Falling Into Supply Chain Management

Many current supply chain professionals say that they “fell into” the field — that is, they started their careers elsewhere but ultimately ended up in a supply chain role. 

For example, I have a degree in Material Science Engineering and I started my career in semiconductor manufacturing and new product development.

Did you “fall into” supply chain management? What keeps you in the field?

We asked our Indago research community members about how they got started in supply chain management. As expected, a relatively small percentage of our member respondents (13%) have a degree in supply chain management. Business (31%), Other (22%), and Engineering (19%) were the most common degrees earned. 

Source: Indago (n=32)

Similarly, 38% of the respondents began their careers in roles outside of supply chain management, such as the Military, Human Resources, and IT.

Source: Indago (n=32)

Simply put, the majority of our Indago respondents “fell into” supply chain management. Many of them posted great stories and examples, like this one:

“I didn’t enjoy school and my father felt strongly that I needed some type of post high school degree, so he talked me into going to a Technical College where I earned an Associate Degree in Physical Distribution and Logistics. I went to work for a now-defunct trucking company which was paying more at the time than any of my friends with 4-year degrees in Accounting or Engineering. After 9 years with the trucking company I got a job as a Traffic Manager and shortly thereafter went back to college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. By then I was [already] entrenched in the world of logistics, so it made zero sense to try to switch career paths to anything different.”

Here are some other value-added comments from our members, who are all supply chain and logistics professionals from manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies:

“I received a dual B.S. in Marketing and Logistics from Syracuse University in 1988 and have been in supply chain for my entire career…probably a bit unique.”

“I began my mechanical career with the U.S. Army and worked in many different areas, but always working with my hands and in and around the transportation sector. An opportunity became available with my current employer to assume the role of Transportation and Materials Coordinator…Having never worked in the industry, but seeking a chance and real career opportunity, I decided to apply and received the position. Short of joining the Army, that was the single best career decision I have ever made. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and love learning as much as possible about logistics and supply chain. I am now studying for the CSCP & CLTD certifications and very much look forward to earning those credentials.”

“I was laid off from a sales job, hired as a temp in a brokerage firm and stuck with it ever since. I stay in because of the specialization and ever-changing requirements.”

“Yes, I fell into the field through an entry level job that a great friend shared with me. I did not have prior knowledge of supply chain or logistics. What keeps me in the field is its continued growth. Companies now see how critical supply chains are to their bottom lines. [With the growing role of technology], the next 10-20 years will be interesting!”

“I thought at first transportation had to deal with travel. I was wrong, but I liked the field anyway and made a lifetime career of it.”

How about you? Did you “fall into” supply chain management? What keeps you in the field? Post a comment and share your story!

Join Indago

If you’re a supply chain or logistics practitioner from a manufacturing, retail, or distribution company, I encourage you to learn more about Indago and join our research community. It is confidential, there is no cost to join and the time commitment is minimal (2-5 minutes per week) — plus your participation will help support charitable causes like JDRF, American Logistics Aid Network, American Cancer Society, Feeding America, and Make-A-Wish.

You can also follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed of our latest research results and news.