What is a Supply Chain Analyst?

In order for supplies to reach their final destination, various individuals, routes, spaces and times must align in precise order, creating a supply chain. This process is not always smooth, and is often plagued by delays, miscommunication and other errors, which the Supply Chain Analyst is hired to iron out. This professional analyzes current processes and suggests improvements in order for supply to meet demand. These individuals may be hired in any industry, the most common being government, technology, food and manufacturing.

Supply Chain Analysts must be able to deal with stress and have the ability to efficiently multi-task, as their working day is often faced-paced. Most people in this field work in an office environment during regular business hours. Supply Chain Analysts often work in unison with the Supply Chain Manager and Planner and Purchasing Manager, reporting to the Senior Supply Chain Manager of Director of Supply Chain Management. The need to transport goods across a global market will maintain a need for this position, although the job growth will be slower than for other industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 2 percent growth for Logisticians, a category that includes Supply Chain Analysts, with 2,060 new jobs created per year in the next seven years. The slow growth is due to the fact that many individuals manage supply chains in the manufacturing and government sector, which are expected to decline.

 

Supply Chain Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Supply Chain Analysts are responsible for analyzing the life cycle of how goods are moved from the planning stages to the end consumer. This includes designing and making the product (possibly in various locations), distributing it and delivering it to the final parties. In this role, the person responsible performs the following duties:

Analyzing Data

In order to understand where the errors in the supply chain are occurring, and what factors may be causing them, a Supply Chain Analyst must analyze a vast amount of data, such as production schedules and production reconciliation reports. This can involve reviewing under performing areas in the chain which may be due to missed delivery times and routes, warehouse space constrictions, weather patterns, stocking program limitations, etc. Many professionals use technological tools, such as relational database management systems, to analyze information in a faster and more efficient manner.

Suggesting Improvements

After having an in-depth understanding of the supply chain and business problems that are causing concern, the Supply Chain Analyst must suggest improvements to cut costs and improve the entire process. During a monthly Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) planning process, this individual will meet with company executives to make recommendations based on careful research and predictions.

Interacting with Others

The Supply Chain Analyst must collaborate with many colleagues from various departments – operations, sales, design, production, marketing, customer service and project management teams. In addition, these individuals must be able to communicate with vendors in order to address problems, negotiate better deals and form relationships. Finally, these employees address consumer inquiries, analyze customer needs and boost sales.

 

Supply Chain Analyst Skills

A successful Supply Chain Analyst must have a variety of skills, such as analytical, mathematical, logical and interpersonal. They must be able to review and analyze detailed data and make intelligent recommendations to improve business operations.

Core skills: While Supply Chain Analysts employers value different skills, we did find similarities in the core skills required for this position, which are:

  • Supply chain management experience
  • Inventory management
  • Mathematical skills
  • Experience analyzing business improvement
  • IT development
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Data analysis
  • Forecasting

Advanced skills: With time, experienced Supply Chain Analysts add these advanced skills to their proverbial toolbox:

  • Consumer product experience
  • Project management

Tools of the Trade: Most Supply Chain Analysts utilize various tools to do their jobs, such as:

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) analysis tools
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Analytical models
  • Mathematical analysis

 

Supply Chain Analyst Salary

Logisticians, employees that include Supply Chain Analysts, make an average annual salary of $74,300. Those who recently entered the field, or have worked for just a few years, make an entry-level salary of $45,800; however, professionals with many years on the job can make up to $116,000. Salary is often determined by location – three states have been found to offer candidates the highest average salaries – the District of Columbia, Delaware and Alabama, which offer $110,200, $88,200 and $84,800 respectfully.

 

Supply Chain Analyst Resources

Below, we have included helpful websites, associations, books and LinkedIn groups for professionals looking to enter the supply chain industry.

On the Web

IGD Supply Chain Analysis – The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) provides practical help in developing and implementing solutions to the issues that affect the supply chain.

The Premier Association for Supply Chain Management – A non-profit educational society for resource management, offering related educational programs.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – Holds conferences, provides education and certifications for professionals in the supply chain management field.

Healthcare Supply Chain Association – A broad-based trade association that represents 14 group purchasing organizations.

Books

Logistics and Supply Chain Management by Martin Christopher – A clear-headed guide to all the key topics in an integrated approach to supply chains.

Supply Chain Metrics that Matter by Lora M. Cecere – In this book, the author evaluates the progress of over a hundred companies over the period of 2006-2013.

On LinkedIn

Logistics and Supply Chain Professionals – A community for professionals in logistics, warehousing, freight, fulfillment, and supply chain management.

Supply Chain Management Group (SCM) – A group whose goal is to create of community of people with strong Supply Chain Management Profile (SCM).

 

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