The role of a supply chain manager comes with a lot of responsibility. It is directly linked to the success or failure of the customer service and bottom line of a business. As a supply chain manager starting out in the industry, you want to start your career on the right foot by avoiding the following mistakes:

1. Refusing mentorship

Having a ‘know-it-all’ attitude when presented with the opportunity for mentorship is sure to set you off on a rocky start. A mentor can help you with perspective and provide a lot of insight and advice. Mentors are also a great source for networking opportunities, and can help you make the right moves to advance your career.

2. Ignoring the input of employees

As a supply chain manager, the insight of employees will give you an idea of how the supply chain policies may either be making or breaking the business.

According to Michael Wilson from AFFLINK:

A mistake that some supply chain management professionals make is ignoring the input of their employees, choosing instead to focus on letting management dictate the supply chain policy. All types of supply chain employees provide valuable input about the different elements of the supply chain that they are involved in, from administrative workers who receive and input orders to warehouse workers who are responsible for finding and packaging inventory properly. Ignoring this input can lead to policy that is not as effective as it should be for supply chain management.

3. Not having a plan B

It is guaranteed that unexpected problems and disruptions will arise. For this reason, it is important to always have a contingency plan in place. Once you have a plan B in place, be sure that every member of the team understands this plan and how (and when, or under what circumstances) it should be implemented and executed. This shows that you think ahead and are a team player.

4. Being afraid to take risks

As a supply chain manager, you will sometimes have to make decisions that may be risky. You should not fear taking risks because of making mistakes – this is how you learn. Your decision, even though risky, could prove profitable for the company. And if it fails, you will have learnt from it and have a plan B to fall back on. You can also rely on your risk management skills to ensure everything runs smoothly.  Always ensure that your risks are calculated and that you communicate these to your team.

5. Not speaking up

As a supply chain manager, you should understand your worth and not be afraid to speak up. Don’t underestimate the value of your contribution. Tried and tested methods are great, but you come with fresh perspective and ideas that could add value to the existing methods of doing things. If you speak up and communicate effectively, you are sure to gain the respect of your colleagues.

Now that we have gone over some of mistakes you should avoid when starting out as a supply chain manager, remember that succeeding in your career is dependent on you. Make the most of the opportunity and learn from those who have been there before you. Rely on the knowledge you have and make sure you set yourself apart by being accommodating toward your colleagues, while also being clear on what you require from them to make things work.

Interested in studying a supply chain management course to prepare for your first supply chain management job?

Supply Chain and Logistics Management Courses