Is a Supply Chain Management Degree Worth It?

January 24, 2022

From design and manufacture to delivery, many different steps must fall into place in a supply chain operation. Supply chain managers are the professionals who oversee these processes and streamline the decisions that allow an idea to be turned into a product or service. By establishing procedures that reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction, supply chain managers are instrumental to business success. 

Candidates already in the workforce who are wondering whether a supply chain management degree is worth it should consider the advantages of a higher education. With the roles, responsibilities, and challenges associated with supply chain management always changing, an advanced degree, such as a master’s in global logistics and supply chain management, can provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to grasp the big picture. 

What Do Supply Chain Managers Do?

Supply chain managers are involved throughout the process of creating and selling goods. Essentially, supply chain managers ensure that the links of a company’s supply chain work together to improve efficiency and deliver a product or service to consumers. 

Within supply chain management are five main aspects that management professionals oversee:

  • Planning. “Big picture” planning involves ensuring that a product or service will meet customer demand and that the supply chain will work efficiently to meet those needs.
  • Sourcing. Sourcing involves managing supplier relationships and choosing the proper suppliers to create a product. 
  • Manufacturing. Manufacturing involves the processes that take a product from raw material to  ready for market. 
  • Delivery and logistics. Delivery and logistics involve the processes that coordinate customer orders, deliveries, and payments. 
  • Returning. Returning involves the processes required to take back unwanted, damaged, or excess products. 

For a business to run efficiently and reach customers, all five aspects must work together. Supply chain managers ensure that they do so as cost effectively as possible. For those looking to move into the next phase of their careers, an advanced degree can offer the skills required to take on the challenges of leadership roles. 

Why Earn a Supply Chain Management Degree?

Many elements contribute to the need for skilled supply chain managers –– from environmental concerns to the need to operate both cost effectively and efficiently. The business landscape is constantly changing. For many companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand and altered many aspects of the supply chain (closed factories, overloaded ports, challenges in manufacturing); as a result, many businesses are looking for professionals to provide innovative solutions. 

As reported in Forbes, a worldwide effort is underway to restructure and solve the issues that the pandemic has raised. With increased transportation costs, the need to reduce excess production, and the desire to transition to a more efficient use of resources, many areas of opportunity exist for experts in supply chain management to find innovative solutions. By focusing on positive long-term strategies, management professionals are in a position to change the way that we do business for the better. 

With high demand for qualified professionals who can respond to these challenges, a number of benefits are available that make earning a supply chain management degree worth it. 

Prepare for In-Demand Management Careers

Individuals with the knowledge and training to succeed in supply chain management are sought after across industries and around the world. As the global market allows businesses to expand and take advantage of worldwide manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, the need for skilled supply chain management professionals capable of the challenges of innovation is on the rise. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in logistics are expected to grow by 30% between 2020 and 2030, much higher than the projected average for all occupations. For business professionals interested in more challenging roles, pursuing an advanced degree and career in supply chain management can provide the opportunity for higher salaries and rewarding work.  

Develop Advanced Skills

The complex and nuanced skills required to succeed in supply chain management come from both extensive work experience and a strong foundational knowledge in how a business functions. In many cases, the individuals who move toward supply chain management positions have already completed a bachelor’s degree and are looking for ways to learn new skills, allowing them to seek out senior or specialized positions while increasing their value. 

Pursuing an advanced degree, such as a master’s in logistics or supply chain management, can help future business leaders build a valuable skill set. From technical skills that allow them to apply emerging technologies and logistical strategies to the soft skills required to communicate and implement those strategies, an advanced education can prepare future leaders with the knowledge and skills to meet increased demand and reach their professional goals.

Supply Chain Management Careers and Salaries

For every company that produces a product or service, a supply chain is in place. For new graduates entering the workforce, a career in supply chain management can be a rewarding one that continues to become more essential every day. 

Earning an advanced degree in logistics or supply chain management can allow graduates to pursue fulfilling opportunities in various industries, opening the door to a higher salary and achieving their professional goals. 

Supply Chain Manager

Responsible for managing a company’s logistical strategies and the supply chain of a product — from manufacture to distribution — supply chain managers take a bird’s-eye view of operations and are essential to a company’s success. With a broad scope of responsibilities, many supply chain managers have both a higher education and work experience to prepare them for the role.

Various factors can affect salaries, and for many graduates, a supply chain management degree is worth it when competing for supervisory roles. Depending on the level of education, years of experience, and scale of operations, the salary from one company to the next can vary, but with rising demand, the field is promising. 

According to PayScale, the median annual earnings of supply chain managers was approximately $84,000 as of December 2021. 

Logistics Manager

Often focused on a specific element of a supply chain, logistics managers oversee and coordinate details from budgeting and performance management to warehouse and delivery logistics. With many of the same responsibilities as supply chain managers, logistics managers can also benefit greatly from a higher education when pursuing supervisory roles.

Involved in virtually every industry, experienced logisticians have challenging and fulfilling opportunities available to them. As the agency responsible for ensuring that businesses run smoothly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that logisticians earned a median annual salary of $76,200 as of May 2020. 

Warehouse Manager

Warehouse managers are responsible for the smooth operation of a warehouse. From employee management to product assembly and distribution, warehouse managers ensure that products or services are delivered on time. For companies that deal with pharmaceuticals or hazardous materials, warehouse managers may also be responsible for the proper handling of specialized products.

According to the BLS, transportation, storage, and distribution managers earned a mean annual wage of $105,100 as of May 2020.  

Purchasing Manager

Responsible for direct relationships between buyers and sellers and overseeing a company’s purchasing agreements, purchasing managers act on behalf of a company and negotiate its strategies. 

The BLS reported a median annual salary of $72,200 as of May 2020. 

Become a Leader in Supply Chain Management

The business landscape is constantly evolving to adapt to new challenges, working toward a more environmentally friendly and efficient future. For future business leaders, a career in logistics can be fulfilling, and a supply chain management degree is worth it for those interested in the latest innovations. 

With its fully online program and the ability to choose tracks in executive leadership, logistics information systems, or artificial intelligence, the online Master of Science in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management from Athens State University is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to enter the workforce with confidence or advance your career into management positions. Discover what you can do with an advanced degree in supply chain management today. 

Recommended Readings

Supply Chain Management: Salary and Job Outlook

What Is a Logistics Degree?

What Is Supply Chain Management and Why Is It Important?

Sources:
Association for Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Management Careers

Forbes, “Why Supply Chain Management Strategies Must Change”

IBM, What Is Supply Chain Management?
Investopedia, “Supply Chain Management (SCM)”

PayScale, Average Supply Chain Manager Salary
PayScale, Master of Science (MS), Supply Chain Management Degree

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Logisticians

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers