About Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management Definition

SCMA defines supply chain management (SCM) as:

The process of strategically managing flows of goods, services, finance and knowledge, along with relationships within and among organizations, to realize greater economic value through:

Supporting enterprise strategic objectives

Contributing to the achievement of strategic competitiveness of the enterprise

Contributing to the enhancement of the competitive advantage of the enterprise

Enhancing customer satisfaction

Knowledge Areas

Supply chain management involves the integration of core areas of knowledge (procurement, operations, logistics) and supporting knowledge areas (marketing, finance and accounting, human resources, knowledge management).

SCM is…

Growing in importance in the new global economy...and critical to the success of any organization today

Delivering more value to organizations than any traditional business function

A strategic source of competitive advantage commanding the attention of executives in the C-Suite

Requiring the professional leadership of those with specialized training and accreditation

At the dynamic edge of new developments in production and information technology, international security and trade, and environmental responsibility.

Supply Chain: From Supplier to Customer

Today, organizations cannot compete solely as individual firms. Increasingly, they must rely on effective supply chains to win in the networked global economy. With relationships extending beyond traditional enterprise boundaries, organizations are managing business processes throughout an integrated value chain of multiple companies – from the supplier's supplier to the customer's customer.

Beyond Cost Reduction…to Value Creation

Supply chains are evolving from entities that were primarily tactical to strategic sources of competitive advantage. They are no longer vehicles for simply reducing cost; they are now helping firms deliver significant and real value to customers and enhance shareholder value. They are no longer primarily talked of between buyers and suppliers; supply chains are now discussed in boardrooms.

Career Paths in Supply Chain Management

Depending on your capabilities, interests and ambitions, a career in supply chain management presents many options. With the right training and experience, there are opportunities from entry-level to executive in all sectors of the economy.

Sample Position Titles and Competencies

The Sample Position Titles and Competencies document provides examples of typical position titles within the field of supply chain management. Also included are sample functional and managerial/professional competencies that would be demonstrated at each career stage.

Occupational Standards

SCMA is working with its partners at the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council to develop occupational standards for roles within the supply chain.

Occupational standards can be used by employers in developing job descriptions, competency profiles, planning employee education and training, and establishing succession plans. Employees can use them in identifying skills and knowledge needed for particular positions, assessing their abilities and training needs, and determining career paths.

Occupational standards have so far been developed for positions including:

Purchasing and Inventory Clerk
Inventory Manager
Materials Manager
Logistics Manager
Purchasing Manager
Warehouse Operations Manager
Transportation Manager

Draft standards are now under developments for additional supply chain roles.

Career Stages

The knowledge, skills and abilities of an SCM professional must advance along with career stage. SCMA has identified three specific roles for SCM professionals as they progress through their careers.

Role of the SCM Professional

Provider of business advice and information

Tactical leader and operational decision-maker

SCM leader and strategic decision-maker


Early career


Career peak

Tool or Technique


Do or apply


Software or Service

Research and evaluate


Oversee implementation

Concept or Topic

Explain phenomena

Manage tactical assignments

Lead strategic initiatives

Additional Information

National Occupational Classification (NOC) – Human Resources and Skills Development Canada web site, the nationally accepted reference on occupations in Canada

Careers in Supply Chain FlowChart – from the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council

Supply Chain HR Study - From the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. The report provides projections on a wide variety of human resource metrics for the supply chain career sector. It showcases a sector that has a very involved employer base, engaged employees who want to succeed, and a very functional network of training service providers, including the SCMA. This is a very strong base with which to address human resource issues that affect the supply chain sector as a whole. Click here for the PDF Report.

Supply Chain HR Tools: An array of downloadable Human Resources tools specific to the supply chain sector are available through the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. It's free, just follow the information on the link.

Salary Calculator: This calculator, based on comprehensive research by SCMA and PurchasingB2B, Canadian Shipper and MM&D magazines, will help you calculate the average salary for supply chain professionals based on different categories, including:

  • Geographical location
  • Type of organization
  • Job title
  • Years of experience
  • Educational level
  • SCMP Designation status
  • Age and sex