Supply Chain Excellence – Supply Chain Manager

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

In this article, the role of Supply Chain Manager is in the spotlight.

Purpose of the role

Most of the Supply Chain Manager’s 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, their 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

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 a number of core skills required by a Supply Chain Manager to lead complex supply chains. It would be fair to say a complementary 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: 

  • A tertiary education in supply chain, business,  commerce, maths, operational science or statistics is an advantage 
  • An affinity for technology, within an ERP/WMS framework 
  • A working knowledge in 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

Non-technical skills that include: 

  • The ability to lead teams, often across multiple sites and across regions 
  • Clear communication and influencing skills 
  • Conflict management 
  • The ability to translate complex information into easily assimilated presentations

Recruitment Forecast and Career Prospects

Particularly in the current environment that includes some economic instability and geopolitical tensions. This has put the spotlight on the fragility of some supply chains. It doesn’t help that New Zealand just happens to be the last bus stop on the planet. As a consequence businesses are realising they are over exposed in key areas across their value chain and under resourced from a talent perspective.  

This makes for great career opportunities for supply chain practitioners in both the corporate and SME environment. 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 their 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

This information is anecdotal and based on roles Hunter Campbell is currently recruiting or has previously recruited and relate to base salaries. They do not include any additional bonuses or benefits. 

The size of an organization will often determine the scope and scale of the Supply Chain Manager’s 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 achievement of KPIs. 

Supply Chain Manager $130,000 – $180,000 

GM Supply Chain $180,000 – $250,000 

Director Supply Chain $220,000 – $300,000 base + 

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 level. 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 place 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 Senior Consultant Wayne Fry. Wayne specialises in the recruitment of Supply Chain, Procurement & Operations roles. 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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