Supply Chain Manager

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A career as a Supply Chain Manager

Supply Chain Managers organise and oversee the movement of goods and materials from suppliers and manufacturers to customers. They oversee and manage every stage of production flow, from the purchasing of raw materials to delivery of the final product.

Supply Chain Managers ensure the right amount of product is made at the right time, as well as co-ordinating the storage of the end product. Organising the movement of goods from distribution centres to customers and stores involves forecasting trends and managing stock holding.

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You’ll need:

  • excellent business management, planning and leadership skills

  • a knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits

  • good time management, with the ability to work under pressure, maintain accuracy and keep to deadlines

  • good communication and relationship management skills, working collaboratively with internal and external teams

  • negotiation and influencing skills

  • analytical thinking skills

  • good computer skills and knowledge of the main software packages

  • understanding of risk management in the supply chain

Typical salaries
range from
Typical Hours

37-40 hours per week, usually Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm. However, many companies run 24-hour operations, and this role may include shift work, with evening and weekend hours on a rota basis.

Day to Day
  • Work with your buyers and buying managers to source the right products for customers

  • Negotiate and manage supplier contracts

  • Work out the logistics for getting goods from suppliers to distribution centres and then out to customers

  • Use computer software to track orders and stock levels

  • Implement ways to improve supply chain networks

  • Manage a team, including recruitment and training

  • Prepare forecasts and manage inventories and costs

  • Manage and minimise the risks that could affect or interrupt the supply chain

  • Consider the environmental impact of the supply chain to help your company meet sustainability targets

  • Implement new technologies and keep alert to new trends and developments in the sector

Working Environment

The role is usually office based, although you may need to visit warehouses, suppliers and customers.

You may need to stay away from home overnight to visit sites. There may be some travel overseas to visit parts of the supply chain.

Training Available

Training is an essential part of any job, giving you the skills and knowledge you need to do your job safely and correctly. It also helps to strengthen your current skill set and prepares you for the next stage in your career.


Apprenticeships help you build the experience and skills that employers want to see. No matter what stage you’re at, they’ll help set you up for a bright future. There are lots of ways to get involved.

Supply Chain Manager opportunities and careers paths

Becoming a chartered member of Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) or The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) may help your career progression as it demonstrates your ability to keep up to date with the skills and knowledge needed in the industry.

With experience, you could progress to senior management or director jobs and consultancy work.


Supply Chain Manager will usually work in one of the following industries. Click below to find out more about possible career paths.

Warehousing & Logistics

Want to be part of a growing industry? Explore diverse opportunities in warehousing and logistics.

Warehousing and logistics are part of a company’s supply chain – the things a company needs to do to get their goods or services to their customers efficiently. It’s an important part of the UK economy – according to Logistics UK, the sector contributes £127 billion to the UK’s economy and employs more than 2.5 million people. For the Republic of Ireland, Ibis World reported in 2022 that the warehousing and storage industry is valued at €865.7m and ranked 9th in Europe.

Jobs are incredibly varied – you could work in a warehouse (a commercial building that receives, stores and distributes products) or you could focus on logistics (managing the storage and delivery of products). Both warehousing and logistics work closely together to help retail, manufacturers and food and drink producers get their goods to their customers.

Thanks to the rise of online shopping, British industry needs more and more warehouses, storage and supply chain activities to keep goods moving. Some careers options focus on reducing the environmental impact of this activity, looking at how to use less energy and fuel to help organisations come up with more sustainable and efficient ways of transporting goods.

  • The logistics sector contributes £127 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to UK economy

  • There are 205,380 logistics enterprises in the UK

  • Within the UK there are almost 2000 individual warehouse units used for storage and distribution, which account for almost 566 million sq ft of warehouse space

  • The warehousing and storage industry in the Republic of Ireland has grown every year between 2017 and 2022, and currently employs almost 3,500 people

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Qualifications for a Supply Chain Manager

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

To find out more about qualification levels in the Republic of Ireland, please visit National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland (NFQIE)

To find out more about qualification levels in Scotland please visit Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Select level
Title Level
Training for a Supply Chain Manager

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

About Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn

Whether you’re just starting out in the workplace, want to upskill or are considering changing direction, Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build your career. Apprenticeships combine work with on-the-job training, so if you want to earn as you learn, there’s an apprenticeship out there for you – you can even start an apprenticeship if you already have a degree.

Apprenticeships for a career as an Supply Chain Manager

All about Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn – no matter where you are in your career, an apprenticeship can set you up for a bright future.

Let’s get started!

Want to take on an apprentice? Employers start here.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a unique blend of work experience and study to help build the skills and knowledge you need for your career. Apprentices are employees – they have a contract, are paid and get the same benefits as everyone else. But the difference between an apprenticeship and a normal job is that apprentices are regularly released from work for training. Sometimes that’s a day a week, sometimes it’s for a longer block – it all depends on the job and the apprenticeship.

Apprentices work for all kinds of people at all kinds of stages in their lives. Most apprentices fall into one of three categories:

  • someone who is just starting their career
  • someone who already has a job and wants to move forward in their company
  • someone who already has a job and wants to retrain to make a career change.

Previously restricted to school leavers and young people, apprenticeships are now a dynamic way of retraining people of all ages - there’s no upper age limit. The minimum age to become an apprentice is 16 and candidates can’t be in full-time education.

Benefits of an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships offer a unique combination of paid work and study. They’re an exciting option for anyone who wants to gain experience, upskill or change career while working.

They offer a chance to work, learn and earn:

  • workplace experience and skills development
  • a nationally recognised qualification
  • employee benefits and a wage
  • no student loans or tuition fees
  • contact with industry professionals.


Interested in becoming an apprentice? Search for current opportunities and apply here.

Find your apprenticeship

You can also check vacancies on employer websites or get in touch with your local careers service.

Apprenticeship Stories

What’s it like to work, earn and learn? Find out what apprentice life is really like.

Explore apprenticeship stories

Alternatives to Apprenticeships

Useful Information

Useful Links

United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA)
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Logistics UK
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The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
Find out more

Funding Options

Thinking about your finances is important when you're looking at courses and training - different types of funding support is available depending on what type of course you're interested in and where you are located. We recommend you contact the training provider for more information on course costs and financing, but here are some links to connect you to support available:

Skills Hub Scotland

Skills Hub Scotland is an online skill sharing marketplace creating new opportunities to learn and share skills. Wherever you are located - if you have a skill to share, or a skill to learn, Skills Hub Scotland can help.

Initially founded as a response to the Scottish Government’s CivTech 5 programme in 2020 and aiming to offer a platform for those in rural or remote locations, Skills Hub Scotland has been developed into an important sectoral resource. If you have a skill to share with others or are a training provider, list your workshop or course (all skills from all sectors are welcome). If you are a learner, use Skills Hub Scotland to search for and book a course!


STEM is an approach to learning and development that incorporates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learning in STEM connects to Education for Sustainable Development/Learning for Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals – this helps learners to understand that STEM plays a vital role in finding solutions to real world issues or challenges such as protecting biodiversity and tackling climate change. There are multiple pathways into a land-based STEM career including apprenticeships, further and higher education. This means that a career in STEM is open to everyone!

STEM Learning is the largest provider of STEM education and careers support in the UK. Their STEM Ambassadors programme sees volunteers representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. To become a STEM Ambassador, you can register via the STEM Learning website:

Lantra have worked in collaboration with STEM Ambassadors in Scotland to create two specific UK-wide Ambassadors schemes - Forestry and Aquaculture. Through these schemes, we want to make sure that those working in forestry and aquaculture have the support materials they need to take part in STEM activities. To find out more and register for the schemes, please follow the links below:

Smart Futures helps young people in Ireland discover the STEM subjects and careers that might be right for them. Co-ordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, their programme allows young people to connect with people that are working in STEM, the organisations they’re working in and what their interests and skills are.

Not sure what you want to do?

Why not take a look at the Industries Explorer as an introduction to the different areas you could work in.

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