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2024 Virtual Return to Work Conference, May 14-16

Relaunching in Supply Chain

​One area which has not changed is the human side of needing to understand the behavioural side of a decision being made during a disruption.

By Lisa Fenton

Lisa Fenton CSCMP is a speaker, writer, and supply chain management professional. Listen to her podcasts on "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" - Episode 101: “What Does ‘Supply Chain’ really mean? And if I’m good at logistics, can I relaunch in that field?” and Episode 72: "Creating an Effective Return to Work Plan."

What is supply chain?

Supply chain is getting goods from the source to the end customer, as well as your customers' customers, it includes these functions: Plan/source/make/deliver and return. Areas include Procurement, Operations, Logistics, Transportation, Consulting and Senior Management.

Supply chains focus has grown from a cost-savings function to a value-creation function for customers, stakeholders and shareholders. The focus in this global environment now includes data-driven, network-driven and collaborative supply chain ecosystems.

How did I get into a supply chain role?

After graduating with a marketing diploma and working at various positions, my last position before entering supply chain was an inside sales representative. This position also included ordering replacement parts for the finished goods I was shipping to customers. I thought about what it would be like to be on the other side of the transaction, be the one placing orders and following up on the status. I researched supply chain positions and found many common skills as well as most companies were requiring that you have a designation or be working towards one.

I started taking the courses at night school, completed the four basic courses and one workshop. The last two positions I had before leaving the workforce were for small local family businesses, I was the buyer for both companies before leaving the workforce to stay home with our three boys for twelve years.

What positions are available in supply chain?

The great advantage of pursuing an opportunity in supply chain is that roles exist in the support level, mid-range level, professional level and executive level. Companies now have supply chain included in their C-suite.

Manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and distribution offer many roles but there are opportunities in many other areas as well. The Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) has a career link with local and Canada-wide positions. On the day I went on the site there were postings in accounting and finance, distribution and warehousing, logistics and purchasing.

Eighty eight percent of the listings were in logistics. The statistics show income ranges from an average of $86,000(CDN) (around $66,000 USD) per year for supply chain individuals without a designation to an average of $95,000(CDN) (around $73,000 USD) per year with a designation and once at the executive level an average of $141,000(CDN) per year (around $108,000 USD).

What jobs are available in supply chain?

This chart is from the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council:

Professional: VP of Transportation, Manager Transportation, Manager Ocean Imports
Professional: Chief Procurement Officer, VP Procurement, VP Purchasing, VP Materials Management, Manager Strategic Planning, Manager Purchasing
Professional: Plant Manager, Production Manager, Postal and Courier Service Manager
Professional: Chief Logistics Officer, VP Logistics, Manager Logistics Planning
Mid-Range: Customs Broker, Transportation route scheduler, Dispatcher
Mid-range: Retail/wholesale Buyer, Purchasing Agent, Contract Administrator
Mid-Range: Foreman, Team Leader
Mid- Range: Logistics engineer, Inventory Planner
Support: File clerk, Pick-up and delivery driver, Small parcel clerk, Import/Export brokerage clerk, Shipper/ Receiver
Support: Purchasing Clerk, Purchasing Assistant
Support: Order Filler, Forklift Operator, Material Handler, Dock Worker
Support: Logistics Analyst

What type of technical skills do you have to have?

Postings include the following skills: Microsoft office, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), in house software products and Warehouse Management systems.

What’s involved in getting certified?

In Canada we have two main programs a Diploma in Procurement and a Supply Chain Management and the Certified SCMP (Supply Chain Management Professional) Designation.

The Diploma requires candidates to complete three business management courses and seven seminars along with an evaluation of either a research paper or final exam at a cost of approximately $10,300(CDN) (about $7900 USD).

The SCMP program requires candidates to complete eight modules, six Interactive workshops, in residence week, final exam and have practical progressive experience as well at a cost of approximately $14,715 (CDN) (about $11,000 USD). Both programs have a suggested three-year timeframe to complete.

What’s the future of supply chain?

With the digital and physical worlds blurring we are entering the digitization of supply chain where the focus will turn to resiliency. This digital culture will focus on accessing gaps, innovation and continuous improvement using digital applications to drive operational excellence.

For more information on supply chain management in the US, visit the Association for Supply Chain Management.

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