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What Is Supply Chain Management and Why Should I Major in It?

The University of Maine at Presque Isle offers entry into one of the most high-demand, lucrative and fascinating fields in the world today: supply chain management. The Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration – Supply Chain Management Concentration online program prepares students for essential roles overseeing the production flow of goods or services from start to finish with a thorough understanding of how business functions today and is transforming for tomorrow.

The curriculum blends a traditional business education with specialized courses so that students develop a holistic understanding of how businesses work and how the supply chain integrates with all other functions. Core business courses cover managerial accounting, management information systems, business analytics, economics and communication, among other subjects. The program concentration courses cover total quality management, fundamentals of the supply chain, supplier relationship management and operations management, and other supply chain principles and functions.

Ultimately, students graduate ready to help deliver on every global sales organization's primary goal of implementing quality and efficiency across the supply chain.

What Is the Supply Chain?

Supply chain is an umbrella term describing the end-to-end connections between the production, shipment and distribution of products across the nation and around the world. It involves all business disciplines, including finance, operations, sales, manufacturing, distribution, supplier management and technology/IT.

The supply chain is comprised of five core functions:

  1. Plan/strategy
  2. Source of materials or services
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Delivery and logistics
  5. Returns system

Through the supply chain network, businesses are able to achieve large-scale growth through the advantages of selling in multiple markets. In addition, the efficiencies of a well-managed supply chain enable companies to minimize costs and delivery time to retailers and end users while maximizing profits.

So what is the business importance of the supply chain today? Companies with extended global supply chains have between 80% and 90% of their costs involved in their supply chains. However, only 22% of companies have a proactive supply chain network, so an infusion of trained talent is sorely needed in the industry.

What Do Supply Chain Managers Do?

Supply chain management (SCM) refers to the oversight and coordination of the entire upstream and downstream flows of business activity related to the supply chain, focusing on people, processes and systems. As a result, managers maximize efficiency and minimize the costs of an organization's supply chain. In addition, with expertise in the network structure, standards and technologies, they can collaborate interdepartmentally with other managers to execute the development and implementation of operational processes throughout the different facilities and fleets involved in the supply chain.  

Some of the responsibilities supply chain managers take on include identifying supply chain bottlenecks and problems, continually optimizing pricing per market and improving the allocation of resources to the various entities involved in the process. The program prepares graduates to make such contributions by becoming collaborative, connected, cognitively enabled and cyber-aware.

Managerial roles upon graduation may include logistics manager, supply chain analyst, operations manager, purchasing manager and quality control manager. Some of these roles deal with one particular function, while others are cross-functional. Many positions require a wide range of aptitudes and training in mathematics, logic, communication, organization and leadership, while others use a more concentrated set of skills.

What Is the Salary and Employment Outlook?

The global supply chain is becoming increasingly complex, as are the individual supply chains of hiring organizations selling products. Opportunities are nearly boundless for graduates of a supply chain program.

Salary.com reports that the average supply chain manager's salary as of June 2021 in the United States is $111,280, with a range of $97,800 to $128,529. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% job growth between 2019 and 2029 for the role, with a current $76,270 per year median pay for logisticians as of July 2021. Median salaries rise for management analysts rise to $87,660 (with 11% projected growth) and industrial production managers rise to $108,790 (with 1% projected growth).

If you are interested in a field with excellent career prospects that will challenge your mind and provide a wide range of exciting opportunities, the supply chain concentration may be ideal for your ambitions.

Learn more about the University of Maine at Presque Isle's online Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration – Supply Chain Management Concentration program.


Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Industrial Production Managers
Logisticians
Management Analysts

Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply: What Is a Supply Chain

Finances Online: 97 Supply Chain Statistics You Must Know: 2020/2021 Market Share Analysis & Data

International Business Machines: What Is Supply Chain Management?

Riverlogic: What Is Supply Chain Management and Why Is it Important?

Salary.com: Supply Chain Manager

SupplyChainGameChanger: What Exactly Is Supply Chain Management? 10 Different Definitions!


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