How Do I Become a Supply Chain Analyst?

D. Nelson

Supply chain describes all of the processes necessary to move a product from its beginnings in manufacturing to a point where it can enter retail stores. A professional who practices as a supply chain analyst often is responsible for monitoring the needs of specific clients, managing tangible assets, such as raw materials and inventory items, and projecting expenses, demand, and revenues. To become a supply chain analyst, it can be helpful to first get a degree in business, marketing, or finance and to earn supply chain management certification if it is available in your region. It can also be helpful to get plenty of experience working in inventory management.

An illustration of a supply chain.
An illustration of a supply chain.

To become a supply chain analyst, it can be helpful to get an educational background in business, finance, or marketing. While many professionals in this field only have undergraduate degrees, a master's degree in a similar concentration can better your chances of filling an analyst position in a competitive job market. Analysts often use software that allows them to record, monitor, and analyze business models and market behaviors. For this reason, some professionals in this field also have computer science backgrounds.

A supply chain analyst must have the ability to look at a company’s operations and spot processes that need to be changed.
A supply chain analyst must have the ability to look at a company’s operations and spot processes that need to be changed.

In some regions, certification is necessary for an individual who would like to become a supply chain analyst. Unlike fields such as law, health, or accounting, supply chain management certification is not required by law, though it may be required by a majority of employers. The Association for Operations Management offers Advancing Productivity, Innovation, and Competitive Success (APICS) certification for aspiring supply chain analysts that is recognized in many countries.

It often is necessary to get years of experience working in inventory management and perhaps even business planning to become a supply chain analyst. While an analyst may not be responsible for making executive decisions, he or she can greatly influence the decisions of managers and executives who expect his or her projections to be accurate. For this reason, most employers only hire analysts who have proven that they understand the workings of a specific industry and have the skills to help an organization cut cost, become more efficient, and generate greater profits.

Many undergraduate and graduate business programs offer students opportunities to work as interns for academic credit. This can be a good way to begin to learn the basics of supply chain management. Positions in contract management and project management are also beneficial for an individual who would like to become a supply chain analyst.

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