I went out and interviewed a number of academics, industry professionals and recruiters to gauge what jobs are hot in the industry. Here are the 5 jobs that are trending right now, and some of the certifications and skills that are important for these professionals.
- Demand Planner — The demand planner ensures that the business isn’t carrying too much (or too little) inventory. They do so by developing forecasting and inventory models to help support the rest of the supply chain teams. Because of the quantitative focus of this role, an academic background in mathematics and engineering is helpful. Many of these professionals have certifications from APICS or hold the title of Six Sigma Black Belt.
- Procurement Manager — These professionals help manage sourcing and purchasing activities to ensure that inventory is being purchased from trustworthy suppliers at affordable costs. Many individuals with backgrounds in supply chain operations, marketing, sales and a number of other disciplines are successful in these roles. There are a number of popular certifications, including the C.P.M. (now replaced by the CPSM) and the SPSM through Next Level Purchasing.
- Distribution Center (DC) Supervisor — While the warehouse and distribution center is often presented in a less-than-glorified manner, its efficiency is crucial to timely product delivery to the customer. The DC Supervisor ensures that the operation runs smoothly through managing both a team of workers and communicating with both inbound and outbound carriers. The most successful professionals in these roles are often the well-rounded individuals–those that are great leaders, but understand that sometimes it’s necessary to your hands dirty.
- Supply Chain Consultant — A popular destination for recent supply chain undergraduates and new MBAs are the big accounting firms such as Deloitte or Aon. Alternatively, individuals can work for the more supply chain-focused firms such as Capgemini or A.T. Kearney. Overall, these individuals are hard-workers that are okay with the long hours and tough assignments. The benefit–working with individuals that manage some of the top supply chains in the world. Oftentimes, these consultants go on to higher positions in other firms, start their own consulting operations or even move up into management-level positions within the supply chain itself.
- 3PL Business Manager — As more and more businesses look to outsource their logistics needs, the importance of third-party logistics operations will continue to increase. This rising importance creates an interesting opportunity for the intersection of sales, account management and logistics. The individual in charge of businesses development for 3PLs doesn’t necessarily need a Masters in Supply Chain Management, but a basic understanding of logistics is beneficial when working and communicating with customers.