Supply Chain

Supply Chain Management studies the movement of materials from their procurement as raw material, parts, or components through the manufacturing or processing sector to the marketing and distribution of end products for industrial or commercial users. Graduates apply both analytical and creative thinking abilities in consulting, manufacturing or logistics companies, starting as analysts or project managers.

How is Operations Management Different from Supply Chain Management:  The major difference between supply chain management and operations management is that supply chain is mainly concerned with what happens outside the company – obtaining materials and delivering products – while operations management is concerned with what happens inside the company.

Job Categories Pursued by Gies Supply Chain Majors

Procurement

The contracting of goods and services with an emphasis on supply source development/analysis, goal-setting, bidding, negotiations, and ethical considerations.

Logistics

Responsible for performing market analysis of vendor competitiveness, support analysis for contract negotiation and review, tracking vendor performance, executing modal analysis, analyzing cost, risk, and service, analyzing transportation asset utilization and optimizing distribution networks.

Supply Chain Analyst

Work with third-party suppliers and contractors with emphasis on supply/demand market analysis, supply source strategy development, management information systems, financial analysis, bidding and negotiating, contracting, supplier relationship management, and performance management.

Inventory Specialist

Works at different levels within a supply chain to manage inventory levels, analyze historical sales data and seasonal demand, and analyze processes that determine replenishment cycles

Consulting

Supply Chain Consultants develop integrated solutions that transform businesses. Work on projects that require complex systems and application integration. Provide program management services and support strategic business imperatives while enhancing operational performance and increasing a client’s competitiveness.

Product Manager

Suggests product enhancements to improve user experience, performs quality assurance controls on products

Is Supply Chain Right for Me?

Questions to ask:

Do I thrive in a dynamic work environment?
Am I a nimble thinker who is solutions-oriented when faced with a problem?
Am I a leader who both works well with others and likes to have decision-making power?
Do I always look for new and innovative ways to solve everyday challenges?

Can I excel while balancing equally important, and sometimes competing, priorities?

Am I the type of person who stays calm and collected under pressure?

Do I enjoy working with people in a wide variety of roles and understand how to communicate with them differently?

Do I love to travel? Am I ok with working outside of traditional 9–5 hours?



Spotlight: Supply Chain Manager Overview

"Direct or coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, or financial forecasting services or activities to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service, or safety. Examine existing procedures or opportunities for streamlining activities to meet product distribution needs. Direct the movement, storage, or processing of inventory."

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Supply chain managers must be excellent communicators, multitaskers, and managers. The job requires the ability to analyze operations and determine ways to improve production processes while cutting costs and not affecting product quality. Companies often seek supply chain managers with experience in manufacturing settings and success in creating lean manufacturing processes. The job requires strong leadership, problem-solving, critical-thinking, time-management, organizational, and interpersonal skills. Knowledge of logistics and supply chain management software is essential.

Retrieved From Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Supply Chain Managers

How to Get a Job Using Your Supply Chain Degree

Follow these steps to prepare for the job search process!

Use Keywords

When using job search platforms, such as Handshake, utilize keywords to find appropriate positions the industries you are interested in.

Below are titles Gies Alumni have had:

Advisory Associate

Advisory Consultant

Analyst

Associate Consultant

Associate Product Manager

Business Analyst

Business Career Foundation Program

Business Technology Analyst

Consultant

Consulting Analyst

Data Analytics Consultant

District Manager

Freight Operations Coordinator

Functional Consultant

Human Capital Business Analyst

Indirect Procurement Analyst

Inventory Replenishment Planner

Logistics Analyst

Management Consulting - Product Operations and Procurement

Manufacturing & Distribution Consultant

Manufacturing Associate

Merchandise Analyst

Operations Management Associate

Project Manager

Sales Rotational Program

Store Management Executive Development Program Trainee

Supplier Relationship Manager

Supply Chain Analyst/Associate

Supply Chain Leadership Development Associate

Supply Chain Management Analyst

Know How to Find These Opportunities

A simple way to get started is by learning more about the companies that hired Gies students in the past. Once you have identified your target companies, follow these companies on Handshake to be informed about opportunities and info sessions, in which you can network with recruiters and professionals.

Below are employers who have hired Gies Marketing students:

AbbVie

Accenture

Ace Hardware

ALDI

Amazon

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Bain & Company

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause

Baxter

Boeing

BP

Capgemini

Caterpillar

Crowe

Deloitte

Dover Corp.

DSC Logistics

Epic Systems

EY

FTI Consulting

Galt & Company

Grant Thornton

Graybar Electric

Hennwin Manufacturing

Hormel Foods

Huron Consulting Group

IBM

Kohl's

KPMG

Macy's

McCain Foods

Medline Industries

Motorola Solutions

Navistar

PepsiCo

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Protiviti

Shell

The Kraft Heinz Company

Uber Technologies

W.W. Grainger

Wells Fargo

West Monroe Partners

Workday

ZS Associates

Customize your Resume & Cover Letter

It’s important to customize your application documents for the industry/position you will be pursuing. Highlight your relevant experience by incorporating desired skills and qualifications into your application documents. How does your experience align with the skills the employer is seeking?

One of the most important duties of a supply chain professional is to reduce costs for the company. If during your college experience you helped your employer reduce inventory turns or save on transportation costs, make sure to include that in your resume. A great way to demonstrate your ability to cut costs is by including numbers in your resume, and providing specific data if possible.

"Increased the supply chain team’s productivity by 15 percent,” or “Improved customer satisfaction from a 3.1/5 average to a 4.3/5 average.”

Words like “increased,” “improved,” “reduced,” and “saved” indicate what you achieved, not just which tasks you owned.

Some of the important skills you may want to highlight:

  • Project management
  • Cost accounting skillsSolid grasp on technology
  • Solid grasp on technology
  • Financial statement literacy
  • Problem solving
  • Business ethics
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • Risk assessmentCommunication
  • Communication
  • Ability to Analyze DataRelationship Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Detail oriented
  • Negotiating
  • Google Analytics Excel
  • Excel

Supply Chain Job Boards



Interview Preparation for Supply Chain Roles

When interviewing for a role in supply chain, the hiring manager usually asks questions to gain a deeper understanding of your previous roles, acquired skills and overall supply chain knowledge. To set yourself apart from the competition, it's important to be able to thoroughly answer the interviewer's questions and display why you'd be an asset to any organization. You can practice your interview responses with a friend, mentor or career advisor.

  1. What do you do if a shipment to your warehouse has been delayed and your order will not be fulfilled on time?What is the most important part of planning and inventory management?
  2. What is the most important part of planning and inventory management?How have you changed a process or procedure?
  3. How have you changed a process or procedure?
  4. Name a time when you had to make a difficult decision with having incomplete information on the situation.
  5. Describe a time where you had to work with someone that you had conflict with. How did you resolve that?
  6. What is the most innovative thing you have ever done?
  7. Describe a time you had to change someone's mind.
  8. If I were to give you a project involving a 100-piece product, how would you go about finding suppliers?
  9. Please describe the various steps and stages of the supply chain process, to the best of your abilities.
  10. What do you consider to be the most important aspects of the supply chain process? The most inefficient?
  11. There are a number of different ways to understand MRP. What technical skills are required to work in procurement and supply? Can you describe one approach for setting safety stock levels?
  12. In your own words, explain why forecasting is important. Please describe the forecasting methods with which you are most familiar.Given the option, would you prefer to use a manufacturer in the U.S., or China? Please explain your answer in as much detail as you can.
  13. Given the option, would you prefer to use a manufacturer in the U.S., or China? Please explain your answer in as much detail as you can.
  14. Please list the ERP software with which you are the most familiar. What is your preferred platform? Why?
  15. How would you go about building relationships with vendors, both here and abroad?


Sample Interview Question and Response

Question: What is supply chain management? or What are the key elements of supply chain management?

Response: The purpose of SCM is to make goods or services readily available to fulfill customer demand. Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities.

Job Search Tip: BIG OPPORTUNITIES EXIST IN SMALL COMPANIES

We all know massive multi-national firms like Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft. But we often overlook the opportunities that exist in small to medium size companies. Jobs with these companies can seem less “sexy,” but they may actually be a better fit and more fulfilling for some candidates depending on an individual’s personality and career goals. If you work for a larger company, your role will likely be highly focused and specialized. You may handle a single function for a single customer. However, working for a smaller firm may mean you operate as a supply chain manager, handling end-to-end processes for the entire business. You must decide which path best fits you.

Additional Resources