For years, supply-chain management was “a career of accident, not choice,” says Masotti. In today’s environment of intense competition, unpredictable demand and narrowing profit margins, manufacturers are viewing the discipline as a critical means of controlling costs and boosting efficiency. It is becoming an increasingly valuable skill set; schools are responding by offering more supply-chain programs geared toward the development of professionals in the field.
What makes a great supply-chain career depends largely on the individual. “There is no silver-bullet answer,” says Masotti. However, there are a few general traits that are common to many professionals. They include the ability to work well in a multi-disciplinary environment, a willingness to travel or relocate, and flexibility with regard to the type of company and the tasks that make up a job.
Prospective supply-chain executives can find mentoring opportunities and other forms of support from industry organizations such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), notes Masotti. “They can give you a better idea of what the options are.”
Masotti warns against several potential pitfalls. One is the tendency to get pigeonholed into a particular job or set of skills. Another is the possible gap between a candidate’s expectations and reality. “Make sure you know what you’re looking for,” he advises, “and be open to opportunities.”
His most important words of advice: “get involved.” Those seeking to enter the field should become part of CSCMP, attend the annual conference, and take advantage of the opportunity to “learn through osmosis,” he says.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain jobs, supply chain careers