Supply chain management involves the overseeing of processes involved in bringing a product or service to customers. Roles can include coordinating raw materials or work-in-progress inventories, with involvement from design through to final consumption or use by the customer. Working in supply chain management requires technical knowledge in logistics, inventory management, transportation and so forth but also strong planning, multi-tasking and relationship management skills. Let’s take a look at insights from graduates working in the supply chain field… 

1. Daily tasks 

‘Some of the things that I do on a day to day basis are review and amend our forecasted demand for each of the customers that I look after, liaise with our production and logistics teams, resolve customer queries, provide analysis of performance, support our commercial team and build demand forecasts for upcoming promotional activity.’
Customer Supply Specialist, Customer Supply/Commercial Operations at Innocent Drinks
‘It varies depending on which placement you are in. In manufacturing, it would be making sure the lines are adhering to the schedule and managing staff. In a planning placement, it would be more concentrated around working with the ERP system and making decisions based on numbers.’
Supply Chain Graduate, at Associated British Foods
‘Analyse and report on data from various sources. Use this data to find issues and head up projects to facilitate a solution to these issues.’
Logistics Initiatives Specialist, at TK Maxx

2. Best and worst things about your job

‘Good opportunities for development, there are challenges to be taken on but with a great support system in place with mentors, line managers, HR and the graduate scheme sponsors to set you up for success, a genuinely good and friendly atmosphere at work, respect for work/life balance. As this is a new scheme, the structure of it is still being worked out. The announcement of which placement came next and what it would entail was sometimes on short notice. However, it does leave a bit of flexibility to a) give an opinion/preference b) jump on an interesting project/role as it opens up.’
Supply Chain Graduate – Jordans Ryvita, at Associated British Foods
‘Being able to see really clearly how what you do fits in with the company, its values and the good that it does. Getting to work daily with people all across the business gives a really insightful experience into how a great FMCG company operates. You will have a lot of things on your plate day to day and managing to get the less urgent but important and interesting bigger pieces done is something you have to put a lot of effort into fitting into the diary, but it’s worth it.’
Customer Supply Specialist, Customer Supply/Commercial Operations at Innocent Drinks
‘There is a lot of variance from day to day, different problems to solve come up on a daily basis. It is a 9-5 desk job which isn’t what I ideally wanted in life! It isn’t very mentally challenging at the moment. However, the new role I will be starting sounds more of a challenge. Sometimes I find myself without enough to do which is awful and I hate not being busy. Saying that – I told my manager and he has put me on new projects which will shortly be filing up my time.’
Distribution Analyst, at TK Maxx

3. Average working hours

8am – 5pm

4. Average salary

£27,000 – £29,000

5. Interview tips

Application Advice: Be confident in your knowledge of what Boots does and what it means to work in Supply Chain. Demonstrate a pro-active nature and willingness to share your ideas with others.
Interview Advice: Go in with a strong idea of current challenges within retail and current trends in supply chain. Be prepared to answer questions about how your work and what makes you ‘tick’. Understand how you would fit in with the Boots culture.
Supply Graduate, Retail Supply at Boots
Application Advice: Be prepared. Make sure you have the right motivation as to why you want to work for Unilever. Have clear (STAR) examples of the required standards of leadership
Interview Advice: Be yourself, you will be chosen if you fit in
UFLP Supply Chain, UK & Ireland at Unilever
Application Advice: Don’t try to pretend to be anyone you are not. Strong analytical and problem solving skills are needed as well as a lot of excel experience.
Interview Advice: Be genuine – show a real interest in the role, company and products. Although preparation is important, be careful not to over prepare such that you are trying to recite your answers to questions. There is a big emphasis is on people skills, personal development and learning agility
Lean Coordinator, Lean at Mars

Click here to view the full range of job reviews from graduates working in supply chain management and take a look at the video clip below for an example of a supply chain management graduate role with BP.

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