Supply Manager

Supply Manager jobs

Demand can be an unpredictable beast, and taming it is the holy grail of any manufacturing operation. In most cases there will be a reliable background demand, relatively predictable seasonal demands, plannable increases following sales and marketing campaigns and finally the almost random element of events that take manufacturers by surprise. The reason this can all be a problem is that materials cannot be conjured up from nowhere to meet demand – they need to be sourced, and a shock to the manufacturer’s system will probably also be a shock to the supplier’s when the order comes in.

This is why supply needs to be given a good deal of attention and have a dedicated team ensuring its constant activity. The supply manager will oversee a team of purchasers and analysts who will be on a never-ending mission to reconcile current stock levels with forecasted demand. Under the manager’s instruction, they will be seeking out the best deals from suppliers and putting in orders in a timely manner to ensure delivery.

For the manager’s part, he or she will be in regular contact with the sales and marketing teams, the shop floor, senior management and the suppliers themselves to keep the factory supplied with the raw materials needed for their processes.

The skills required

The supply manager will first and foremost need people management and communication skills. They will be dealing with a diverse set of stakeholders from boardroom to factory floor, sales and marketing to suppliers. The information shared must be precise, accurate and timely if the manufacturing is to take place in an efficient and customer-friendly way.

Organisational skills are also vital in the supply manager. The tangle of demands from higher up the chain has to be reconciled with the capabilities of the suppliers, and much work will be done planning deliveries so that they arrive with the minimum of cost in terms of procurement and storage.

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