The range of possible responsibilities for the position title of Supply Chain Analyst can be very broad and may be found in every part of supply chain and in every industry. This position naturally concentrates on understanding supply chains, but may be applied to purchasing/sourcing, production/operations, or logistics/distribution. This needs to be able to access, interpret and leverage data to help companies make decisions for the sourcing, production, and distribution of products. They ensure that the company’s materials and products keep flowing and that supply meets the internal or customers’ demand, is delivered on time, and keeps the company on budget. They may evaluate supplier pricing, product mixes, or transportation costs, or possibly a blend of all these across the supply chain.
Supply Chain Analyst Position Overview
Supply chain analysts improve the efficiency of supply chain operations through data collection, analysis, and recommendation of alternative solutions. Their end goal is to increase efficiencies by reducing the cost and time required in delivering products to both the factory and the consumer. When issues arise, they’re able to use their expert knowledge of the logistics chain to resolve problems and circumvent costly delays. They are often the primary point of contact for the external purchases that are made in order to complete a project, which requires researching and negotiating fair prices for purchased goods. Data related to cost, productivity, demand, and transportation are scrutinized in detail for analysts to successfully meet their objectives.
Additionally, the supply chain analyst not only analyzes but also supervises the execution of all the supply chain operations in a company from placing orders to transportation through to delivery. They must have a good understanding of how to balance a wide range of metrics in order to determine a mix of decision-making criteria.
You may find supply chain analysts in virtually any industry (e.g., e-commerce, retail, government, nongovernment, manufacturing, and food) but they most commonly work in manufacturing, food, technology, pharmaceuticals, and government. They are typically employed by companies that have large supply chains that need regular assessment of how materials are flowing and how the company is performing on metrics related to capacity use and spending on logistics costs.
They should have excellent attention to detail, an in-depth understanding of stages involved in the total delivery process as well as exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, a successful analyst uses a mix of data analysis skills plus interpersonal skills to gather information from different departments and areas in order to recommend ways of improving supply chain material flows.
A supply chain analyst is tasked with specific projects like improving a warehouse stocking program, evaluating production methods of material goods, or balancing supply and demand of material flows. In effect, they identify problems and develop solutions. In order to pinpoint the root cause of a problem and then develop an appropriate solution, they may work closely with IT technicians and other people executing supply chain activities across entire supply chains.
Similar Job Titles:
- Supply Chain Specialist
- Logistics Analyst or Manager or Specialist
- Business Analyst
- Material Supply Planner
- Transportation Analyst
- Production or Operations or Manufacturing Analyst
Some core responsibilities of a Supply Chain Analyst include:
- Designing and implementing methods to gather and manage supply chain data
- Reviewing and analyzing data to locate areas in the supply chain process that need improving
- Using the results of analyses in order to improve the overall performance of the supply chain process and reduce costs
- Conducting analysis through the use of analytical models
- Developing methods to improve processes
- Researching and finding the most cost-efficient shipment methods and procedures
- Planning and implementing supply chain optimization projects
- Pursuing improvement in all aspects of the supply chain by reviewing current methodology and processes
- Tracking KPIs and reporting on performance
- Developing inventory management processes and procedures
- Overseeing inventory processes
- Maintain a balanced flow of goods throughout supply chains
- Promoting positive relationships with other businesses
- Assessing vendor operations
Required/Desired Education and Skills
A successful Supply Chain Analyst has certain prerequisite skills and qualifications that provide a foundation required to perform their duties. Most supply chain analysts have a bachelor’s degree in logistics, supply chain management, industrial/systems engineering, or related fields. Some employers may require experience in the supply chain or logistics industry and most provide training on their in-house inventory and logistics management systems.
Supply chain analysts use analytical tools on a daily basis. These are hard skills that are required. Additionally, employers may require professional certifications in logistics, supply chains management and related disciplines.
Hard Technical Skills
- MS Office (particularly Excel)
- ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems
- Relational databases and SQL
- Cost and lifecycle accounting
- Project management
- Ability to perform in a constantly changing environment
- Attention to data detail
- Interpersonal skills for gathering data and reporting results
- Customer service
- Organizational skills
- Analytical skills