The disruption of supply chains can have significant consequences for both businesses and consumers. Therefore, it is crucial for all businesses with a supply chain to employ skilled and knowledgeable professionals to ensure optimal efficiency. This article will explore the concept of a supply chain, the negative impacts of poorly managed supply chains on businesses and consumers, and how aspiring professionals can pursue a career as a supply chain manager.

This article will explore the concept of a supply chain, the negative impacts of poorly managed supply chains on businesses and consumers, and how aspiring professionals can pursue a career as a supply chain manager.

What exactly is a supply chain?

A supply chain refers to a network of individuals and organizations involved in the acquisition, production, and delivery of products or services to consumers. An effective way to comprehend a supply chain is to visualize it as a chain composed of interconnected links. Each link represents a party responsible for a specific aspect of product creation and delivery. For instance, the initial link may represent the producer of raw materials, while the final link represents the company delivering the product to the consumer. Companies must actively manage their supply chains to establish efficient processes at minimal costs, enabling them to save money and remain competitive in the market.

However, for supply chains to remain effective, companies must continuously implement best practices. These practices include fostering continuous improvement, promoting collaboration among supply chain stakeholders, adopting new technologies to enhance processes, establishing key performance indicators and metrics to measure the success of each supply chain step, striving for increased velocity, and more. Failure to incorporate these best practices may result in a weak and vulnerable supply chain susceptible to problems.

The Impact of supply chains on Consumers

The impact of supply chains on consumers is profound. Disruptions in the supply chain, particularly evident during the recent global pandemic, have had catastrophic effects on both businesses and consumers. Delays and shortages of various consumer goods, as well as factory shutdowns and labor shortages, were widespread consequences of the pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions. A survey conducted by Morning Consult in September 2021 revealed that consumers faced difficulties in purchasing certain products due to shortages and shipping delays. Consequently, consumers either opted to wait for their orders or refrained from purchasing those items altogether, leading to reduced demand. These shortages significantly affected industries such as housing, automotive, and groceries, resulting in diminished consumer purchases.

Although the pandemic is subsiding and companies are returning to normal operations, this event demonstrated the devastating consequences of supply chain disruptions. Inadequately managed supply chains can also lead to price hikes and delayed deliveries, causing buyers to feel alienated. This may prompt them to either reduce their demand or switch to competitors. Furthermore, poor supply chain management can greatly impact customer experience and satisfaction. In an era where instant gratification is expected, customers anticipate timely and intact product deliveries. When problems arise, they expect transparency, clear explanations regarding the issue, and plans for resolution. Failure to meet these expectations can result in a significant decline in customer satisfaction, leading to negative reviews and public complaints on social media platforms, consequently tarnishing the company’s reputation.

Customer Satisfaction

To ensure customer satisfaction, companies need to track relevant metrics. Key supply chain metrics to consider include inventory turnover, order fill rates, perfect order rates, backorder rates, on-time shipping, and inventory accuracy, among others. However, to further enhance customer satisfaction and maintain competitiveness, companies should also focus on customer metrics. This entails monitoring factors such as daily customer acquisition, reasons for customer attrition, and areas of the business that receive the most complaints. Analysing these metrics provides valuable insights for business growth, enabling companies to identify areas for improvement and effectively serve their customers.

For individuals interested in pursuing a career as a supply chain manager, the following steps can be followed:

Earn a bachelor’s degree:

A proper education is essential for success in the supply chain industry. Pursuing a BCom in Supply Chain Management will significantly enhance your chances. This degree programme will provide you with comprehensive knowledge of various supply chain models, tools, and functions required for effective management.

Develop supply chain management skills:

Alongside your education, acquiring practical skills is crucial for securing employment in the field. Consider applying for internships or entry-level positions during or after your studies to gain hands-on experience and enhance your skill set. With our online flexible learning, you can work and study at the same time.

Create a compelling resume:

As you prepare to apply for higher-level positions, it’s essential to craft a well-crafted resume. Highlight your qualifications and skills, including any transferable skills that showcase your value to potential employers.

Typically, individuals entering the field may begin as Supply Chain Analysts and gradually progress to positions such as Supply Chain Manager through experience and expertise.

If you’re interested in pursuing a rewarding career as a supply chain manager and becoming part of a dynamic supply chain management team, REGENT’s Bachelor of Commerce in Supply Chain Management programme is an excellent option to consider. However, if you’re still undecided or want to explore the industry before committing to a three-year program, the Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is another valuable opportunity. 

Supply chain management is a crucial aspect of modern business operations, and while it may come with its share of challenges, it also offers lucrative and rewarding opportunities. By equipping yourself with the necessary education and skills, you can embark on a successful career path in supply chain management.