How to Turn Average Joe into Supply Chain Superstar

How can I become successful with supply chain jobs? What are some thesis/dissertation topics I should pursue? Where can I apply my knowledge and skills? These are most frequently asked questions which can be found on various social networks. The aim of this article is to provide some answers to these questions.

All the Road Leads to Employers
The simple answer is that you will become successful and be able to land first dream job if you have knowledge and skills that employers are searching for. The same logic applies to thesis/dissertation. You will increase the chance of starting successful career in supply chain management if you do research that will benefit to supply chain communities. Anyway, how to determine what kind of knowledge and skills employers are looking for?

Literature Review
There are various research paper discussing about supply chain job requirements. The most recent paper was done by Radovilsky and Hedge 2012 in the article named "Trends in Supply Chain Management Job Requirements: A Logitudial Study". They collected data from various job postings, recruiting websites and supply chain professional associates in the United States from 2004 to 2011. Then they matched job requirements against various topics taught in supply chain management programs.

Turn Average Joe into Supply Chain Superstar
Average Joe is the generic kind of student in supply chain management. In order to land the first job, Average Joe should pay more attention to knowledge and skills required by employers and pay less attention to obsolete job requirements. Let's take a look at this infographic below,


As you can see, employers are looking for someone who possesses building block knowledge in procurement, inventory management, lean & six sigma, transportation and IT. Supply chain planning, channel restructuring, new product development and production/capacity planning are less important.

Niche subjects such as green supply chain, supply chain risk management, location and supply chain design, process improvement, quality management, supply chain finance, reverse logistics and product lifecycle management are not in high demand.

Basic IT, time management and project management skills are also losing touch quickly.

The research also suggested that people who knows global supply chain issues and can handle contract and legal issues very well add extra value to their resume. Employers also search for new skills such as change management, negotiation, statistics and multiple languages.

Longer Career Path
For top management position, employers also look for someone with core building block knowledge in procurement, lean & six sigma, transportation and IT. One exception is supply chain planning is required at this level instead of basic inventory management knowledge. As you may notice, solid core knowledge will boost your career from entry level to top management! Then, plan your career wisely.