Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series – Supply Chain Manager

Hunter Campbell’s Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family including jobs in demand, salaries, and employment prospects.

Today the role of Supply Chain Manager is in the spotlight.

What does a Supply Chain Manager do?

Firstly, we need to provide some context: I am often asked by the uninitiated, ‘What the heck is supply chain and what does a supply chain manager do?’ This is a common question asked by those who perceive supply chain as a behind-the-scenes dark art.  So, for this article, the supply chain refers to the 5 key pillars of plan, source, make, move and return.

Most of the Supply Chain Managers responsibilities entail managing the plan, source, deliver and return functions. The overall purpose of the Supply Chain Manager is to ensure the supply chain strategy corresponds to the business strategy. Depending on how the business decides to compete with the market, its supply chain will support that decision and look to add as much value as possible through all aspects of the value chain. In essence, they manage how products move from formulation to the customer ensuring everything operates at peak efficiency by eliminating inefficiencies and optimising processes.

Supply chain managers will often manage the various functions they are responsible for against key metrics that are analysed on a weekly/ monthly basis. This analysis enables insight into inefficiencies and allows for adjustment and changes to optimize the supply chain.

Some of these general KPIs include:

  • DIFOT (delivery in full on time)
  • Planning accuracy across the S&Op process
  • Inventory record accuracy including SLOB (slow-moving and obsolete) management
  • Warehouse order performance
  • Case fill
  • Freight cost per ton
  • Supplier on-time delivery
  • Cost out & cost savings

Every dollar saved through the value chain is a dollar on the bottom line, which is why getting it right is crucial to a business’s performance. A Supply Chain Manager plays a huge role in the success of a company and has a hand in every aspect of the supply chain, including:

  • Sourcing
  • Procurement/purchasing
  • Inventory management
  • Distribution/logistics
  • Customer service
  • Planning/S&Op/IBP
  • WMS/ERP integration

Key Skills and qualifications required

There are several core skills required by a Supply Chain Manager to lead complex supply chains. It would be fair to say a complimentary mix of EQ and IQ is a winning combination along with the skills listed below, which by no means covers them all.

These skills can be broken into two key areas.

Technical skills that include:

  • Tertiary education in supply chain/ business/ commerce/ math/ operational science or statistics is an advantage
  • An affinity for technology, within an ERP/WMS framework
  • A working knowledge of warehouse, distribution, and logistics management
  • Lean and CI tools
  • Planning within an IBP/ S&Op framework,
  • And increasingly, an understanding of driving sustainability through the supply chain.

Softer skills that include:

  • The ability to lead teams, often across multiple sites and regions
  • Clear communication and influencing skills
  • Conflict management
  • The ability to translate complex information into easily assimilated presentations
  • Ability to be agile and adapt to changing situations.

Recruitment Forecast and Career Prospects

Career prospects in the supply chain are excellent, particularly in the current environment. The drama of Covid has more or less passed. We are now facing inflationary pressures and an unpredictable economic environment. Post Covid- 19 many organisations were playing catch-up and invested heavily in inventory. This has put the spotlight on an organisation’s ability to understand and manage its customer demand cycle in a more agile manner. Organisations often believe they have a freight, transport or inventory issue. Closer observation usually discloses a lack of a coherent planning process.  This has emphasized the need for Supply Chain Managers who understand and can manage the complexities of the end-to-end value chain. In New Zealand, many organisations’ supply chains are overexposed and under-resourced. This makes for great career opportunities for supply chain practitioners in both the corporate and SME environments. This environment is a positive one for Supply Chain Managers!

How to become a Supply Chain Manager?

There are many paths to becoming a Supply Chain Manager. And there is no specific formal qualification or educational route to follow. Unlike, say, the path to becoming a Financial controller, requiring a commercial tertiary and CA qualification.  Some individuals gain experience in the freight/ warehousing/ distribution side of supply chain. Others progress through the planning path, moving through the demand/ supply/ S&Op route. Yet others may progress via the procurement/ commercial manager path. The ability to progress through various levels and disciplines of supply chain to the position of Supply Chain Manager is one of the key benefits of being in supply chain. The key is trying to get as much exposure as possible to the variety of supply chain disciplines on your path to becoming a Supply Chain Manager. This will enhance your knowledge base and make you a more effective Supply Chain Manager.

Salary guide

The size of an organization will often determine the scope and scale of the Supply Chain Managers responsibilities. This is directly reflected in remuneration and title, whether that be Supply Chain Manager/ GM Supply Chain or Supply Chain Director. In addition, Supply Chain Managers are often bonused on the achievement of KPIs. The below is an indication of salary ranges.

Supply Chain Manager: $130,000 – $165,000
GM Supply Chain: $180,000 – $250,000
Director Supply Chain: $200,000 – $350,000 +

In New Zealand, there are a large proportion of SME businesses. In SMEs, it is not unusual for a Supply Chain Manager to be very hands-on and be involved at both the tactical and operational levels. They may have responsibility for warehousing, distribution, transport, purchasing and planning.

In larger organisations, a Supply Chain Manager may have several direct reports that could include the DC Manager, Planning/ S&Op Manager, Purchasing/ Procurement, and Transport/ Freight Manager. Alternatively, large organizations with complex global supply chains may have multiple Supply Chain Managers managing specific areas of the supply chain, and reporting through to a Supply Chain Director.

The next logical question is “What is the next step after Supply Chain Manager/ GM/ Director?” Supply Chain Managers gain business acumen, leadership as well as a host of other key skills. This acquisition of knowledge, skills, and a thorough understanding of the complexities of value chains places supply chain managers in a good position to move into general management, commercial roles, or potentially Chief Operations Officer.

If you would like to find out more about the role of Supply Chain Manager, please contact Founding Partner, Ken Webb. Ken specialises in the design and development of effective supply chains and leads the Supply Chain, Procurement & Operations recruitment team for Hunter Campbell. For more news and views visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

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