Supply Chain Courses

By Shailen Lakhani - Last update


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With the ever-changing nature of prices, promotions and products in today s world, the role of logistics and supply chain management is becoming increasingly more significant and there is a growing demand for qualified logistics and supply chain professionals. In response to this need, colleges are offering more and more courses catering for careers in this area to enable candidates to gain the specialised level of training and experience necessary for successful careers in this industry. Qualified professionals in supply chain management and logistics is crucial for maintaining a company s competitive advantage.

Supply chain management is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the operations of supply chain as efficiently as possible. It is the oversight of materials, information and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to retailer to consumer. Supply chain management involves coordinating and integrating these flows both within and among companies. The ultimate goal of an effective supply chain management system is to reduce inventory. Supply chain management can be divided into 3 main flows:

Product Flow
Information Flow
Finances Flow

The product flow deals with the movement of goods from supplier to customer; the information flow deals with transmitting orders and updating the status of delivery; and the finances flow deals with credit, payment schedules, and title ownership arrangements.

Put simply, supply chain management is about being right: getting the right product, in the right quantity, at the right quality, in the right place at the right time, for the right customer at the right cost. It also deals with many of the functions of business including forecasting, inventory management, purchasing management, warehouse management, information technology, and transport management.

Logistics is the art of managing the supply chain and is thus often regarded as a branch of engineering which deals with people systems rather than machine systems . The word logistics comes from the Greek word logos meaning ratio, word, calculation, reason, speech, oration and it encompasses all of these facets since logistics is the science of managing and controlling the flow of goods, information and other resources including people and energy between the point of origin and the point of consumption.

There is much overlapping of responsibilities in the various possible supply chain roles. Depending on size and function, some organisations may have a transport manager and not a logistics manager, or one warehouse manager overseeing the whole process. Larger manufacturing companies may well employ people in all these roles. The logistics (or distribution) manager has the responsibility for warehousing, stock control, order processing and packaging, planning and scheduling deliveries, and controlling the operation of the company s fleet of vehicles. A transport manager is responsible for organising the transport, scheduling deliveries (inward and outward), organising routes, managing drivers, and vehicle maintenance.

Logistics companies that are often hired by manufacturers to carry out supply chain functions, perform all of these roles. Purchasing is also an important aspect of the supply chain, without the right flow of raw materials inward, whether by over or under supply, a manufacturing company s production operation cannot run effectively. The purchaser must also ensure that the best materials are bought at the lowest possible prices, so as to maintain the organisation s profitability. Professionals in supply chain and logistics also work closely with other areas of the business including HR management, manufacturing, marketing, and finance.

Career opportunities in this sector span everything from operations and fleet management to health and safety, planning, and industrial design.

The aim of the growing number of courses in supply chain management is to develop the leaders of change and business improvement in manufacturing, process, transport, and logistics services as well has giving students a good grounding in theory and practice of supply chain management. Supply chain courses generally provide students with a firm understanding of logistics and supply chain management within the context of the overall business.


Shailen Lakhani

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