Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is supply chain?
A: Definitions of a “supply chain” virtually universally encompass the following three functions: i. supply of materials to a manufacturer; ii. the manufacturing process; and, iii. the distribution of finished goods through a network of distributors and retailers to a final customer. Companies involved in various stages of this process are linked to each other through a supply chain.
Source: Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council
Q. Throughout my research I keep seeing “SCM”, what does this stand for?
A: SCM is the acronym or shortened version for Supply Chain Management.
Q. What is supply chain management?
A: Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.
Q. What is the importance of supply chain management for a company?
A: Supply chain management is an integrating function with primary responsibility for linking major business functions and business processes within and across companies into a cohesive and high-performing business model. It includes all of the logistics management activities noted above, as well as manufacturing operations, and it drives coordination of processes and activities with and across marketing, sales, product design, finance and information technology.
Q. How large is the supply chain management sector?
A: Very large, indeed.
- As of 2012, there were 820,000 Canadians employed in some aspect of supply chain occupations.
- From 2012 – 2017, it is anticipated that there will be an additional 65,979 new and vacant supply chain positions/year for the next five years equaling a total of 356,747 positions.
- From 2012 – 2017, it is expected that the number of supply chain employees will increase from a rate of 8.4% for tactical occupations, to 14.9% for managerial occupations
- As of 2010, there were 91,944 Albertans employed in some supply chain related occupation
- From 2011 – 2020 it is anticipated that there will be 50,000 job openings in just 10 key supply chain occupations (management positions; purchasing; customs, shipping and brokerage; information systems analysis; and long-haul truck drivers)
Reference: The Accelerator Project
Q. What types of skills are required in a career in supply chain management?
A. Supply chain has many positions, and skills vary from job to job. Some of the general attributes you will need are:
- Communication skills (written, verbal and interpersonal)
- Computer skills (from basic to advanced, depending on the position)
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Analytical skills (math)
- Commitment and motivation
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Time management
Q. Do I need a degree to work in supply chain?
A: A position in supply chain does not necessarily demand a degree, but having educational knowledge will certainly help you understand concepts, tasks and requirements more easily. You can choose from courses at your high school, certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degrees. There are several options in terms of length, flexibility, venue, etc. Check out our “Education” page for more information.
Q. How can I find a job in supply chain?
A: You can look online or go directly to companies that hire positions in supply chain. Our “Job Opportunities” page has a lot of good leads for you to start your quest for work.