As an area of specialization, supply chain management has attained the position of being one of the most prominent specializations. The reason for this prominence is that in current business scenario, the supply chains compete on behalf of their organizations. Organizations cannot operate or thrive if they do not possess an efficient supply chain management system. An efficient supply chain management makes an organization more effective in its activities and enables it to achieve competitive advantage over its competitors. Starting from the upstream and moving towards downstream, that means from procurement of the raw materials from the suppliers to making product or service available into the hands of final customer, supply chain management encompasses all these aspects and enables better coordination at all these stages. Today, the supply chains are driven by facilities, inventory, transportation, sourcing, pricing and information. The decisions regarding facilities, i.e. location, capacity and flexibility, have a huge impact on the performance of the supply chain. Inventory decisions, entails the inventory level to be maintained are crucial with respect to the organization as it can lead to over stocking or under stocking. In both the cases it will lead to revenue loss. Transportation decisions include the mode of transport to use, the route to undertake, etc. These decisions are dependent on the type of product, distance from the market or the customers. Sourcing relates to procurement of raw materials from the suppliers, outsourcing a particular function of production, etc. Sourcing is an important decision as the sourcing cost reflects in the price of the product. Pricing revolves around fixing the charges for a particular product or service. Pricing, in addition to the manufacturing cost, also covers the procurement costs, facility cost, inventory and warehousing cost, transportation costs, etc. Price of the product affects the purchasing behaviour of the customer. Information consists of all the data and analysis with respect to facilities, inventory, transportation, sourcing and pricing. It presents the management with a clear picture and sound understanding of the various activities being taken up the organization. Information is also considered as one of the biggest drivers of supply chain as it has an impact over the other five drivers of supply chain. An appropriate decision-making with respect to these six drivers makes a supply chain more efficient and responsive.
The above discussion has a purpose and that is to comprehend the vastness of the area of supply chain management. This vastness connects to the ample of responsibilities that a supply chain manager has to undertake. A manager not well versed with these concepts will find it difficult to manage the activities related to supply chain management. Therefore, as the businesses specialize and strive for competitive advantage, specialized managers (in our case supply chain managers) are required.
The big firms are hiring specialized workforce, so as to take benefit of their expertise. The multi-national firms are also exploiting as well as exploring all the opportunities for remaining competitive in the market. This competitiveness gives rise to the offers being made by the companies to those people that have acquired knowledge of certain specialized area. Here comes the requirement for the supply chain managers. With supply chains taking a lead role in deciding the success or failure of the firm, the demand for supply chain mangers has increased tremendously over past few years and is predicted to grow at a much faster rate in the future.
As a result, there has been an increase in supply chain management studies. The universities and colleges are coming up with specialized programmes on supply chain management. This field is expected to grow at a much faster rate and hence provides an excellent career opportunity for the young professionals and students to take up these programmes and skill themselves in the area of supply chain management. Now, as more and more, supply chain is being recognised as an integral part of an organization, there are more opportunities that are being created. Hence, these opportunities provide a promising future for the students of supply chain management.
Considering it as the need of the hour, students shall take up these specialized programmes in supply chain management and take a big leap ahead in their careers. So, a programme of Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) with specialization in Supply chain Management (SCM) is an outstanding option.
Dr. Mohd. Mehdi
Assistant Professor, Lloyd Business School