December 15, 2023

How to Become a Supply Chain Analyst?

Supply chain analysts help facilitate and manage the complex world of supply chain for companies. There has never been a better time to become a supply chain analyst.

The field of supply chain management is a crucial component of modern business operations. It ensures that products flow efficiently from manufacturers to consumers, optimizing costs and maximizing customer satisfaction. At the heart of this complex network lies the supply chain analyst, a professional who plays a pivotal role in decision-making and strategy development. In this article, we'll explore what a supply chain analyst does, their roles and responsibilities, how to become one, essential technical skills, domain knowledge, and the art of asking the right questions and defining key performance indicators (KPIs) within this domain.

What is a Supply Chain Analyst?

A supply chain analyst is responsible for gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data related to a company's supply chain operations. Their primary goal is to identify opportunities for improvement, cost reduction, and operational efficiency within the supply chain. They use data-driven insights to make informed decisions, solve complex problems, and optimize the entire supply chain process.

Roles & Responsibilities of a Supply Chain Analyst

Data Analysis: Analyzing large datasets to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies that can impact supply chain performance.

Forecasting: Predicting future demand for products and materials, enabling better inventory management and production planning.

Inventory Management: Optimizing inventory levels to reduce carrying costs while ensuring product availability.

Supplier Relationship Management: Evaluating supplier performance, negotiating contracts, and identifying potential risks in the supply chain.

Logistics Optimization: Improving transportation and distribution processes to reduce costs and delivery times.

Cost Analysis: Identifying areas of cost savings and providing recommendations to management.

Process Improvement: Continuously seeking ways to enhance supply chain processes and make them more efficient.

Technology Integration: Utilizing supply chain software and technologies to streamline operations.

Where they work

As a supply chain analyst, it is likely that you will work in one of the main industries in which supply chain management is needed. These might include retail or e-commerce stores that sell food, soft goods like clothing, shoes, and toiletries, large goods like cars, electronics, and furniture, pharmaceuticals, and more.

That means you could be working as a supply chain analyst for any of these companies. That includes big names like Nestle, Walmart, Toyota, and Pfizer, but supply chain analysis is also needed at smaller companies like Mara Hoffman, a high-end fashion brand.

You might also need supply chain analysis skills if you are a business consultant working for a consulting firm such as McKinsey, that is dedicated to creating lean teams and eliminating unnecessary processes.

Salary Trends

The supply chain analyst can expect to earn about INR 2.5 lakhs salary in India, with a maximum limit of INR 12 lakh. Thus, the average annual salary can be estimated to be around INR 5.2 lakh per annum. The salary is also expected to increase based on experience. Besides, the average range of take-home salary for supply chain analysts in India is around INR 39,472 to INR 40,645 per month. 

How to Become a Supply Chain Analyst?

To become a supply chain analyst, it is advisable that you have a bachelor’s degree. If you already have one, and are hoping to switch careers, then you can skip the first step and go straight for building up your skills and work experience.

Here’s how to get started as a supply chain analyst.

Step 1: Educational Background

While a specific degree isn't always mandatory, having a bachelor's degree in fields such as Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Operations Research, Business, or Economics is beneficial. A master's degree or certifications like APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) or Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) can enhance your credentials.

Step 2: Build a Strong Foundation in Data Analysis

  • Data Analysis: Supply chain analysts must be proficient in data analysis tools such as Microsoft Excel, SQL, and data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI.
  • Supply Chain Software: Familiarize yourself with supply chain management software such as SAP, Oracle, or WMS (Warehouse Management Systems).
  • Statistical Analysis: Learn statistical concepts and software like R or Python for advanced data analysis and forecasting.
  • Advanced Excel Skills: Excel proficiency is vital. Learn pivot tables, macros, and advanced functions to handle large datasets efficiently.

                                                                                  Click here : Build Strong Foundation in Data Analytics

Step 3:  Develop Supply Chain Technical Skills

  • Inventory Management: Understand inventory control techniques, demand forecasting, and safety stock management.
  • Logistics and Transportation: Learn about logistics operations, including carrier selection, routing, and optimization.
  • Procurement and Supplier Management: Gain insight into procurement strategies, supplier evaluation, and supplier relationship management.
  • Risk Management: Understand how to identify, assess, and mitigate supply chain risks.
  • Process Improvement: Study Lean Six Sigma methodologies to optimize supply chain processes.

Step 4: Supply Chain Domain Knowledge

Industry Knowledge:

Industry knowledge is essential for a supply chain analyst because different sectors have unique supply chain dynamics, challenges, and best practices. Here's a breakdown of what you should focus on:

  • Retail: Understand inventory management, seasonal demand variations, and e-commerce integration.
  • Manufacturing: Know about lean manufacturing, just-in-time inventory, and production planning complexities.
  • Healthcare: Be familiar with FDA regulations, cold chain logistics, and precise medical supply management.
  • Automotive: Comprehend demand forecasting, quality control, and the global nature of automotive supply chains.
  • Food and Beverage: Focus on temperature-controlled logistics, shelf-life management, and food safety regulations.

Global Supply Chain:

Globalization has transformed supply chains into intricate networks that extend across borders. To effectively handle global supply chains, supply chain analysts need to:

  • International Trade Regulations: Learn trade rules, tariffs, and import/export procedures for customs compliance.
  • Customs Procedures: Master customs documentation and cross-border transport intricacies to prevent delays.
  • Global Logistics: Understand international shipping modes and logistics coordination across regions.
  • Currency Exchange and Risk Management: Manage currency fluctuations to protect costs and profits.
  • Cultural and Language Awareness: Acknowledge cultural and language nuances in global supply chain interactions.
  • Sustainability and Ethics: Stay informed on sustainability and ethical concerns in supply chain practices.

Step 5: Questions to Ask Organizations

  1. What are the main challenges in your supply chain?
  • This question demonstrates your interest in solving specific problems within the organization.
  1. How does the company measure supply chain performance?
  • Understanding their KPIs and metrics will help you align your efforts with their goals.
  1. Can you describe a recent supply chain improvement project?
  • This shows your interest in practical experience and continuous improvement.
  1. What technologies and software tools are used in the supply chain here?
  • Demonstrates your willingness to adapt to their systems.

Step 6: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • On-Time Delivery (OTD): Measure the percentage of deliveries made on time.
  • Inventory Turnover Rate: Monitor how quickly inventory is sold or used in production.
  • Cost-to-Serve: Calculate the cost of delivering products to customers.
  • Supplier Performance: Evaluate suppliers based on criteria like quality, lead times, and reliability.
  • Demand Forecast Accuracy: Assess how closely actual demand aligns with forecasts.
  • Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE): Analyze the efficiency of manufacturing processes.

Learning Resources for Supply Chain Analytics

Top 2 Courses to learn Supply Chain Analytics

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Supply Chain Analytics by Edx

MIT supply chain Course

Duration : 15 Weeks

Level : Beginner

Fee : Free to Audit, Certification is paid

What You'll Learn : Learn about the basic analytical methods, how to apply basic probability models, statistics in supply chains, formulating and solving optimization models

Course Description : This business and management course delves into the intricate world of supply chains, which are intricate networks involving multiple businesses and organizations, each with their unique objectives. It introduces key analytical methods and tools commonly utilized by both researchers and practitioners for effective supply chain design and management. The course emphasizes practical application rather than delving deeply into theoretical foundations.

The course kicks off by providing an overview of introductory probability and decision analysis, enabling students to grasp how to model uncertainty. Subsequently, it delves into fundamental statistical concepts and regression analysis. Lastly, it introduces optimization modeling, covering a range of techniques from unconstrained optimization to linear, non-linear, and mixed integer linear programming.

One distinctive feature of SC0x is its hands-on approach. Students will extensively utilize spreadsheets to implement these techniques and strategies in real-world case studies derived from actual supply chain scenarios.

It's worth noting that SC0x differs from our other courses in that it is self-paced and includes a scheduled final exam. All course materials become accessible starting from the second week, enabling learners to commence their studies on any topic according to their own schedule.

                                                       Course Link Here : Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Supply Chain Analytics

2. Supply Chain Analytics Specialization by Coursera

Supply Chain Course for Freshers

Duration : 1 months at 10 hours a week

Level : Beginner

Fee : Free to Audit, Certification is paid.

What You'll Learn : Learn about Supply Chain pain points and how analytics may relieve them. Plan for demand and supply, and design effective logistics strategies for large-scale distribution systems.

Course Description : In this course, you'll delve into the intricacies of supply chain management and learn how analytics can serve as a powerful tool to alleviate the common pain points within these complex systems.

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of supply chain dynamics and the application of analytics, you'll be equipped to identify, analyze, and address various challenges that organizations face. Additionally, we will explore the job opportunities in the supply chain and analytics field, providing insights into the required skills and qualifications, enabling you to make data-driven decisions when it comes to your career.

Furthermore, you'll discover how to effectively prioritize and tackle problems in today's competitive business environment and develop strategies for optimizing demand and supply, as well as designing efficient logistics solutions for large-scale distribution networks. This course offers a holistic approach to supply chain management and analytics, preparing you for a successful career in this dynamic field.

                                                                       Course Link Here : Supply Chain Analytics Specialization

3 YouTube Videos for Supply Chain Analytics

From the more popular channel to the less popular YouTube channels, below are the Top 5 Supply Chain YouTube Channels you should subscribe to:

1) Supply Chain Secrets | 58.5k Subscribers

The highly revered “Supply Chain Secrets” is hosted by Rob O’Byrne, who has been in the Supply Chain and Logistics industry since he was 15. Rob has handled several Supply Chain and Logistics businesses and shares lessons, insights, interviews, tips, and more from his experience through the channel. This supply chain YouTube channel covers Supply Chain and Logistics topics with a passion running over 40+ years of industry experience.

2) Supply Chain Analytics | 22k Subscribers

The Supply Chain Analytics Channel is funded by the Ministry of HRD government of India as part of its National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL). Professor Rajat Agrawal hosts the current videos on this supply chain YouTube channel. They plan to give insight into several basics of Supply Chain Analytics, Business Analytics, Prescriptive Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Descriptive Analytics, and Optimization, as well as Modeling through R Language. The Supply Chain Analytics Channel is highly detailed and will always be recommended for years to come.

3) Data Preparation for Supply Chain Analytics | 18.9k Subscribers

Its hosted by MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Dr. Sergio Caballero, a Senior Data Scientist at Amazon, discusses how data has become the fuel for Machine Learning (ML).Dr. Sergio Caballero and his hosts Laura Allegue and Kellen Betts, course leads for SC2x-Supply Chain Design and SC4x-Supply Chain Technology and Systems are featured in this live event. Learn about the importance of data preparation to train accurate ML models. We have also introduced some of the challenges typically encountered when preparing the data and shared some best practices.

In summary, becoming a supply chain analyst requires a blend of education, technical skills, domain knowledge, and a genuine interest in optimizing supply chain operations. By honing these skills and demonstrating your commitment to improving processes and solving challenges, you can embark on a successful career in this dynamic and essential field.

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