Are you a student thinking about careers in transportation? Have you ever heard of supply chain management? If not, be sure to check out our videos, which feature North Carolina A&T State University students Stephen Harris and Justin Pippen.
What is supply chain management? You could call it a career where transportation meets business. Supply chain managers are responsible for getting their company's goods and products from the factory to the consumer on time, undamaged, and as efficiently as possible.
“Supply chain management is basically, as I would call it, the steak and potatoes of business,” Justin Pippen told Fast Forward. “It’s how you get your materials to where they need to be. How you manage how much material you need for a particular product. Everything that sells a product or does a service needs supply chain, so it’s a high-demand field.”
Supply chain managers can work for the smallest companies or the largest corporations. The career opportunities for students in supply chain are almost endless.
“Walmart—ultimate retailer and leader in the supply chain. You have Target. You have Amazon. You have Starbucks,” Pippen said.
Steven Harris was able to earn a supply chain internship with the automaker BMW, which helped him launch a career right out of college.
“It was very challenging,” Harris said of working at BMW. “But by the end of the internship, I was basically able to become a consultant for the project I started.”
What does it take to be a supply chain manager? Different companies might require different skills and educational backgrounds, but an understanding of the way businesses work and a knack for problem-solving are must-haves.
“It’s constantly solving problems, and that’s one thing I like,” Harris said. “It’s never the same, and you’re always using your brain.”
Some, but not all supply chain management professionals might also be asked to travel. Imagine working for a company like the American Red Cross, delivering aid to countries following a natural disaster.
“Supply chain is never the same day-by-day,” Pippen told Fast Forward. “And that’s what I like. I don’t like being bored to death sitting in the office, doing the same thing every day.”
For more information on supply chain management careers, check out more of this issue of Fast Forward. Dozens of informational articles and videos can also be found online with a quick keyword search of “supply chain management careers.” The internet is an incredibly useful source of information for students who want to know things like what kind of salary they can expect in supply chain careers, or what courses they should take in high school and college to be eligible for a career. Students should also check out the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals website, which can help them understand what’s going on in the industry today, and what it will look like in the future. The website is www.careersinsupplychain.org.
And remember to follow us on Fast Forward for more updates on the world of careers in the transportation industry!