What is Supply Chain Management?

 A man scans packages in a warehouse.

Want an exciting career that will test your problem-solving skills and keep you on your toes? You might want to consider a career in the field of supply chain management.

So, what is supply chain management?

Roquita Coleman-Williams, CN Railroad Supply Chain Solutions.

Click a button to watch an interview with Roquita Coleman-Williams:

Brian Baney, Artlin Consulting, LLC.

Click a button to watch an interview with Brian Baney:

Supply chain management professionals do exactly what you would expect: they manage supply chains.

The entire life cycle of a product, from the raw materials phase to the point that it’s purchased by the consumer, is called the supply chain. Transportation plays an important role in connecting the links in a supply chain. For example, if you visit the grocery store, some of the products on the shelves might contain ingredients that originated in different countries before they were finally assembled at a factory in the United States. Transportation provided the links in the chain that got them here. The more steps there are in the supply chain, the further things must travel to get to the consumer. This makes transportation one of the most important parts of running a business.

Supply chains are also important to a nation’s economy. As nations grow, their railroads, ports, and highways have to grow, too. They must be able to provide more goods more often and over greater distances. In the early days of the United States, for example, the railroad system enabled large quantities of goods to travel from east to west, which helped the country expand. The railroad continues to be an important part of America’s supply chain today. Trucks, container ships, and cargo planes are also important parts of the supply chain. Each of these modes of transportation offers a variety of career options for people interested in transportation supply chain management.

Supply chain managers like Roquita Coleman-Williams and Brian Baney are the people who assist in the movement of goods throughout the supply chain. Supply chain experts are always in demand because businesses and countries need their supply chains to run efficiently and smoothly at all times. Roquita works for the CN Railroad as a solutions manager. Her job is to help goods flow efficiently between countries using the rail network. Brian is a supply chain consultant. He helps businesses move their goods from place to place.

The different career opportunities within the field of supply chain are almost endless. For example, you could be a logistics professional focusing on how to get goods from point A to point B as quickly as possible. You could be an industrial engineer designing new equipment, materials, systems, or software to help goods flow more efficiently and safely. You could work in quality assurance or customer support making sure goods flowing through the supply chain meet consumer expectations. You could even work for a trucking or shipping company. Whatever you do, you’ll find that supply chain management is a great career for people interested in transportation.

To learn more about supply chain management, check out what Roquita and Brian had to say in their interviews with Fast Forward. Then read the article on supply chain management on Wikipedia. And checkout the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

Make sure to keep following Fast Forward for more information on exciting careers in the transportation industry!

Aaron Mack
Fast Forward: Volume 3 Issue 3 – Trucking & Logistics