MBA Career in Supply Chain

Supply Chain and Operations combines the disciplines of operations, logistics, strategy and MIS.  Rather than focusing on any single facet of delivering a product or service to the customer, SC&O covers the entire process, from “the suppliers of your suppliers to the customers of your customers.”  A SC&O position may include any or all of the following, depending on the size and complexity of the organization:

  • Choosing and developing suppliers.
  • Designing and implementing systems and processes for improving the customer interface, reducing transaction costs, reducing inventories, and improving service levels.
  • Sourcing  materials, components, technologies, and services.
  • Monitoring and managing inventory at all steps of the supply chain.
  • Managing logistics, warehouses, distribution inventories, and service parts.
  • Managing internal operations or service functions.
  • Managing quality and six sigma projects throughout the supply chain.
  • Strategically analyzing the supply chain to increase revenues, improve service, reduce cost, and ultimately improve profit.

Skills and Backgrounds Desired: Supply Chain Management

Candidates should be critical thinkers who can analyze, manage, and improve business processes using strategic thinking and analytical skills.  The ability to understand international management issues is also important because Supply Chain Operations often cross national boundaries in addition to functional ones.  Most employers seek students that have strong financial analysis skills, leadership skills, information systems knowledge and the ability to work in teams.  Strong oral and written communication skills are also desirable.

The cross-disciplinary nature of Supply Chain and Operations suggests supporting coursework from a large number of academic areas.

  • Operations Management for understanding manufacturing, service processes, inventory management, quality management, and supply chain technology management, along with associated process improvement techniques.
  • Logistics for the management of delivery and fulfillment systems.
  • Marketing for the ability to understand market behavior and distribution requirements.
  • Strategy for better understanding how supply chains compete, discerning effective alliances, and helping prioritize SCM opportunities.
  • MIS for an understanding of systems design and implementation.

The skills listed above are contained in the highly recommended courses listed below.  In addition students should select electives from the suggested list of courses or other courses that complement their particular interests and experience.

In addition to the highly recommended courses, one possibility is to select one functional area such as marketing, operations, information systems, finance or strategy and organization for additional course work.  This would build the strength of the student’s portfolio in one additional area to complement the supply chain and operations courses already taken.

Another possibility is to select courses from several of the areas suggested in order to build a broader base of expertise across the board.  In this case the student would pick and choose courses from the suggested list to complement his or her experience and build more skills in several functional areas.

Resume Key Word and Phrases:  Manufacturing and Operations Management

Enelow, S., (2003), Best Keywords For Resumes, Cover Letters, And Interviews, Impact Publications, Manassas Park, VA

Asset Management: Directed asset management functions for 20 manufacturing facilities, two distribution centers, and 68 sales offices nationwide, with total asset value exceeding $2.1 billion.

Automated Manufacturing: Transitioned Playtex from a labor-intensive production operation into a state-of-the-art automated manufacturing facility.

Capacity Planning: Facilitated capacity planning to consolidate Cana­dian, Mexican, and U.S. operations into one centralized production operation.

Capital Budget: Controlled a $280 million capital budget allocated for technology acquisition.

Capital Project: Brought Johnsons most significant capital project in the past 10 years from concept through planning, staffing, and budgeting to full-scale operations and on-time completion.

Cell Manufacturing: Transitioned from traditional line production to cell manufacturing, delivering a 22% improvement in product quality and 35% gain in daily production yields.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM): Spearheaded implementation of CIM, CAD, JIT, and SPC systems/technologies to accelerate production output and strengthen quality performance.

Concurrent Engineering: Introduced concurrent engineering processes that significantly enhanced transition from R&D to prototype manufac­ture to full-scale production.

Continuous Improvement: Implemented continuous improvement processes and achieved a 24% gain in product quality ratings.

Cost Avoidance: Created environment that rewarded individual employees for contributions to long-term cost avoidance and profit growth.

Cost Reductions: Captured over $2 million in material cost reductions through expanded vendor sourcing.

Cross-Functional Teams: Championed development of cross-functional teams to address critical productivity, efficiency, and quality issues negatively impacting production yields and customer satisfaction.

Cycle Time Reduction: Created formal production schedules, retrained supervisory staff, and impacted a measurable program of cycle time reduction.

Distribution Management: Architected the corporation’s first na­tionwide distribution management and warehouse control program.

Efficiency Improvement: Guided efficiency improvement initiatives throughout all core production planning, production scheduling, and manufacturing operations.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS): Forged strategic partnership with Human Resources to create a performance-driven EHS program for all 10 IBM manufacturing facilities in the Northeast.

Equipment Management: Designed equipment management protocols to divest obsolete technology and redeploy advanced equipment resources to high-growth product lines.

Ergonomically Efficient: Redesigned manufacturing plant and created ergonomically efficient workstations, reducing extended employee absences and saving over $250,000 in annual workers’ compensation costs.

Facilities Consolidation: Advised Manufacturing Manager in design and implementation of a nationwide facilities consolidation program.

Inventory Control: Implemented inventory control models and processes which reduced on-hand inventory assets by more than $3 million.

Inventory Planning: Launched a large-scale inventory planning function in cooperation with Emerson, 3M, and AlliedSignal to control Joyner’s annual inventory expenses.

Just-In-Time (JIT): Modified Raytheon’s JIT processes for implementa­tion throughout all Motorola divisions, affiliates, and subsidiaries.

Labor Efficiency: Improved labor efficiency ratings by 12% through in-house training and staff development efforts.

Labor Relations: Managed sensitive labor relations initiatives during six-month union contract negotiations.

Logistics Management: Created an integrated logistics management program assimilating all purchasing, inventory, distribution, and warehousing functions.

Manufacturing Engineering: Recruited to build and direct the corporations Manufacturing Engineering Division in an aggressive effort to upgrade production facilities, processes, and technologies.

 

Manufacturing Integration: Coordinated manufacturing integration of five acquisitions into core production operations.

 

Manufacturing Technology: Acquired over $5 million in manufactur­ing technology and robotics to fully automate the entire production operation.

 

Master Schedule: Designed master schedule for annual and five-year manufacturing plans.

 

Materials Planning: Revised materials planning programs to incor­porate six new product lines into all production and distribution sites nationwide.

 

Materials Replenishment System (MRP): Introduced MRP II system to support start-up of ISO 9000 certification process.

 

Multi-Site Operations: Challenged to revitalize multi-site operations, reduce labor and material costs, upgrade quality performance, and strengthen customer loyalty.

 

Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S): Designed Layton’s first OH&S program, achieving compliance with both state and federal regulations governing hazardous materials handling and transportation.

 

On-Time Delivery: Improved on-time delivery from 56% to 98% within first year.

 

Operating Budget: Challenged to reduce $8.7 million annual operating budget through facilities, staff, and technology consolidation.

 

Operations Management: Senior Operations Management Executive with full P&L responsibility for six manufacturing plants and a staff of more than 2,000.

 

Operations Reengineering: Orchestrated an aggressive operations reengineering initiative and delivered a 22% improvement in production output, 10% reduction in material costs, and 34% improvement in key account retention.

 

Operations Start-Up: Recruited by CEO to plan and orchestrate operations start-up of clean room manufacturing facility.

 

Optimization: Worked to identify and implement methods to enhance optimization of production yields and finished product.

 

Order Fulfillment: Managed a 52-person order fulfillment operation supplying major customers in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia

Order Processing: Reengineered and upgraded order processing systems, achieving 99% same-day delivery.

 

Outsourcing: Pioneered Lytec’s first-ever assembly outsourcing operation and captured 12% reduction in labor costs over first six months.

 

Participative Management: Forged implementation of participative management strategies in cooperation with management teams, union officials, and hourly union personnel.

 

Performance Improvement: Guided a series of performance improve­ment programs that transitioned LTR from #4 to #1 in the industry.

 

Physical Inventory: Eliminated the need for annual physical inventory inspections through introduction of JIT systems/processes.

 

Pilot Manufacturing: Introduced new electronic technology into pilot manufacturing plant prior to full-scale production.

 

Plant Operations: Challenged to revitalize plant operations, eliminate redundancy, automate repetitive functions, and improve bottom-line profitability

Process Automation: Led an aggressive process automation program that computerized 115 manual processes and virtually eliminated all documentation requirements.

Process Redesign/Reengineering: Spearheaded an aggressive process redesign/reengineering program that increased manufacturing yields by 22%, reduced staffing requirements by 35%, and contributed to a 44% improvement in YTD profits.

Procurement: Revitalized procurement operations, introduced international sourcing to supplement domestic vendor programs, and controlled $245 million in annual purchasing contracts.

Product Development & Engineering: Assembled cross-functional project team challenged to re-invent Myer-Rand’s complete product development and engineering organization.

Product Rationalization: Initiated a large-scale product rationalization process to identify top performers and eliminate non-producers.

Production Forecasting: Designed a PC-based model to accelerate production forecasting and planning processes.

Production Lead Time: Slashed production lead times by more than 60% following implementation of computerized planning and scheduling technologies.

Production Management: Recruited to revitalize production man­agement competencies in a down trending market and industry.

Production Plans/Schedules: Established bi-annual production plans and schedules in cooperation with plant managers and production supervisors nationwide.

Production Output: Recruited the industry’s most notable trouble-shooter, provided technical and labor resources, and supported his efforts in enhancing production output, product quality, and cost savings.

 

Productivity Improvement Credited with a 34% gain in productivity improvement and product reliability.

 

Profit & Loss (P&L) Management: Senior Manufacturing Executive with full P&L management responsibility for the strategic planning, staffing, assets, and field operations of Raydoc’s entire manufacturing organization.

Project Budget: Allocated $2 million project budget to renovate warehousing and distribution facilities throughout Ohio.

 

Purchasing, Management: Redesigned purchasing management and contracting processes for a net $2 million annual cost savings.

 

Quality Assurance/Quality Control: Devised and implemented an integrated quality assurance/quality control process that improved finished product quality ratings by more than 30%.

Quality Circles: Led six quality circles challenged to eliminate obstacles to quality control and improve overall performance of operations, products, and components.

Regulatory Compliance: Achieved/surpassed all regulatory compliance standards as per OSHA, FDA, DOT, and other state and federal agencies.

Safety Management: Architected the corporation’s first-ever safety management program and delivered a 24% reduction in lost time accidents over first two years.

Safety Training: Developed curriculum, trained instructors, and supervised a plant-wide safety training program.

Shipping & Receiving Operation: Restructured business processes to create a performance-driven, customer-driven shipping and receiving operation.

Spares & Repairs Management: Established in-house spares and repairs management function to reduce reliance on, and costs associated with, third party vendors.

Statistical Process Control (SPC): Implemented SPC into all core design, engineering, and manufacturing operations.

Technology Integration: Spearheaded $2.8 million technology integration project into Gryner’s German and French manufacturing operations.

Time and Motion Studies: Conducted a series of time and motion studies that identified and virtually eliminated all production inefficiencies.

Total Quality Management (TOM): Credited with the design and implementation of a fully integrated TOM program that positioned TerraLand as # 1 in timbering operations.

Traffic Management: Created a global traffic management function to coordinate product distribution throughout Europe, Asia, and emerging African nations.

 

Turnaround Management: Challenged to plan and orchestrate an aggressive turnaround management initiative to transition Xylog from loss to sustained profitability despite intense market competition.

 

Union Negotiations: Participated in strategy planning and consensus building for favorable union negotiations.

 

Value-Added Processes: Implemented value-added processes to support Fresters global acquisition and operations integration programs.

 

Vendor Management: Structured a sophisticated vendor management program with measurable quality, productivity, and efficiency objectives.

 

Warehousing Operations: Redesigned warehousing operations, reduced staffing requirements 12%, and improved net profitability 28%.

 

Work in Progress (WIP): Reduced WIP by 30% through introduction of cellular manufacturing and robotics technology.

 

Workflow Optimization: Engineered workflow optimization processes for a 34% improvement in daily production output.

 

Workforce Management: Credited with the creative design and integra­tion of innovative workforce management, motivation, and incentive programs.

 

World Class Manufacturing (WCM): Transitioned HGM Computers from a small technology venture into a world class manufacturing operation recognized as one of Fortune’s 100 fastest growing enterprises.

 

Yield Improvement: Introduced improved production processes and delivered 22% gain in yield improvement.

 

Resume Key Word and Phrases:  Purchasing and Logistics

 

Acquisition Management: Staffed and directed an acquisition management function responsible for over $2 billion in annual expenditures.

 

Barter Trade: Pioneered the development of an international barter trade program with Asian and European business partners to reduce domestic tax liabilities.

Bid Review: Managed a complex RFP and bid review process for the award of a $100 million health care research grant.

Buy vs. Lease Analysis: Developed PC-based models to enhance buy vs. lease analysis competencies.

 

Capital Equipment Acquisition: Directed over $50 million in capital equipment acquisitions during first year of $2 billion economic development program.

Commodities Purchasing: Managed a 12-person commodities purchasing business group responsible for electronics components acquisition in Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

Competitive Bidding: Administered the entire competitive bidding and contract award process for the $2 billion renovation of the New York Harbor Tunnel.

Contract Administration: Directed contract administration, negotiation, and rebid functions for over $200 million in annual subcontracts.

 

Contract Change Order: Issued contract change orders to reflect design and engineering modifications.

Contract Negotiations: Led cross-functional teams responsible for all corporate contract negotiations for real estate acquisition and site development.

Contract Terms and Conditions: Standardized routine contract terms and conditions for all consumer lending relationships.

Cradle-to-Grave Procurement: Managed worldwide cradle-to-grave procurement contracts for the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

 

Distribution Management: Created a multi-channel distribution management program in cooperation with VARs, resellers, systems integrators, and major consulting firms.

Economic Ordering Quantity Methodology: Introduced economic ordering quantity methodology, EVA principles, and other sophisticated financial tools for purchasing, warehousing, inventory, and distribution.

Fixed Price Contracts: Administered fixed price contracts with the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, IBM, Xerox, and Raytheon totaling over $40 million annually for the delivery of advanced navigational devices.

Indefinite Price/Indefinite Quantity: Managed indefinite price/inde­finite quantity contracts for technology, communications, electronics, and underwater surveillance systems.

International Sourcing: Introduced international sourcing and partnered with Asian manufacturers to market the first-ever RBR devices in the U.S.

International Trade: Expanded international trade into emerging Afri­can markets to capitalize upon acquisition and divestiture opportunities in various mineral commodities.

Inventory Planning/Control: Re-invented Fram’s inventory planning and control function, introduced JIT principles, streamlined documenta­tion requirements, and cut inventory costs by 20% annually.

Just-in-Time (JIT) Purchasing: Successfully implemented JIT purchase into 200 IBM manufacturing sites worldwide, resulting in a better than 5% reduction in annual purchasing and inventory holding costs.

Logistics Management: Created a fully integrated logistics manage­ment function consolidating purchasing, inventory, warehousing and distribution.

 

Materials Management: Established a formal materials management function to gain control of parts, inventory, spares, and WIP throughout 100,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant.

Materials Replenishment Ordering (MRO) Purchasing: Introduced a series of productivity improvement programs including MRO purchasing, quality councils, and an aggressive cost reduction initiative.

Multi-Site Operations: Planned, staffed, budgeted, and directed all purchasing and contract functions for multi-site operations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.

Negotiation: Demonstrated powerful negotiation skills in challenging situations.

Offshore Purchasing: Reduced annual costs by $22 million through introduction of offshore purchasing and vendor partnerships.

 

Outsourced: Pioneered Kelly’s successful transition from in-house to outsourced telecommunications and telemarketing services.

Price Negotiations: Managed sensitive price negotiations during $2 billion acquisition of American Savings Bank by Maryland National Bank.

Procurement: Appointed Project Officer responsible for worldwide procurement of military armament and explosives.

Proposal Review: Led team responsible for proposal review, cost analysis, and evaluation for acquisition of $275 million avionics system.

Purchasing: Recruited to this emerging Internet venture to guide the development of a corporate purchasing, materials management, warehousing, and data delivery function.

Regulatory Compliance: Directed regulatory compliance functions encompassing FAR, DFAR, and state regulatory requirements.

Request for Proposal (RFP): Issued 200+ RFPs in support of Syntex’s $300 million nuclear plant expansion and retrofit.

 

Request for Quotation (RFQ): Reviewed all RFQ submissions for $20 million health care services contract.

 

Sourcing: Expanded materials sourcing programs to include minority vendors in certified business districts.

 

Specifications Compliance: Reviewed contractor progress reports to ensure specifications compliance and accurate documentation.

 

Subcontractor Negotiations: Authorized general contractor to manage and administer all subcontractor negotiations.

 

Supplier Management: Created an integrated supplier management model based on partnership strategies and common visions.

 

Supplier Quality: Introduced a comprehensive supplier quality review and assessment process to strengthen quality of final consumer products.

 

Vendor Partnerships: Spearheaded profitable vendor partnerships to exploit common customer relationships and facilitate market expansion.

 

Vendor Quality Certification: Established a multi-year vendor quality certification program that contributed to a 22% increase in customer satisfaction/retention.

 

Warehousing: Managed a 22-site warehousing and product distribution organization to record performance, efficiency, and profit levels.

Resume Key Word and Phrases:  Transportation, Warehousing, and Distribution

 

Agency Operations: Transitioned from company-owned to agency operations at all major ports throughout North America, reducing net-operating expenses by more than $15 million annually.

Asset Management: Directed asset management and allocation of more than $60 million in equipment.

Cargo Handling: Designed improved cargo handling procedures, reducing workers’ compensation costs by 22% annually.

Carrier Management: Outsourced all transportation functions and designed operations for new carrier management program.

Common Carrier: Contracted with common carrier for the movement of freight from manufacturing to warehousing centers nationwide.

Container Transportation: Designed container transportation programs to optimize space utilization and provide small shippers with economical rates for international freight forwarding.

Contract Transportation Services: Replaced in-house freight management system with contract transportation services, significantly increas­ing customer satisfaction and retention while reducing costs approxi­mately 10%.

Customer Delivery Operations: Revitalized customer delivery operations with a focus on staff training in customer service and communica­tion skills.

Dedicated Logistics Operations: Recruited to Ryder’s dedicated logistics operations to integrate traffic, dispatch, warehousing, shipping, and customer management operations.

Dispatch Operations: Consolidated dispatch operations for four cen­ters into one facility, reduced staff 64%, and improved on-time delivers to a consistent 99%.

Distribution Management: Planned and directed distribution management across multiple channels throughout North America and Western Europe.

Driver Leasing: Introduced driver leasing, driver training, and equip­ment rental programs to expand market research and meet changing customer demands.

Equipment Control: Implemented equipment control processes and reduced damage costs by more than $2 million annually.

 

Export Operations: Senior Logistics Executive with full P&L, operating, staffing, and budgeting responsibility for all export operations to the Far East.

Facilities Management: Revitalized facilities management programs. reduced costs, improved staff competencies, and enhanced reliability of building management systems.

Fleet Management: Directed fleet management and fleet service for 2,000 company-owned vehicles.

 

Freight Consolidation: Established new freight consolidation center at the Port of Baltimore.

 

Freight Forwarding: Managed a 200-person freight forwarding oper­ation managing freight movement for W .R. Grace, AlliedSignal, and Sears.

Import Operations: Assessed the profitability of existing import opera­tions, eliminated non-profitable business lines, and transitioned organi­zation from loss to sustained profitability.

Inbound Transportation: Built an $8 million facility to manage inbound transportation and freight forwarding.

Intermodal Transportation Network: Established an intermodal transportation network integrating rail, sea, air, and truck to service customers worldwide.

Line Management: Directed line management throughout the Far Eastern Maritime Service.

 

Load Analysis: Computerized load analysis and planning functions for all shipping operations.

Logistics Management: Senior Operating Executive with full P&L responsibility for a dedicated and fully integrated logistics management organization with 22 sites nationwide.

Maritime Operations: Launched a start-up venture servicing maritime operations worldwide with on-site stevedoring at ports in 62 countries.

Outbound Transportation: Assembled all commodities into a central­ized outbound transportation center to reduce domestic and interna­tional freight forwarding and traffic costs.

Over-The-Road Transportation: Transitioned from over-the-road transportation to rail transportation to expedite customer delivery.

Port Operations: Directed staffing, budgeting, planning, asset manage­ment, and transportation planning for port operations in New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Miami.

Regulatory Compliance: Achieved/surpassed all regulatory compliance standards for both OSHA and DOT.

 

Route Management: Reconfigured route management programs to optimize personnel and equipment resources.

Route Planning/Analysis: Automated route planning/analysis func­tions, improved costing, and upgraded customer service.

Safety Management: Identified need and developed a six-part safety management and training program for all newly hired personnel.

Safety Training: Revitalized safety training program and reduced onsite work accidents by 89%.

 

Terminal Operations: Restructured high-volume terminal operations at the Port of Wilmington, reducing costs 20% and improving customer satisfaction ratings by 88%.

Traffic Management: Designed improved processes and systems to enhance traffic management, reduce reliance on paper documentation, and achieve all budgeted operating goals.

 

Traffic Planning: Introduced GPS and other technologies to improve traffic planning and routing capabilities.

 

Transportation Management: Redesigned Xerox’s transportation management programs and saved the corporation over $10 million in annual traffic, warehousing, and distribution costs.

 

Transportation Planning: Directed transportation planning for all Caterpillar dealers and distributors nationwide.

Warehouse Management: Directed warehouse management opera­tions for six facilities in the Northwestern U.S. distributing products throughout 16 states.

Workflow Optimization: Created performance-driven systems designed for workflow optimization, staff training, quality improvement, and cost reduction.

SCM Technical Interview Questions

  • How do you go about getting resources to get something done that is not under your direct control?
  • What are some of the most effective ways to keep tasks on track?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to organize and implement a system/work process.
  • Please describe a time when you had to start up something from nothing.
  • Tell us about a situation in which things you had planned or expected fell apart.  What was the situation and what did you do?
  • Take us through a complicated project you were responsible for planning.  How did you define and measure success?  What obstacles did you encounter?  Which ones were anticipated and which were unanticipated?  What did you learn that you could, or have, applied to other projects?
  • What planning methods do you generally use and where and how did you learn them?
  • Have you ever managed multiple projects simultaneously?  What methods did you use to keep the all moving forward at the same time?
  • What different measure and feedback mechanisms have you used to keep track of progress and how have they helped, or hindered, you in past projects?
  • How do you know whether it’s better to lay out very specifically what others have to do – versus allowing them to use their own initiative and creativity?
  • Have you ever over-planned a project or spent too much time in planning versus execution?  Or vice-versa?
  • Everyone at one time or another is too busy to plan future activities.  Tell me about a time when you were so busy you just reacted to situations rather than planned for them.
  • What processes have you used to prevent or control backlog in your work area?  Describe a specific instance.
  • In times of conflicting priorities, how did you determine what was top priority?
  • Tell me about a time you conducted a formal negotiation with an external group.
  • Tell me about a time when you negotiated well.  Contrast this with a time you did not negotiate well.
  • Describe some supplier management tools and processes you have developed / implemented.
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult critical supplier.  How did you resolve the situation?
  • Explain how you have used sourcing to drive results.
  • How would you define “best practice”?
  • Describe a cost improvement initiative you have worked on.
  • What steps would you take to qualify a supplier to ensure that they can meet or exceed the company’s supply requirements?
  • Describe your experience with gathering and analyzing company financial data.  Which tools have you used?
  • What are the cost elements you would look at to calculate Total Cost of Ownership of a product or service?
  • Tell me about a customer service initiative or business strategy that you developed or were responsible for executing.
  • Tell me about a time when you and your team improved operational efficiencies.
  • Tell me about a time when you took a risk and failed.
  • What is the worst work process you have personally experienced?  How would you have changed it?
  • Describe a “dead end” you encountered while working on a problem and how you handled it.
  • What are the most important considerations in the logistics of an operation?
  • Tell me about the most innovative solution or action that you have come up with to support a business objective.
  • Tell me about an important project / task / assignment you were working on for an external customer when the specifications changed significantly but the deadline wasn’t extended.  What did you do?  What were the results?
  • Why does it matter to have a forecast as accurate as possible?
  • Describe the relationship between SKUs and forecasting.  How can SKUs be changed to improve forecasting?