Chain Reaction

Q: I have been employed in procurement and strategic sourcing for the last three years. I currently hold an M.B.A. in administration and have an interest in supply chain management and the field of operations. Do you have any suggestions as to what career moves I should consider for the future?
— L. Comeaux, Houston

A: Procurement and strategic sourcing involve purchasing materials. They are related to, but only involve one aspect of, supply chain management, which is the process of how products move from the point of origin to reaching the consumer. As each industry would have its respective demands, SCM is a specialized operation. It’s not an easy transition from purchasing to SCM or from industry to industry and will require research, possibly certification, and definitely some training. “Logistics is an important component in supply chain management,” offers Marlon Cousins, managing partner of The Marquin Group in Atlanta, an executive recruiting firm. Cousins suggests spending time in a position such as logistics manager to enhance your skill set.

It is also important to know the trends, he says. Many top organizations today favor Lean Manufacturing, a productivity efficiency model that eliminates lags in your system. Kaizen and Kanban are operating systems within Lean that according to Cousins, a candidate interested in SCM should be familiar with. If possible, he suggests leading one of these systems at your present company or volunteering at a smaller firm to gain experience. For more information, look up supply chain management at www.wet