What Can I Do with a Major in Supply Chain?

What is Supply Chain Management?

Supply Chain Management (SCM) consists of a set of approaches to efficiently integrate the flow of materials, finances, and information from suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers to the final customer, and back again. Supply chain management involves coordinating and integrating these flows both within and among companies. The primary objective of supply chain management is to improve the service levels to customers while reducing overall supply chain costs.

We have seen large improvements in the area, especially in the capture and use of information. Electronic commerce is one example of the use of technology in the supply chain management process. The supply chain management field continues to evolve to become more a proactive, strategic process with global business partners. Dealing with these issues is the foundation of careers in SCM. The demand for professionals in the area is rapidly growing as firms are realizing the improved efficiency and profitability resulting from Supply Chain Management.

For students interested in a global career, SCM roles often offer a quicker path to international travel on the job than most other careers.  Additionally, SCM often enables a very efficient path to key executive level opportunities for individuals interested in a career advancement and progression.

What Are Attributes of an SCM Professional?

The attributes you bring into an SCM career should include strong verbal and written communication skills, an aptitude for technology, a talent for data analysis, a global perspective on business, and the ability to maintain good professional relationships. Typically, being able to work well in a team is essential to strong performance. The increasing ease of doing business online is having an impact on the supply management profession as markets take on a global scope. Supply chain managers may be asked to find and evaluate international sources of supply as well as potential markets around the globe and to integrate and coordinate requirements across the globe. As a result, you may be expected to bring cultural understanding and language skills to your position.

View 2016-2017 salary data for KU graduates in Supply Chain Management 

Career Paths in SCM:

The following are some areas of employment for supply chain management majors (actual job titles can vary, e.g., Agent, Analyst, Assistant, Specialist, or Manager):

  • Supplier Relations Management
  • Contracts Management and Pricing
  • Procurement and Supply Management
  • Materials Planning
  • Inventory Management
  • Logistics Management
  • Transportation Carrier Management
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Consulting in SCM
  • Export/Import Operations and Management
  • Consumer Services Management
  • Warehouse Operations and Management
  • Distribution Management

What Industries Employ SCM Professionals?

Supply chain management professionals work in virtually every industry - manufacturing or service, governmental, educational or retail. Different job titles or functions may be working as a buyer, negotiating contracts, being an inventory manager, an import/export goods manager, transportation manager, supplier relations, supplier selection, operations, warehousing, benchmarking, e-commerce, recycling, technology, and customer relations. Supply chain management is important at all size organizations—from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. All recognize that talented supply chain management professionals can help ensure the most efficient and profitable operations possible.

View employers by state. 

Tips for Launching a Career in SCM:

  • Complete a relevant internship.
  • Develop strong analytic skills and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Conduct informational discussions with individuals from industry. The Alumni Directories in the BCS provide a great place to start.
  • Explore various professional designations and licenses relevant to SCM career paths.
  • Join a student organization such as the Supply Chain Management Club to gain insight into supply chain industries.

Additional information on careers in supply chain is available at Business Career Services in 1130 Capitol Federal Hall. For further information, students are encouraged to review the following resources:

  • http://www.thesupplychainjobboard.com/--Supply Chain Jobs connects great companies with great talent - helping both job seekers and employers make connections that lead to successful futures. This resource includes a job board for positions in Supply Chain Management as well as career resources and guides. 
  • http://cscmp.org/ – Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCM’s) home page, with information on their activities, career opportunities, educational programs, and much more. A copy of the “What in the World is the Global Supply Chain” DVD referenced on this website is available for check-out in the resource library of the Business Career Services Center.
  • http://www.ism.ws/ – Institute for Supply Management’s home page with information on the profession and various educational and certification programs offered by the non-profit organization.
  • http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/scforum/ Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum advances the theory and practice of excellence in global supply chain management
  • www.salary.com – Compensation information for various positions


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