What Does a Supply Chain Manager Do? A Day in the Life

What does a supply chain manager do? What is it like to be a supply chain manager? We will show you some typical tasks that supply chain managers do regularly.

What is a Supply Chain Manager?
Supply chain management is a relatively new field with lots of opportunity for people who are willing to learn and work hard. However, many people ask questions about supply chain jobs like,

"What does a supply chain manager do?"

"Do I have to be very good at math to become successful in supply chain management?"

"Should I study supply chain management (or something else)?"

To answer these questions, it's better to show them what a typical supply chain manager does. So they can determine if this is something they would like to do for a living.

Supply Chain Manager

A Day in the Life of Supply Chain Manager

8:30: Check the e-mails from overseas suppliers
Overseas outsourcing is one of the most important cost saving methods and it's here to stay. Since suppliers can be located anywhere in the world, time difference can be the problem. We know for the fact that many supply chain managers choose to read and respond to the overseas supplier first thing in the morning.

9:00: Review and resolve daily delivery issues

Morning delivery planning can be a cake walk or the war zone. There is nothing special if a good internal coordination is in place. However, rush orders, order insertions, order cancellation can happen on a regular basis. So a supply chain manager may need to roll up their sleeves and help to negotiate with marketing team and customers so deliveries can be arranged smoothly.

10:00: Attend the cross-functional team meetings

Supply chain management is strategically important in modern business so a supply chain manager has to participate in various cross-functional team meetings. For example, a supply chain manger may attend Sales and Operations meeting to resolve demand/supply imbalance, participate in the New Product Development meeting or lead the team meetings for various performance improvement initiatives.

12:00: Have lunch while reading more e-mails

A supply chain manager has to collaborate extensively with all internal stakeholders and suppliers, customers and third party logistics providers. Then, the volume of emails can be huge. So a short lunch break or "read while you eat" is quite common.

13:00: Review and approve documents

Of course, a supply chain manager has to perform some clerical tasks like approval of documents, contracts and so on.

14:00: Have a meeting with key customers and suppliers

To foster closer relationship with key customers and suppliers, many supply chain managers will hold the regular meetings with these strategic partners.

15:00: Discuss with manufacturing/warehouse about next day delivery

Late afternoon is usually the deadline to make changes to tomorrow delivery. So supply chain manager may double-check with manufacturing department or third party warehouse to make sure that important orders will be delivered as planned.

16:00: Got a phone call from customers

You're trying to clear your desk, but, all of a sudden, the phone rings. You have an "Oh No" moment.

17:00: Attend a late afternoon meeting to solve urgent issues

You arrange the meeting ASAP to solve the urgent problems.

22:00: Have a sweet dream

Customer needs more cost reduction and faster delivery. You talk in your sleep "Better Cheaper Faster, Better Cheaper Faster, Better Cheaper Faster..."

Lesson Learned from Supply Chain Manager
As you can see, the extensive coordination with various parties is the key to the success of supply chain manager. In order to manage the supply chains effectively, a supply chain manager needs to squeeze the time out and pay attention to team building, on the job training and proper supply chain planning and analysis.

Related Article: How to Land Dream Supply Chain Jobs?