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Careers in Supply Chain & Procurement

If you’re looking to work in an industry with ever-evolving job prospects, the supply chain and procurement sector offers a breadth of opportunities. From entry-level positions and graduate roles to management and senior management jobs, this rapidly changing industry welcomes a wealth of skills and levels of experience.

Roles within supply chain and procurement are equally as diverse, covering planning, sourcing, storage, production, and logistics – and they’re available in a wide range of sectors.

During Covid, the supply chain’s vital role in the movement and availability of goods underlined just how essential its workers are. One such example was the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market, which covers high-demand items such as food and cosmetics.

With the ongoing growth of online retail stores, there is an increasing need for sector specialists. Read on to find out more about career opportunities within supply chain and procurement. 

In a hurry? Jump to a specific question below. 

What types of jobs are in the supply chain? | Why choose a career in supply chain management?Are supply chain jobs in demand? | What supply chain jobs are available for recent graduates? | What are the highest-paying supply chain jobs? | Is supply chain management a good career? 

What types of jobs are in the supply chain?

Supply chain covers a variety of crucial roles throughout a business’ entire operation; from the shop floor of a warehouse to the distribution center or manufacturing line, through to the office, where the sourcing of goods, forecasting, and planning of deliveries takes place.

One of the major functions of the supply chain is the movement of goods from A to B. This can include the delivery of parts or ingredients for manufacturing on-site, or delivery to end-users. This requires in-depth planning to ensure efficiency and meet tight deadlines.

The types of roles and opportunities in supply chain and procurement that we currently recruit for at Distinct include:

  • Supply Chain Planning – ensuring the efficient sourcing and delivery of goods
  • Demand Planning & Forecasting – balancing the supply and demand of products 
  • Production Planning – utilising facilities and personnel to maximise capacity and efficiency
  • Materials Planning – the balancing of inventory with production levels
  • Merchandising – making goods available to consumers
  • Logistics Management – the planning and delivery of freight
  • Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) – covers various aspects of the supply chain, including marketing, production, and new product introduction
  • Procurement & Purchasing – sourcing all the goods a business needs to function effectively
  • Retail Buying & Sourcing – identifying, evaluating, and buying products for in-store and eCommerce
  • Supplier Management – ensuring cost efficiencies and compliance across supplier contracts
  • Category Management – delivering a segmented approach to procurement for greater efficiency

Why choose a career in the supply chain?

Individuals with any of the following skills will find themselves at home working in the supply chain:

  • Problem-solvers: from late deliveries to damaged goods, supply chain management requires a cool head and excellent problem-solving skills to keep everything from production to distribution operating to strict deadlines.
  • Negotiators: a key skill required for many workers in the supply chain, in order to ensure cost efficiencies across operations. Strong communication skills help to get the very best results when dealing with suppliers, buyers and customers. 
  • Analysts: planning and forecasting are vital components in the efficient management of the supply chain in order to effectively balance supply and demand. Every purchasing decision impacts profitability, and analysts provide the insight needed to keep operations to budget. 
  • Detail-driven: every operation requires compliance management to ensure it adheres to health and safety regulations but also meets its own targets and policies. A keen eye for detail can help to identify areas where improvements are needed, and the actions required to make them. 

Are supply chain jobs in demand?

In the UK, supply chain and procurement are seeing something of a jobs boom right now, partly due to our increasing reliance on e-commerce. As of 2021, online shopping accounts for 30% of total retail sales, up from just 21.8% in 2019, according to figures from Statista, increasing the number of vacancies in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics.

Supply chain jobs and digital skills

This has led to a growth in demand for a variety of skills within the industry. To ensure supply meets demand, the number of roles within data analysis, management, and forecasting have increased, as the need to optimise businesses for efficiency has placed greater emphasis on digital knowledge and experience.

Ever-changing demands from consumers also mean they expect faster delivery times than ever before, with the option to access reliable tracking and visibility on goods they have purchased online. As a result, this places greater emphasis on the need for developing robust IT skills, solutions and reliable forecasting procedures.

Supply chain, procurement and sustainability 

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact the goods and services they use to have on the planet and the conditions of workers around the world. 

As a result, the supply chain now has a greater impact on sales, marketing and brand perception, leading to more rigorous compliance and sourcing procedures. Roles in procurement are increasingly focused on efficiency and sustainability. This includes sourcing solutions to reduce product packaging and more renewable packaging options, transport planning that maximises efficiency, identifying ways to reduce fuel usage, and changing to more sustainable forms of transport. 

What supply chain jobs are available for recent graduates?

Junior roles within supply chain and procurement that are ideal for graduates include; retail buying and sourcing, procurement and purchasing and merchandising. 

These types of roles allow individuals to get to grips with the processes and challenges involved in the supply chain, whilst also helping to develop essential skills such as planning and communication.

Many large businesses now provide graduate schemes that deliver on-the-job training to equip candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to take on management roles.

What are the highest-paying supply chain jobs?

The highest-paying jobs within the supply chain and procurement sector include:

  • Purchasing Manager
  • Compliance Manager
  • Demand & Planning Analysts

Is supply chain management a good career?

Supply management requires a versatile skill set and provides ample opportunities for progression. Around two million people in the UK work in logistics and supply chain management – that’s one in 12 of the working population. The growth of the sector as a whole also makes it a reliable career path that continues to develop and innovate. 

It is an attractive sector in which to build a rewarding career, with numerous opportunities for personal growth and development. The industry offers training opportunities at various levels, which is ideal for those who prefer on-the-job training and upskilling to classroom learning.

Work with Distinct 

As leading East Midlands recruiters, we offer a completely bespoke recruitment process designed to match ambitious candidates with their ideal work environment. Contact our Nottingham office today to discuss opportunities we’re supporting in supply chain and procurement.

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