Operations and Supply Chain Management

JC Favier, Commercial Analyst at JUCY; Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce conjoint (Geography, Operations and Supply Chain Management, Marketing)

Overview

Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM) is concerned with all the facilities, processes and activities related to the journey of goods and services from the manufacturer/provider to the customer, as well as their reverse logistics. OSCM can be fast-paced and challenging, but if you enjoy finding creative solutions to problems and new ways to improve processes, this could be a very satisfying career for you.

Operations and supply chain managers are responsible for managing the integration of design, resources, processes and customer requirements. Their goal is to improve the efficiency of the supply chain and reduce costs. For that reason, they need to have oversight of the entire process, including:

  • Customer relationship management
  • Demand management
  • Order fulfillment
  • Quality control
  • Business process improvement
  • Manufacturing flow management
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Product development and commercialisation
  • Returns management

Current trends in OSCM

  • Fostering greater collaboration between customers and suppliers
  • Increasing focus on sustainability and ethical integrity in supply chains
  • Managing and mitigating supply chain risks
  • Understanding the implications of new technologies on the supply chain, including automation and blockchain applications
  • Better understanding of the total cost and service implications of alternate ports of entry, to help improve supply chain costs and performance
  • Adopting a demand-driven focus to manage demand more efficiently
  • Seeking cost improvements around inventory management, logistics operations, material management and manufacturing costs
  • Cashing in on the economic benefits to be gained from outsourcing all or part of a supply chain operation
  • Growing the e-commerce sector
  • Developing more efficient product lifecycle management processes
  • Addressing concerns about worker exploitation and modern slavery in supply chains

What does the future hold?

Sustainability in supply chains will become the expected norm, as consumers become more environmentally conscious and look to corporations to do the same. Initiatives will stretch throughout the value chain, from packaging to transportation and waste management.

E-commerce will continue to grow, and package volumes will increase. Going forward, there will be more emphasis on reusable packaging, and a widespread uptake in reducing, reusing and recycling amongst consumers.

Most companies will digitise their supply chains, if they haven’t already. Digital supply chains are leaner, help eliminate waste and minimise obsolescence through the use of advanced algorithms to evaluate multiple scenarios and create the best plans.

Source: Supply Chain Dive
Read about sustainability in New Zealand supply chains

What skills and attributes can I gain from my OSCM major?

  • An in-depth understanding of OSCM concepts, theories and practices
  • Practical application of knowledge
  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Logical and quantitative thinking
  • Independence – the ability to work without close supervision
  • Ability to measure and evaluate systems and processes
  • Ability to develop sustainable OSCM business practices
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Technological savvy
  • Commercial and business judgement and initiative
  • Relationship-building skills
  • Effective teamwork
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • A commitment to ongoing learning

OSCM career options

Possible roles include:

  • Operations analyst/consultant/manager
  • Supply chain analyst/consultant/manager
  • Business process engineer/designer
  • Change manager
  • Enterprise systems consultant
  • Operations analyst/consultant/manager
  • Production and scheduling planner/manager
  • Purchasing officer
  • Project manager
  • Quality manager
  • R&D manager
  • New product development manager

Where do OSCM graduates work?

Operations and supply chain managers are in high demand and not just in manufacturing. Graduates could find work in any industry where processes are important and products or materials are moved: fast moving consumer goods, healthcare, banking, education, state-owned enterprises, government, military, transport, aviation, entertainment, nonprofit, retail, energy, and of course, the freight and third party logistics industry.

OSCM graduate profiles

Major recruiters for OSCM students and graduates

University of Auckland clubs and societies for OSCM students

Auckland University Commerce Students Association (AUCSA)
AUCSA offers a channel for you to contribute suggestions to the Business School through class representatives and AUCSA executive members. AUCSA organises corporate forums where you can gain valuable contacts and networking skills, as well as a range of fun social activities.

More clubs and societies at the Business School

Professional associations for OSCM students and graduates

Depending on your area of interest, you could join one or more of these professional organisations:

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can also help you to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, events and job vacancies.

Useful resources

Careers New Zealand

The Careers New Zealand website provides useful salary information for a range of business and industry roles, as well as information on the difference a qualification makes to what you are paid, and advice on negotiating your salary. You can also search for salary information by job.

Careers New Zealand

Prospects

Prospects specialises in advice for UK university students and graduates. Much of the information is relevant to New Zealand students.

Prospects