What Does A Supply Chain Manager Do?
Supply chain managers are professionals who are responsible for ensuring that the company has all the supplies and materials it needs to proceed with its manufacturing operations. They direct the activities of the company’s supply chain and coordinate with suppliers, service providers, vendors, sub-contractors and distributors to ensure that everything that the assembly line needs is available when it is needed. This is a very demanding task that necessitates a high-level of efficiency and organizational skills.
An important part of the work of supply chain managers is choosing the right supplier or vendor for a particular material. They need to ensure that they are given the most competitive prices so that they can, in turn, provide the best prices for their products. However, price is just one of the considerations. Supply chain managers must also scrutinize the terms of the offer presented to them to ensure that it meets the company’s requirements for quality, timeliness and equipment availability. This may also entail doing a site visit to make sure that the supplier meets industry standards, government regulations and environmental laws.
Supply chain managers negotiate the terms of any contract before proceeding to finalize an agreement with a supplier, vendor or distributor. In their meetings, they negotiate for better prices to contracts that the company enters in. They also see to it that the terms of the agreement accommodate any potential changes on the company’s needs that may happen in the future. They also see to it that the contract complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
Aside from outside suppliers, supply chain managers work together with colleagues from the company’s other departments to discuss issues related to the supply chain. For example, they meet with members of the marketing department to talk about projected demand. They also regularly touch base with the technical team to ensure that computer networks and communications systems used by the company to talk with suppliers and vendors are functioning as they should.
Reviewing and designing efficient supply chain processes are an integral part of the job of supply chain managers. For example, they may choose the shortest transportation routes for the shipment of their orders so that the firm can save on travel costs. They may also choose to store their stocks for a particular geographic location in a strategically located warehouse so that distribution is easier and more cost-effective. Improving the supply chain process also involves evaluating the performance of their suppliers and determining whether their services should be continued. If they find their current supplier lacking, supply chain managers are responsible for looking for a new one.
As the world realizes the importance of balancing the needs of the environment with the call of progress, it is part of the work of supply chain managers to scrutinize the environmental performance records of suppliers and service providers. Ethics and corporate responsibility dictate that they partner only with those that have been proven to observe environmentally-friendly practices. They also check the environmental impact of the company’s own supply chain practices as well as craft and implement reverse logistics programs that are earth-friendly. They make sure that these product take back programs reuse or recycle products or follow proper disposal procedures.