A supply chain manager typically participates in every step of the product life cycle and their daily routine is brimming with activity. They are responsible for integrating and optimizing a diversity of activities including directing or coordinating production, procurement, purchasing, warehousing and distribution.
They practically supervise everything from procurement to delivery of the final product to reduce costs, improve accuracy, ensure quality & safety compliance and facilitate an excellent customer experience. They carefully examine the existing procedures and look for opportunities to streamline activities & effectively meet the distribution needs & direct the movement, storage or processing of inventory. They also determine the appropriate equipment and staffing needs for loading, unloading, moving or storing materials to make sure that the right product quantity reaches the customer intact and in time.
This sounds like quite a lot and it actually is! Let’s take a closer look at a day in the life of a supply chain manager and understand their role in more depth:
The typical day of a supply chain manager begins with checking emails. They take note of the issues mentioned and follow up with a review-plan-resolve approach. They also have to ensure that the requested raw materials are not delayed and their storage & processing planning is finalised well before they reach the factory . For these activities to take place smoothly, supply chain managers practice robust & ongoing communication with the concerned stakeholders, at all times.
Daily meetings are a common phenomenon for supply chain managers. Meetings help them stay in the loop on ongoing projects, priorities, pipeline work and develop effective strategies for implementation. The latter may include managing the supply-demand imbalances of an FMCG company, internal initiatives for improving efficiency like introducing six sigma or managing a JIT for a manufacturing company, among a host of others.
They're responsible for managing multiple vendors and conducting extensive demand planning and analysis to ensure complete control over inventory. They also keep an eye on the equipment and staffing requirements for the current week and plan for the upcoming week as well.
Since supply chain managers have to collaborate with multiple stakeholders and cross-functional teams daily, they possess excellent relationship management skills. Once work & resources have been allocated, they advance to oversee route mapping to save on both cost and time.
The rest of their day is spent reviewing and approving documents like contract proposals/renewals, clients meetings strategic partners for doubt resolution or new developments, catching up with the warehouse manager to review ongoing projects and inventory management, managing KPIs & evaluating scorecards, and analyzing inventories to determine how to increase inventory turnover, reduce waste and optimize customer service, to name a few.
Being proactive and planning ahead is also a key characteristic of a supply chain manager. Additionally, they may also have last-minute meetings with clients for any emergencies and pressing priorities. Their day typically ends with planning for the next day in advance.
The role of a supply chain manager is challenging yet rewarding & enriching. If you want to run a successful business and witness sustainable growth, it will be quite difficult to do that without a good supply manager - the one who, much like the supply chain s/he is going to be responsible for, is agile yet resilient, is a team player and fosters excellent relationship management & communication skills.
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