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To people who are pursuing or have considered studying commerce or business, the decision of choosing a major can be challenging.
Commerce and business are broad, interconnected concepts that requires multiple aspects to form an association to operate a business, and that’s why students often find it hard to fathom which area they want to specialise in later.
After undertaking a foundation year to learn about all fundamental aspects of the business environment, the management field captured my interest. However, back then this concept was fairly new, and additional research was needed to gain a better understanding about management. This is when I discovered supply chain management. It is fascinating to become aware of how important this sector is to any business; it acts like a fluid to keep everything running smoothly and at an efficient cost.
Supply chain management (SCM) refers to the processes between operations within a business. The flow of goods and services is monitored closely using information technology to manage supply chain functions such as procurement, manufacturing, and marketing as well as the relationships from suppliers to retailers
People often mistakenly use these two terms and use them interchangeably, but they are in fact assigned to achieve different goals for the business. SCM manages relationships between firms to connect suppliers, wholesalers, and other partners, which aiming to maximise efficiency and produce value for the end consumers. On the other hand, logistics is responsible for planning, implementing, and controlling the movement of goods, services, and related information between firms and their partners. It is safe to say logistics comes under SCM’s umbrella and they are closely associated with one another.
Apart from dealing with the management of materials, information, and customers, SCM stipulates a great deal of interpersonal skills. If you are a people-oriented person, this is ideal! If you’re not, there’s no need to worry, as there is always time to learn something new. On that note, networking is crucial in maintaining a balanced and successful supply chain in any organisations. Especially in this new era of e-commerce, fluctuations in demand can cause businesses to struggle with their supply capacity, but with a backup through networking, the tension can be loosened up thanks to the guidance and favour offered by your supplier networks.
Even if your intended career path is SCM, be prompted to enhance your knowledge by studying another major that will compliment your SCM degree, such as finance or human resources management. This extra effort will elevate your position to stand out of the crowd when looking for a job, and you’ll be glad you dedicated yourself at university. In addition, information technologies such as Blockchain and telecommunications have become indispensable in modern SCM, so adding programming and software management to your subjects could be really useful.
You can go as far as you want! Although in theory, SCM is concerns the movement of goods, services and warehousing facilities, you will learn a diverse range of skills that will help you tackle lots of tasks in the industry and be impressive to employers. Working in SCM will expose you to all different types of work including financials, human resources and marketing, which all align with the strategic goal of the business. You can develop a solid skillset working as a supply chain planner that will benefit your career development in the long run.
Sometimes I wish first year was a little longer, since it felt quite abrupt deciding which major I should do from second year onwards. But if I could offer you one piece of advice in making this decision: research. Read articles about job insights, talk to as many people as you can, ask them what they do in their major and whether it turned out to be what they thought it would be. Hearing real stories from people in the industry will give you an idea of what to expect once you enter the workforce with your degree. It gives you a vivid picture of what you will be doing after graduating. Take your time in first year to explore your options, seek professional advice from the university and befriend your classmates, they are a great source of information you can count on.