Getting products to the shelves of your local hardware store, supermarket or electronics superstore requires the efforts of thousands of people all over the world. Managing each component of this process involves both supply chain management and logistics management. While many people think of these two terms as the same, supply chain management and logistics management are indeed different parts of the constant, global flow of raw materials and finished goods.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in either of these fields, it’s important to know what distinguishes the difference between supply chain management and logistics management. When you know the differences and similarities, you’ll be better prepared to choose the path that best suits your individual skills and interests.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is an important aspect of manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing. It refers to designing, controlling and monitoring all the activities that bring a product to market, which include:
- Forecasting sales and purchasing raw materials
- Scheduling the purchase or manufacture of components, and the assembly of finished goods
- Overseeing deliveries
- Storing and warehousing products
- Distributing the products to wholesalers and retailers
The goal of supply chain management is to have the product readily available when the consumer is ready to purchase it, at a price they are willing to pay. Successful supply chain management also results in lower prices, as manufacturers and suppliers collaborate to continually improve their processes to deliver better products cheaper and faster.
With coursework such as global supply chain management and international logistics, managerial economics, and products and operations management, an MS in Supply Chain Management provides a solid base of knowledge necessary to compete for a variety of positions in the field, including:
- Supply Chain Technical Analyst
- Distribution Manager
- Director of Purchasing
- Global Supply Chain Planner
- Senior Supply Chain Management Analyst
With an MS in Supply Chain Management, you could have promising career opportunities across the country or around the world. Employers such as electronics firms, manufacturing companies, software distributors and shipping companies typically hire supply chain management professionals, and earning a master’s degree in supply chain management can help secure an advantage over the competition.
Logistics management is a part of the supply chain, with a more narrow scope. It often refers to activities involved from a product or material’s point of departure to its final point of arrival. In between are factors to be managed, such as transportation, packaging, routing, scheduling, preparing, distributing, delivering and warehousing.
The goal of logistics management is to optimize profitability, through strategic planning and implementation that meets consumer demand.
With an MS in Supply Chain Management, you could have a great start toward a career in logistics management. Coursework typically covers supply chain management, materiel acquisition management and managerial accounting, along with other relevant topics. Examples of typical positions include:
- Logistics Coordinator
- Warehouse Distribution Center Operations Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Transportation Analyst
- Logistics Management Analyst
- Transportation Manager
Companies that hire logistics management professionals operate in nearly every city across the United States and around the globe. An MS in Supply Chain Management can give you a competitive advantage and opportunities with technology firms, national clothing retailers, equipment and chemical manufacturers or shipping companies. You could also qualify for certain senior management positions.
Supply chain management and logistics management differ in many ways, but they are both exciting and dynamic professions. Each field offers plenty of variety, career opportunities and room for growth. Whether you prefer to work close to home or have your sights set on an overseas position, planning your education now can help you reach your goals in a much more efficient manner.