What’s supply chain management, you ask? It’s the role that keeps the wheels of commerce churning. Supply chain professionals manage the flow of goods from manufacturers to retailers, ensuring that products are delivered in the proper quantities and in good condition to keep customers happy and sales rolling in. If you’re considering becoming a supply chain manager or already working in supply chain management, here are 8 things you wish you knew before starting your career.
Being in front of your computer is not all there is
Most people will assume that you’re behind your computer for the entirety of your day, but I assure you this is not true. A recent study by Accountemps found that accountants spend an average of 7 hours in front of their computer screen and only 4 hours meeting with clients each week. There’s more to what we do than sitting at our desks crunching numbers.
The company is as crucial as your role
It is essential to assess the company you are joining and how it could potentially impact your supply chain management career. For example, what type of culture does the company have? What kind of industry sector is it in? Will the company offer future opportunities for leadership positions and promotions?
As you evaluate the company, also consider which department you would like to join and then work with their HR team to align yourself with that particular team.
Give yourself time to grow into your career
The industry is always changing, and there are years of experience required before one can call themselves an expert. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll know all the answers when you first start or to have any idea what you’ll be doing five years from now. Your career will evolve, so it’s important to invest in your skillset and know that it will grow with you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
I had so many questions, but I didn’t want to seem dumb. We always had people coming in and out of the office; I was never sure who to ask about different topics that popped up during the day or for clarification on something I read.
Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn and explore opportunities. The worst thing that can happen is you get a polite no when you ask something or are given an answer if you request it from someone higher up.
Learning happens everywhere
When you’re in the thick of it, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. It may seem like every minute is consumed with tasks related to your job. But learning doesn’t stop when you clock out at 5 o’clock. When you’re out and about during your downtime, be mindful of moments where an idea could come to you that would improve the efficiency of your business process or your current work task.
Have fun with it
When I first started my supply chain management career, there were many things that I wished I had known beforehand. For example, the most important thing for me to do was educate myself about the company I work for. Once I got involved in different programs within the company, it became much easier for me to have deeper conversations with people in different company departments.
Always have something you are working on outside of work hours
It is important to have something to do outside of work hours, even if it’s just browsing the internet or reading. Working all day and not taking care of yourself will make you less productive and more prone to burnout.
If possible, have a workout plan. You can only guarantee time for working out before or after work hours.
Seek feedback, but keep looking forward
Having the skill set to be successful in supply chain management or any position in the field of logistics will make the job much more manageable. Many nuances make up this profession, and it is important to have a solid understanding of how to succeed with these skill sets. Hopefully, you can find at least one aspect in this list that will help you as you embark on your career journey.
These tips will take you a long way in your supply chain management career. If you need a head start, you can look at supply chain management courses from LBTC.