Careers in Supply Chain & Operations Management

Supply chain and operations management is the management and supply of goods and services. Those working within this field are responsible for obtaining resources, planning and scheduling production, managing inventory levels, practicing quality control, and distributing products. Common job titles include logisticians, operations managers, and supply managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2010 logisticians earned a median annual salary of $70,000, general and operations managers had a median annual wage of $94,400, and the median annual wage for supply managers, such as purchasing agents, purchasing managers, and buyers, was $58,360.

Of these occupations, logisticians are projected to have the highest employment increase from 2010 to 2020 at 26%, followed by supply managers at 7% and general and operations managers at 5%, according to the BLS. While these statistics vary, it’s important to remember that they are only estimates and averages, and are not actual guarantees of salary or employment.

Required Education for Supply Chain and Operations Management

At least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related major is required to pursue a career in this field. Many business programs allow students to focus their studies in supply chain and operations management either as a specific major or specialization. Students in these types of programs learn about how operations functions within supply chain and how it relates to the development of goods and services through effective use of personnel, materials, and machinery.

Class topics include, but are not limited to, business processes, lean operations, technology and product development, supply and storage, logistics, and mass customization. Foundational business courses are taken in areas such as economics, information technology, professional communication, finance and accounting, and management. Supply chain and operations management courses may include operations planning and control, logistics and transportation management, purchasing and supply management, and supply chain analytics.

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