Supply chain Manager

A supply chain is a network of partners who collectively convert a basic commodity (upstream) into a finished product (downstream) that is valid by end - customers, and who manage returns at each stage. Supply chain management is the process which integrates, co-ordinates and controls the movement of goods, materials and information from a supplier to a customer to the final consumer. The essential point with a supply chain is that it links all the activities- buying/sourcing, making, moving and selling between suppliers and customers is a timely manner.

Good communication skills are important for the job of Supply Chain Manager as you must manage the relationships between the vendors and internal departments. A good Supply Chain Manager will train, develop, mentor and assist their team to ensure the supply chain department operates to achieve customer delivery requirements for the rest of the fashion or retail company.

The job of Supply Chain Manager working in fashion involves a lot of planning, as timing is very important in any supply chain. The Supply Chain Manager is also responsible for cost reduction and will source suppliers andfactories all across the world including the Far East as well as the UK. The Supply Chain Manager is also responsible for sourcing materials and services to ensure productivity is cost effective and that the product will be distributed effectively to reach the retailers.

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The supply chain production

It could possibly be the least glamorous, but possibly the most important aspect of bringing a fashion production or collection to market is production and manufacturing. As shown from the diagram above, raw materials get sent to the supplier which then gets sent to the manufacture to produce and make the product. Once the product is ready it is then picked up and sent to the customer for purchase.

Skills needed to become a supply chain manager

To become a supply chain manager there are many skills needed. You need to be able to solve any problems that might occur, work well under pressure and be good with numbers. You need to have good writing skills, be a good team leader including showing good leadership and have good planning skills.


You would typically need a foundation degree, HND or a degree in supply chain management or logistics to do this job. You may also be able to start out working in a supply chain office as an assistant to gain more knowledge and skills and then work your way up to become a supply chain manager.

The most common way to becoming a supply chain manager is by taking a foundation degree in HNC/HND or in one of the following subjects that is still relevant.

- Logistics

- International transports

- Supply chain management transport

- Geography

Working hours and Salary

You would usually work between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends on a rota basis, or be available on-call to deal with emergencies. Some companies run 24-hour operations involving shift work. You would normally be office-based but would travel to meet clients. This could include travel overseas. Starting off as a graduate, a typical salary would start from around £20,000 to £25,000 per year. If you are an experienced manager you can earn up to £45,000 a year and a senior supply chain manager can earn up to £60,000 a year.

Soft skills

- Team work

- Communication

- Flexibility

- Patience

- Persuasion

Hard skills

- Being able to work well under pressure

- Geographical

- Can speak multiple languages

- Computer skills

Fast Supply Chain Management for the Fashion Industry