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A Planner facilitates the timely planning of deliveries within a supply chain. They optimize inventory planning to meet service, cost and timeliness objectives.

The Planner oversees a variety of different employees and departments within the supply chain to ensure that the overall process runs smoothly. They may work in shipping, manufacturing, or supply chain management companies, or they may work on a consulting basis analyzing and coordinating a company’s supply chain. Because the positions are concentrated in manufacturing and government, two declining industries, job growth is expected to see some decline according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Planner Duties and Responsibilities

In order to successfully plan shipments, a Planner performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Planners in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.

Manage Inventory

The Planner maintains company inventory, minimizing both overstock and out of stock occurrences. In order to do this, they analyze the supply and demand of their company's product and forecast. They also monitor inventory supply and design and implement tools for inventory management.

Monitor Orders

Planners monitor all inventory orders, using the documented data on orders to analyze supply and demand and make inventory projections. They also take note of order errors and problems in order to develop resolutions.

Assist with Customer Service

The Planner looks into customer issues and order problems in order to develop solutions for them. They respond to customer feedback and complaints by developing new systems and methods that prevent these occurrences. They work with customer service in order to notify customers of backorders and other issues.

Identify Inefficiencies

In order to develop a more effective supply chain, the Planner helps identify inefficiencies in the filling and shipping of company orders. This often involves inefficiencies in inventory management, as that is their key area of focus.

Planner Skills

Planners are highly organized and detail-oriented individuals who know how to manage overlapping projects, keep track of deadlines, and efficiently use their time. They are strong analytical thinkers with problem-solving skills and mathematical abilities, but they are also great communicators who are persuasive and good at presenting information.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Planners with these core skills. If you want to work as a Planner, focus on the following. Go getter enthusiastic ambitious
  • Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Supply Chain, or related field
  • Showing proficiency in MS Office
  • Demonstrating knowledge of supply chain management
  • Possessing excellent arithmetical abilities
  • Having experience with data analysis
  • Being proficient in planning software

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Planner toolbox and broaden your career options.
  • Experience using SAP
  • Project management experience
  • Industry-specific experience
  • MBA degree

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Planner Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Planner. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

Supply Chain Nation

A large blog from a supply chain company

Supply Chain Management Review

A leading supply chain management blog


A blog on the sourcing and manufacturing process

Industry Groups

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

A leading professional organization for supply chain professionals


The biggest association for operations and supply chain professionals

Institute for Supply Management

An institute for supply management professionals

Planner Books

Lean Supply Chain and Logistics Management

A book on streamlining sourcing and supply chains

Essentials of Supply Chain Management

A comprehensive supply chain management resource

Operations and Supply Chain Management

A highrated textbook on operations and supply chain

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