Completing a program in supply chain management gives graduates a range of career options. Supply chain management involves managing all of the resources involved in the supply chain, including human resources, logistics and machinery. Due to this, professionals in this field are needed in all types of industries, including retail and manufacturing, to fulfill roles that require capacity planning, price negotiation, quality management and strategy development. Below are some careers that graduates can pursue with a supply chain management degree.

Resource: Top 10 Online Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Degree Programs 2014

Logisticians

A logistician can work in almost any industry, and even though an Associate’s degree could be sufficient for some positions, most companies prefer a Bachelor’s degree. Working in logistics is often stressful because of its fast-paced nature. A logistician analyzes and coordinates the supply chain of an organization, managing everything from how it receives products to how it delivers products to customers. Logisticians also develop business relationships with clients and suppliers, strive to understand client needs and determine how to meet them, review logistical functions and pinpoint areas of improvement, and develop strategies to reduce transport costs and time.

Buyers and Purchasing Agents

Some companies only require a high school diploma for purchasing agents, but most of them require a Bachelor’s degree and some on-the-job training. The role of a purchasing agent is to buy products and services for companies to use or resell. These products may be retail, wholesale or farm products. Some of the duties for this position include assessing suppliers based on quality, price and delivery speed; reviewing product quality; and negotiating and monitoring contracts to ensure that suppliers adhere to contract terms and to determine if changes are necessary. Buyers and purchasing agents also analyze financial reports, price proposals and other details to determine reasonable prices.

Purchasing Manager

With some work experience as buyers or purchasing agents, graduates with a Bachelor’s degree can become purchasing managers. In this role, they coordinate, direct and plan the purchase of equipment, materials, products and services for retailers, organizations and wholesalers. Purchasing managers also hire, train and supervise staff; assess potential suppliers and visit their distribution centers and plants; negotiate purchasing and delivery contracts; and ensure that suppliers adhere to the contracts. Sometimes referred to as contract managers, they also develop procurement policies and procedures as well as meet with staff and suppliers to address faulty or unacceptable products or services.

Management Analyst

Traveling often to meet with clients, management analysts propose methods for improving the efficiency of organizations by advising managers on how to increase revenue and reduce costs to boost profits. A majority of companies require a Bachelor’s degree for this position, and graduates may improve their chances of getting jobs by obtaining the Certified Management Consultant designation. Management analysts are responsible for gathering and organizing information about problems that need to be resolved or procedures that need improvement as well as developing the solutions or better practices for those problems. Also called management consultants, they communicate with managers to make sure that implemented changes are working.

Industrial Production Manager

Industrial production managers supervise the day-to-day operations of manufacturing and production facilities. They coordinate, direct and plan how goods are created. Many manufacturers require industrial production managers to have a Bachelor’s degree and multiple years of work experience. This role requires decision-making skills to decide how staff use equipment to achieve production goals and to determine if overtime or new machines are required to achieve unmet goals. Also referred to as plant managers, they implement quality control programs to ensure finished products meet specific quality requirements. Industrial production managers also work with procurement managers to ensure that the supplies required for production are ordered.

There are many types of supply chain management programs, including those that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. While some of them focus only on supply chain management, others might include other aspects of business management. Having a specific career in mind can help students determine the level of education and work experience that they need to achieve that job level.