Hunter Campbell’s supply chain salary & employment forecast series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family, including jobs in demand, wages, and employment prospects.
In our eighteenth installment, the role of Supply Chain Analyst is in the spotlight.
Purpose of the role
To ensure supplies reach their final destination, various individuals, routes, spaces and times must align in precise order, creating a supply chain. This process is not always smooth and is often plagued by delays, miscommunication, and other errors and disruptions. A Supply Chain Analyst analyses data and methods to predict and improve a company’s delivery of products and services to its customers. An organisation’s supply chain needs to run smoothly and efficiently to ensure a profit, making the supply chain analyst an essential role.
Key skills and qualifications required
Being a Supply Chain Analyst comes with a lot of responsibility and areas of oversight that can make it challenging to keep track of all the moving parts. Supply chain analysts closely monitor everything from delivery times and routes, warehouse space use, stocking limitations, and even weather patterns. They make recommendations and adjustments to save the organisation from wasting money or resources while storing, moving, and delivering goods efficiently. Underpinning this role is the ability to not only gather insights but communicate them effectively across the business, driving operational or procedural change. An effective data analyst is capable of both communicating these insights and using their analysis to challenge alternative outcomes in future sales promotions, for example:
All of this requires a lot of attention to detail and commercial nous to ensure that everything flows smoothly at every point of the supply chain. The supply chain analyst regularly must think outside the box to resolve unexpected problems and keep the supply chain on track.
Supply chain analysts typically work in a fast-paced, ever-evolving environment that is challenging and rewarding for those who thrive in this type of work environment. They perform jobs that can have a substantially positive affect on their organisations, which makes the work meaningful to many people in the role.
Ability to Analyse Data
Learning to analyse data is a very important skill to have before becoming an analyst. In every analyst position, the analyst must look at and make sense of a large amount of data. It may be different types of data depending on the job, but supply chain analysts must analyse the data collected and then let that drive the decision making.
Problem Solving Skills
A supply chain analyst career requires strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to draw conclusions based on multiple sources of information and to quickly adapt to shifting needs.
Because supply chain coordinates with many other teams besides the one they work on, they must have good communication skills. They also sometimes interact with people outside supply chain organisation in this role.
Strong Knowledge of Tools/Software
Not only do analysts need to be able to use widely known applications like Excel and Access, but they also need to be able to use an ERP such as SAP, Supply Chain Guru, and any other software that may be essential to their job.
Along with supply chain analysis and optimisation, it’s important that analysts understand the fundamentals of supply chain management like production, sourcing, distribution, etc. When companies look for a supply chain analyst, the ideal candidate is someone with a combination of analyst skills and general supply chain knowledge.
Qualifications are not an essential prerequisite. However, it is highly likely a Supply Chain Analyst holds a tertiary qualification in are such as Commerce, Maths, Supply Chain Management or Statistics.
There is also the Certified in Production & Inventory Management (CPIM) course which NZPICS offer which can provide candidates with some really good skills if they have not come from a tertiary background in supply chain and want to add a qualification in supply chain.
Generally, there are three main pathways to becoming a Supply Chain Analyst. The first is by joining a business directly in a junior role or on a graduate scheme as a Master Data or Supply Chain Analyst. The second and more common route, is that a supply chain analyst works in multiple roles within the supply chain before moving to positions of greater responsibility. For example, an analyst might work in demand planning, production and inventory roles before progressing to senior positions. The third route and one that is becoming increasingly common, is to move from other areas of the business – typically from a Sales Analyst, Finance Analyst, or by the company seeing your potential with data, problem-solving and being able to provide the business with meaningful insights and reports.
As you gain experience and demonstrate your capabilities, you will have the potential to progress to a senior analyst, a supply chain manager and perhaps even a supply chain leadership position. Supply Chain Analysts who can combine their undoubted capability in technical understanding, data and insights with skills in influencing, wider understanding of the supply chain and business have high potential to progress into leadership or broader supply chain management positions. Those with demonstrable achievements in providing solutions are able to pursue a career path in project management and Lean Manufacturing.
The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing supply chain disruption highlighted something that was often previously underrated: the importance of supply chains. As the virus spread and outbreaks shut down different regions, the global supply chains that supply consumers with basic goods were catastrophically affected. Rapid shifts in consumer demand led to panic buying and shortages that logistics managers struggled to keep up with. In addition to those at the forefront of supply chain – Warehouse Managers, Inventory Managers, Forklift Drivers, there has been a rise in demand of planners and analysts. The importance of effective planning, the smart use of data, and converting datasets into insights to effectively predict, manage and improve supply chain demand and forecasting has never been so important.
The role of Supply Chain Analyst has become increasingly important with many companies improving their capability through increasing the size of the team, or in many cases establishing a specialist Supply Chain Analyst role for the first time. With ongoing uncertainty in international supply chains (the war in Ukraine, shifting international politics, climate and weather events and so on) coupled with sustained (and often increasing) consumer demand, and the rise of e-commerce the increased demand for Supply Chain Analysts is unlikely to diminish. Skilled professionals who convert data sets into meaningful information, and in more senior positions can recommend solutions, are here to stay.
Graduate Analyst: $60000 to $70000
Master Data Analyst: $80000 to $90000
Supply Chain Analyst: $80,000 to $100000
Senior Supply Chain Analyst: $100000 to $120000
If you would like to find out more about the role of a Supply Chain Analyst, please contact consultant Wayne Fry. Wayne specialises in Supply Chain, Procurement, Operations and Continuous Improvement, emphasising permanent employment solutions. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.