When you think about the country’s fastest-growing industries, fields like healthcare and information technology probably come to mind. However, while these sectors are certainly on the rise, there is a rapidly growing $1.3 trillion industry that you might have overlooked. It’s operations and supply chain management.
What is operations and supply chain management?
At a high level, professionals who work in operations and supply chain management are responsible for the process that uses labor and capital to convert raw materials into a product or service. Whether this involves building automobiles or managing the flow of pharmaceuticals, people in this field have multiple responsibilities. These professionals much predict demand for the product, create work schedules for employees, maintain inventory, transport and store materials, and constantly improve quality.
Because operations and supply chain management professionals work at all stages of the supply chain, this field—and logistics in general—employs many people across many specialties. For example, individuals in this field could focus on planning, operations, forecasting, fulfillment, customer service, or distribution. With so many responsibilities, it may come as no surprise that today, about 6 million Americans work in logistics, Fortune reports.
Why is this industry growing?
While operations and supply chain management is already a vast field, it is only expected to grow in the years to come. Citing a report from the MHI, Fortune states that by 2018, the logistics industry will need to fill about 1.4 million jobs. For this reason, a full 58 percent of supply chain professionals say that the biggest challenge they face is hiring and retaining a skilled workforce, a 2016 MHI survey shows.
So why is this industry growing so quickly? One of the biggest reasons is globalization. Today, it’s common for companies to manufacture their products in multiple countries. This practice can cut costs, but make the overall supply chain process more hectic. At the same time, there is a growing demand to produce and deliver goods faster, while keeping the quality high. This, in turn, requires more employees to keep everything working smoothly.
While the industry is growing, it’s struggling to find a suitable number of college graduates to fill its many positions. A 2015 report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that logistics/supply chain is one of the most in-demand college majors among employers. These employers seek both bachelor’s and master’s degree level graduates.
How can you land a job in operations and supply chain management?
The exact education and experience you need to land a job in operations and supply chain management varies drastically by position. However, today, one of the most sought-after credentials is a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in operations and supply chain management. With this degree, you’ll learn the essentials of operating in a global market, including quality control, management, waste elimination, and logistics. This can set new grads up for jobs as purchasing managers, consultants, or logistics managers. According to Payscale, these in-demand professionals earn up to $99,977 per year.