Updated on: 04.02.2022

Supply Chain Manager - An important cross-sectional function

Subject area


Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers fulfil an important cross-sectional function. Managing global supply chains requires know-how and foresight.

Supply Chain Management - What are the tasks of a Supply Chain Manager?

Due to the increasing development of complex and international corporate networks, supply chain management is taking on a key function in many companies. Supply chain management is particularly important in the automotive industry and is regarded as a key success factor for achieving competitive advantages. Industry-specific challenges are seen particularly in the advancing globalisation, the development of new growth markets and changed global market conditions. In addition, the complexity of the value creation networks is being exacerbated by rising cost pressure and increasing customer requirements.

These drivers of change can only be mastered through a targeted realignment of value creation and the global networking and cooperation of one's own company with international suppliers. This task falls to the supply chain manager. This role is responsible for the design and planning of corporate networks. Thematic focal points are the:

  • Determining the production and manufacturing strategy
  • Optimal design of the sourcing strategy
  • Collaboration on the customer service strategy
  • Planning and control of the production network

Supply chain manager makes far-reaching decisions

Particular importance is attached to the spatial design of business networks. Within the framework of location planning, strategic and far-reaching decisions have to be made that are difficult to revise with considerable losses. The entire production infrastructure is largely determined by location decisions. The focus is increasingly on relocation decisions to open up emerging growth regions and on local production close to the customer.

Global strategic vision required

Global companies no longer produce and invest only in their traditional production countries, but far beyond. It is possible that a supply chain manager takes over the planning for more than 70 countries. Both manufacturers and suppliers have a worldwide presence and operate in global production networks.
For several years now, the automotive industry, for example, has been undergoing a spatial and structural upheaval due to the increasing saturation of traditional sales markets. Large volume markets such as the USA, Western Europe and Japan are experiencing stagnating or even declining growth, so that only by opening up new growth markets can the company's existence be secured in the long term.

Decisions under profit and cost pressure

International competition is increasingly intensifying the pressure on profits and costs. This is partly triggered by the price consciousness of customers who are not prepared to accept additional costs for quality and service advantages. The result is a loss of market share to cheaper suppliers. Supply chain management and supply chain managers are called upon to find the appropriate answer. Many supply chain managers therefore focus on intensive cost management and the implementation of rationalisation measures in order to increase the competitiveness of their own supply chain.

Supply Chain Manager - Training Paths

Like product management, supply chain management is also a classic cross-sectional function. Therefore, a wide variety of educational backgrounds can be found in the field of supply chain management. In many cases, the training path begins with a degree in business administration or engineering. Since the job description of supply chain managers is also becoming increasingly IT-based, graduates of computer science courses are also increasingly found in the field of supply chain management.