that process, the end result will not be the predictable quality that is expected. Because of this, supply chain managers may be expected to hold long hours or work during unusual times during both the day and the night. If there is a drought in Guatemala affecting the crops that affect a company based in Texas for example, it may mean staying awake late at night waiting for emails, replying to emails and then traveling from one point in the chain to another to resolve any type of problem. Though sourcing goods, making them, and getting them to the customer are the essentials to supply chain management, the person who builds strong relationships and is capable of doing so with cultural sensitivity in today’s global market will be the best candidate for this position. Due to long hours, and the level of flexibility and versatility required of a supply chain manager, salary is much greater than other business-related jobs.

Salary of A Supply Chain Manager.

The average national salary of a supply chain manager is $104,482 and here is why:

As a supply chain manager you manage and oversee all of the supply chain operations which may include purchasing as well as inventory of materials. You may be asked to seek out and select vendors for these materials. You must have analytical and communication skills to make suggestions on ways to improve productivity, efficiency, and quality of all operations. You will coordinate and resolve issues related to the product and may be required to do so during unusual hours as a number of operations run 24/7. The individual will make sound judgments and plan accordingly to assure that companies accomplish those goals. You are a flexible individual who is a leader and able to direct the work of many other types of workers.

Though there is a range of salaries depending on state and company, the average starting salary of someone with a master’s in supply chain management and operations is about $80,000. Those working as supply chain managers for large corporations may make up to $140,000 a year.

Prerequisites, Curriculum, and Supply Chain Management Degree Specializations

If you have selected to start a MBA in Supply Chain Management, it is important to have a bachelor’s degree in business, whether general business or areas of specialization. Some programs will accept individuals who do not hold a bachelor’s in a related field and may require a few additional prerequisite courses. Common prerequisites include a course on business or corporate finance, financial accounting, as well as statistics. Some not-as-common prerequisites may also include microeconomic analysis, managerial accounting, and marketing.

As with most MBA programs, you will be expected to complete the core components to an MBA as well as courses specific to supply chain management. A common course sequence may go as follows: Global Sourcing and Supply Management, Production and Operations Management, Logistics and Customer Service. Within those headers individuals may study supply chain management strategies, business intelligence for supply chains and marketing, new product commercialization, sales and operations planning, global supply chain law, negotiations, quantitative analysis, and operations analysis among others. As the job description demands a versatile individuals, MBA with an emphasis in supply chain management typically require more than just 30 credit hours for completion. Depending on the program, students may be required to take an additional 10-30 additional credit hours for completion (totaling 40-60 credit hours). Programs that do not offer a comprehensive supply chain curriculum may not adequately provide you with the tools you need for success. To help you even further, check out our Top 10 Supply Chain Management MBAs here.

Supply Chain Manager Must-Have Skills

  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Financial Analysis
  • Global Awareness
  • Leadership
  • Accounting
  • Management Strategies
  • Global Procurement
  • Supply Management
  • Sales & Operations Planning
  • Demand Analysis
  • Business-to-Business Marketing strategies
  • Customer Service