The vast nature of the supply chain industry leaves room for plenty of jobs. Supply chain workers can incorporate everything from sourcing to distribution and everything in between. Management, strategy, planning, logistics, manufacturing, and quality control all fall under the supply chain umbrella.
But as with any large industry, the specific details of each role can get swallowed up in the shuffle. What do all the members of a supply chain team actually do? How do they stand out from one another? These kinds of questions often get pushed aside, but the answers do exist, and having clear definitions for what each leader contributes can help the whole system run more smoothly.
We’ve put together this list of various job titles and descriptions within the supply chain so that your team can rise above the confusion and have a clear idea of specific roles and how to meet their requirements.
Supply Chain Management
The supply chain management team oversees all the supply chain activities in order to maximize efficiency and increase customer value. Normal titles include Supply Chain Analyst, Supply Chain Strategist, VP of Supply Chain, and Chief Supply Chain Officer.
Supply Chain Analyst
A supply chain analyst constantly looks for ways to improve the supply chain system. His or her role includes…
- Gathering and analyzing data about the supply chain process including information on pricing, productivity, and resources.
- Ensuring that the whole cycle runs as effectively as possible.
- Communicating with other internal teams to minimize workflow problems.
- Negotiating with vendors for best prices.
Supply Chain Strategist
Supply chain strategists develop the strategy used in a company’s supply chain process. They do things like…
- Develop and implement supply chain strategy.
- Utilize data analysis and channel insights to improve strategy.
- Ensure strategy is getting the greatest return on investment by analyzing financial statements and working with the finance team.
- Enable processes that effectively manage operational activities, ensure the attainment of supply commitments, and achieve goals.
VP of Supply Chain
As one of the top executives of the supply chain team, the vice president of supply chain…
- Oversees the planning, sourcing, and logistics teams.
- Define both short-term and long-term goals for the supply chain teams.
- Handles communication with major suppliers by building and maintaining good relationships.
- Contribute to the leadership’s team overall forward growth and momentum.
Chief Supply Chain Officer
The position of chief supply chain officer has not existed for long. As a somewhat newer role, it is crucial to understand how this person fits into the team. The CSCO sits at the top of the entire management team and performs some of the following tasks:
- Provides leadership for the entire supply chain team and the company at large.
- Oversees strategic planning and direction.
- Works with other company leaders in various departments to determine how the organization can improve operations and consumer outcomes.
- Monitors the global supply chain and develops strategies for overcoming any obstacles that may come up.
Strategic Sourcing and Procurement
The sourcing and procurement team helps get all of the company’s purchasing activities. Roles include Supplier Quality Engineer, Technical Buyer, Director of Supplier Management, and VP of Procurement.
Supplier Quality Engineer
Supplier quality engineers make sure that all of the suppliers maintain superior quality standards set by the company. This position includes…
- Maintaining company quality standards by tracking, qualifying, and disqualifying suppliers.
- Building strong relationships with additional teams such as supplying, manufacturing, engineering, and quality assurance.
- Documenting, scoring, and reporting supplier performance to upper management.
- Identifying technical problems with suppliers and implementing solutions to those problems.
Technical buyers assess the products offered by potential or existing suppliers. Their tasks include…
- Screening and evaluating materials offered by potential or existing suppliers.
- Researching prices and products to get the best deals.
- Negotiate price-points with suppliers.
- Communicating product specs to other teams throughout the organization.
Director of Supplier Management
The director of supplier management oversees the whole sourcing and procurement team by performing tasks like…
- Establishing measurable objectives for the teams to meet.
- Managing complex negotiations with key suppliers.
- Developing and deploying policies and procedures that help the team perform at its best.
- Promoting team and individual growth through coordinating hiring decisions, internal training, and professional development opportunities.
VP of Procurement
The vice president of procurement handles the executive decisions related to sourcing and procurement. Their job may include…
- Supervising all work related to sourcing and procurement including leading efforts to improve efficiency, maintaining quality, and minimizing costs.
- Reducing risks by evaluating suppliers and work.
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with high-value vendors and partnerships.
- Leading strategy sessions for optimizing policies, procedures, and processes as they relate to sourcing and procurement.
The logistics team handles all the details when it comes to coordinating the complex operations associated with the supply chain. Job titles include International Logistics Manager, Director of Logistics, VP of Transportation, VP of Logistics, and VP of Distribution.
International Logistics Manager
The international logistics manager helps the organization sift through the complicated process of getting goods from the source to the destination. Their work requires a variety of duties including…
- Coordinating import activities with overseas vendors to ensure expectations and objectives are met.
- Identifying and eliminating obstacles that may negatively affect safe and secure delivery.
- Developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) to maximize efficiency.
- Ensuring that all processes and procedures align with local, state, and federal laws.
Director of Logistics
The director of logistics is responsible for getting goods where they need to go as efficiently as possible. Their duties include…
- Managing the logistics budget to keep costs down and maximize profitability.
- Identifying issues and inefficiencies within the entire logistics team.
- Supervising all staff members in the logistics department.
- Monitoring the organization’s inventory and addressing needs accordingly.
VP of Transportation
Goods need to get from one place to another, and that’s where the VP of transportation comes in. He or she supervises the transport of these goods and performs tasks such as…
- Overseeing all operations related to transportation including coordination, execution and delivery.
- Working with the procurement team to perform lifecycle cost analysis on equipment and develop strategies to minimize cost.
- Ensuring the best on-time performance and developing strategies to improve timely delivery.
- Building and maintaining relationships with contracted carriers.
VP of Logistics
This role is the executive leader of the logistics department with tasks that include…
- Ensuring that the processes of the supply chain meet company standards related to policy regulations, quality and timeliness.
- Setting and achieving sales and delivery goals.
- Developing strategies that reduce costs while improving efficiency.
- Building relationships with key stakeholders from various vendors, suppliers, clients and staff.
VP of Distribution
The VP of distribution leads the distribution team through strategy and general oversight. His or her duties include…
- Researching and developing key distribution strategies that keep costs down and improve performance.
- Being accountable to the purchasing and logistics results related to distribution.
- Partnering with other departments such as product management or sales to communicate needs and maximize whole team alignment.
- Driving operational improvements throughout the distribution channel.
The inventory planning team ensures that the right amount of items stay on hand by correctly evaluating the order needs. Their team includes Production Planning Managers, Senior Demand Planners, and VPs of Supply Management.
Production Planning Manager
Production planning managers oversee the production processes and their duties include things like…
- Developing production plans with clear budgets and timelines.
- Analyzing plant capacity and production specification to determine production requirements and capabilities.
- Developing production department workflows and schedules.
- Monitoring the status of production to ensure timely deliveries.
Senior Demand Planner
A senior demand planner helps the organization maintain the appropriate stock levels by predicting and anticipating needs. They often do things like…
- Evaluate the organization’s financial structure and storage capabilities.
- Track inventory across all locations.
- Analyze business functions and market trends to anticipate demand.
- Manage a steady flow of stock without purchasing too many materials.
VP of Supply Management
As the executive leader of the inventory planning department, the VP of supply management oversees all processes and the team. Their duties may include…
- Overseeing all hiring and developing decisions for the department.
- Aligning the inventory team goals to the long-term goals of the organization.
- Managing and reviewing all Inventory analytics related to inventory planning and forecasting.
- Identifying risks and opportunities to maximize results.
This team handles the actual creation of a product. Jobs in this department may include, Contract Manufacturing Manager, Production Manager, Plant Manager, and VP of Operations.
Contract Manufacturing Manager
Contract Manufacturing Managers oversee the partnerships, processes, and protocols for the organization’s contract manufacturers. This person is the primary point of contact for contract manufacturers and performs some of the following tasks:
- Researching, identifying, selecting, qualifying, and managing the relationships between the organization and its managing partners or strategic suppliers.
- Reviewing and negotiating contractual documents between manufacturers and the organization.
- Researching new saving opportunities, materials, and techniques that give the organization a competitive and financial edge.
- Tracking the performance of contract manufacturing partners.
The production manager’s job is to make sure that the manufacturing runs as efficiently as possible while still maintaining company standards. More specifically, the production manager will…
- Develop and organize production schedules.
- Evaluate project and resourcing needs.
- Establish reasonable timelines and budgets with clients and other departments.
- Meet all health and safety guidelines at all times.
Plant managers help ensure that all teams within the plant follow policies and procedures. Their more specific tasks include…
- Ensuring all day-to-day operations run as smoothly as possible to exceed customer expectations.
- Increasing production efficiency and quality while minimizing errors, costs, and labor.
- Addressing issues or grievances between employees.
- Collecting and analyzing data to identify excessive spending.
VP of Operations
The VP of Operations leads the manufacturing team and makes executive decisions for the department. Their duties include…
- Developing and leading the strategic direction of the entire department.
- Offering expertise and guidance on operations projects and decisions to the executive leadership team.
- Researching, identifying and implementing new processes and policies that streamline operations.
- Reviewing and approving all budgetary concerns including cost-control reports, estimates, and staffing requirements.
The quality control department ensures that all products meet the quality standards. Job titles in this department include Quality Assurance Manager, Director of Continuous Improvement, and Director of Operational Excellence.
Quality Assurance Manager
The quality assurance manager oversees the daily operations and staff of the quality control team. His or her duties include…
- Developing, implementing, and managing quality processes that enable the team to check quality specifications for every product prior to delivery.
- Identifying and establishing appropriate quality specifications for each product.
- Scheduling, coordinating, and overseeing all product testing.
- Reviewing customer, client, and end-user feedback.
Director of Continuous Improvement
The director of continuous improvement constantly looks for the best ways to maximize the organization’s processes and products. On a day-to-day basis, they do things like…
- Analyze the scope, resources, and prospects for the organization.
- Work with other department leaders and organizational partners to identify and achieve business objectives.
- Utilize research, feedback, and relationships to identify specific places where the company can perform better.
- Analyze the organization’s processes and make adjustments accordingly to maximize performance.
Director of Operational Excellence
The Director of Operational Excellence oversees all continuous improvement initiatives. His or her duties include...
- Partnering with other department leaders to help all teams improve and achieve business goals together.
- Identifying development opportunities that enable the organization to reach goals more effectively.
- Actively seek out opportunities to decrease wasted time, resources, and costs and increase efficiency, productivity, and profits.
- Leading the change management process for new systems, standards, and procedures.
As you can see, the supply chain industry has a multitude of teams and individual jobs. Having the ability to differentiate between each of them will help any organization get the right staff in place and improve their supply chain system.