Supply chain modeling is a rare skill and is in high demand in the industry. However, supply chain modeling somehow fails to excite and attract best students and professionals. Maybe it’s because supply chain modeling has failed to even present itself as a career option. Or, maybe it’s because academia has failed to prepare the students for the job. My transition from a supply chain modeler to a supply chain analytics trainer was actually driven by this apathy.
I started my career as a supply chain modeler and if given a chance to start it again, I would, without an iota of doubt start my career as a modeler. Obviously this has to do with my passion in supply chain modeling. But it also has to do with the career rewards that I have been able to reap because of being a modeler. I went into flashback and I tried to analyze why supply chain modeling has been so rewarding for me. I could think about so many things but here I have summarized the top 5 reasons why modeling is the most rewarding supply chain career option.
For the businesses, the past decades were about growth and expansion. However, things have changed and with growth slowing down, businesses are now focusing more on improving efficiency and cutting down costs. This has brought supply chain to the forefront of every business and what better tool than supply chain modeling can you have to achieve this business goal of minimum cost and maximum efficiency.
As per a Deloitte Survey, 2/3rd of supply chain leaders said that advanced analytics is the future and is going to become even more important in years to come. So, it’s an exciting time for supply chain professionals in general and supply chain modelers in particular to lead the effort of businesses to bring down costs and improve performance.
I have worked with colleagues who have 20-30 years of supply chain experience and still they don’t get the larger supply chain picture. This generally happens because for the most part of their career, these professionals spend time working in a couple of supply chain functions and are engaged mostly with day to day operations.
As a supply chain modeler, from the very beginning of your career you are involved in projects which are either strategic or tactical in nature. Moreover, the projects generally span across multiple supply chain functions and even involve finance and sales in many cases. As a result, supply chain modelers get a 360 degree understanding of the functioning of not just the supply chain but also the overall business. Believe me, this is an invaluable asset for those who aim to climb the top of the ladder.
Supply chain modeling is all about enabling optimal decisions. But making optimal decision is not easy as there are always conflicting objectives within an organization. Transportation, warehousing, sales, finance, all of them have different goals and many a times they are in conflict with each other.
The role of a supply chain modeler is not just to build a model and get output but is also to design a solution that maximizes the value for the organization and is acceptable to all the stakeholders. Designing that optimal solution will always require a modeler to balance the objectives of different stakeholders and while doing so, a modeler becomes very good at conflict management.
Supply chain modeling projects, almost always involve senior leadership from within and outside supply chain and in many cases C-level executives as well. Supply chain modeling is as much about output analysis and communication as it is about building models. As a supply chain modeler, you need to be able to effectively communicate the results to the top management. In this sense, the role of a modeler is very similar to that of a business consultant. As such, supply chain modelers are exposed to the senior leadership very early in their careers and this certainly gives them an edge over others.
Supply chain modeling is a rare and specialized skill. As such supply chain modelers are in high demand in the industry and they are paid really well. The compensation of a supply chain modeler is 20-30% higher than professionals at the lower level of supply chain analytics and in fact supply chain modelers enjoy one of the highest entry level compensation in the industry.
There are many more reasons why modeling is a great career choice but all of them indicate one thing, that supply chain modeling will provide a cohort of future leaders to various organizations.
So what do you think, are you ready to be a modeler? Whether you think it’s sexy or boring to be a modeler, it’s worth giving it a shot.
Baidhurya is a supply chain analytics trainer and the author of a supply chain bestseller on Udemy. Before starting out as a trainer, Baidhurya worked in the industry as a supply chain consultant where he executed multiple high value network and inventory projects for clients which include top 5 retailers in the world.