Supply chain disruptions can have significant impacts on businesses and consumers.
As such, it is vital for all businesses with a supply chain to hire experienced and educated professionals to ensure efficiency.
REGENT offers a Bachelor of Commerce in Supply Chain Management that will teach you all the skills to become a successful supply chain manager.
This article will discuss what a supply chain is, how poorly managed supply chains can affect businesses and consumers, and how you can become the supply chain manager that companies need.
What is a supply chain?
A supply chain is a group of individuals and organisations involved in procuring, creating, and delivering products or services to consumers.
An easy way to understand a supply chain is to visualise it as a chain filled with links. Each link represents a party involved in creating and delivering the final product.
For example, the first link is the producer of the raw materials needed to create the product, and the last link is the company that delivers the final product to the end user.
Companies must manage the supply chain to create the most efficient processes at the lowest possible costs. By doing so, they will not only be saving money, but they will also remain competitive in the market.
However, for supply chains to remain effective, companies must continuously implement the best practices. These include:
- Support continuous improvement.
- Encourage collaboration between individuals and businesses in the supply chain.
- Seek new technologies to improve processes.
- Have key performance indicators and metrics in place to measure the success or failure of each step in the supply chain.
- Aim for increased velocity.
- And more.
If they do not incorporate these best practices, they risk having a weak supply chain prone to problems.
How the supply chain affects consumers
Disruptions in the supply chain can have catastrophic effects on businesses and consumers. In recent years, mainly due to the pandemic, global supply chains have taken a hit, with several companies facing challenges.
It resulted in widespread delays and shortages among various consumer goods. There were also pandemic-related factory shutdowns, massive bottlenecks, and a lack of workers.
To evaluate how the pandemic truly impacted consumers, Morning Consult conducted a survey in September 2021. It asked a group of 2,200 U.S. adults which products they were having trouble buying and how they adapted their buying behaviour.
The survey found that many consumers were experiencing shortages and shipping delays in various categories. Instead of wanting to wait for their order, they decided not to purchase those items.
Housing, car, and grocery shortages were felt most severely by consumers. Thus, they ended up buying less.
While the global pandemic is over and companies have started to return to normal, this event shows how devastating disruptions in the supply chain can be. Here are some other effects that a poorly managed supply chain can have on consumers:
Price hikes and slow delivery can alienate buyers
Poorly managed supply chains can lead to slower delivery times and may result in a shortage — which causes price hikes.
If this happens, it can either decrease consumer demand, or they can decide to cancel their orders and purchase from competitors instead.
Customer experience and satisfaction rates plummet
Customers expect excellent service. This is especially true in our day and age of immediate gratification. Since the consumer is giving the company money to satisfy their needs, they expect the product to arrive on time and in one piece.
If a problem arises, they want the company to be transparent, explain why the problem occurred, and tell them how it will be fixed.
If not, customer satisfaction decreases drastically, and consumers become frustrated. This may lead them to post negative reviews and publish their frustrations on social media, damaging the company’s reputation.
Metrics companies need to track to ensure customer satisfaction
As mentioned earlier, supply chain managers need to keep note of metrics. Some key metrics they need to consider include things like:
- Inventory turnover
- Order fill rates
- Perfect order rates
- Backorder rates
- On-time shipping
- Inventory accuracy
- And more
However, to increase customer satisfaction and remain competitive, they need to take it further and look at customer metrics. This includes asking themselves questions like:
- How many new customers are coming in every day?
- Why are they leaving?
- What areas of their business receive the most complaints?
These metrics will allow the company to uncover powerful insights into business growth. They will know what needs to be improved and how they can best serve their customers.
How to become a supply chain manager
Supply chain managers manage teams and lead the supply chain strategy to increase efficiency and save costs. If you are interested in becoming a supply chain manager, you can follow these steps:
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree
If you want the best chances of succeeding in the supply chain industry, it is essential to have proper education. A BCom in Supply Chain Management will help you achieve success.
This course will teach you the vital knowledge you need of different supply chain models, tools, worker functions, and more.
2. Develop supply chain management skills
Your chances of being hired increase drastically if you have the skills to support your qualification. A great way to earn these skills is to apply for internships or entry-level positions during or after your studies.
3. Create a resume
As you prepare to apply for higher-paying positions, you must create a good resume. Your resume should include your qualifications and skills.
It is essential to include your transferable skills (which can be used in various positions) to show the employer how valuable you are.
You will likely get a job as a Supply Chain Analyst and will be able to work your way up to a Supply Chain Manager position.
Interested in a career as a supply chain manager?
Supply chain management is here to stay. While it can be a high-stress job, it is also highly lucrative and rewarding.
If you want to pursue this position and become part of a supply chain management team, look at our Bachelor of Commerce in Supply Chain Management course.
If you want to dip your toes into the industry first and are still deciding whether to commit to a three-year program, you can also look at the Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management.