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Supply Chain Management vs. Operations Management


Getting products into the hands of consumers is a complex process that involves many internal and external procedures and people along the way. Players involved in the process manage their parts through various types of oversights along with supply chain management and operations management.

Regardless of some similarities, these are two different processes and roles. Businesses need to understand how they should use these two areas to enhance value and efficiency, ultimately boosting profits. In this post, we will evaluate the commonalities and differences between these two areas so that you can decide better which career path is best for you. Let’s start!

What is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management consists of the collection of different materials, the manufacturing of the products, and delivery to the customers. A supply chain manager coordinates with other key players in the supply chain process – suppliers, logistic teams, and customers and often working internationally, managing suppliers, warehouses, purchasing orders, and forecasting.

Another important aspect of supply chain management is risk evaluation and security. These professionals should evaluate suppliers regularly along with their strategies and regulations, improve customer services, forecast demand to avoid over-supply, and coordinate with others in the business including finance, marketing, quality assurance, sales.

Supply chain management is essential for businesses because it can help them reduce costs with improved efficiency from leaner inventories and suppliers, provide better services with faster delivery and respond quickly to market innovations and demands. This field offers the assurance of corporate responsibilities in every aspect of production.

Related: Tips for Students to Increase Self-Awareness

What is Operations Management?

This field focuses on the efficient and effective functioning of a business. It includes maintenance, analysis of the production systems, and material planning. An operations manager coordinates with the internal operations, not telling how the products or services are moved but how they are developed. To kick-start in this field, professionals need to be skilled in preparing a rapport with organizational stakeholders and familiar with the different technology applications.

Operations management professionals should be skilled at the latest trends such as lean and agile concepts to help improve efficiency and reduce waste. Despite industry, these professionals forecast sales, work to improve responsiveness, ensure that the demands of the customers are fulfilled and maintain quality standards.

Commonalities between Supply Chain Management and Operations Management

Both supply chain management and operations management is likely to add some value to the businesses, supporting efficient processes and eventually driving higher revenues for the company. In the quest of those objectives, these two areas are inextricably connected.

To put it simply, supply chain management manages the process for having the products produced and without it, operations management would not have any product to oversee operations for. Some industries require both – supply chain management and operations management, whether the business is moving raw materials, products, services, money or data into the hands of its consumers.

These roles may overlap or fulfil by one person or department in smaller organizations. It is because the necessary skills for these roles are quite similar. Some of those similar skills have been given here:

  • Effective Communication
  • Organizational Skills
  • Cross-Functional Leadership
  • Goal Settings
  • Decision-Making

Major Differences between Supply Chain Management and Operations Management

The main difference between these areas is that supply chain management is concerned with what happens outside the organization – getting materials and delivering products. On the other hand, operations management is concerned with what happens inside the organization.

This major difference means that the supply chain management professionals spend time evaluating suppliers, negotiating contracts, while the operations management professionals are often involved in planning and managing the day-to-day operations and processes. The activities are typically the same in supply chain management. However, the responsibilities and roles may vary in operations management depending on the products or services the organization produces.

Supply Chain Management vs. Operations Management: Which Field You Should Choose?

Even though these profiles share some overlapping as well as intersecting skills, aspiring professionals must consider their area of interest. For instance, if you have an interest in the quality control, global markets, transportation and logistics, and designing value, you can pursue supply chain management. On the other hand, if you like planning, spearhead productions, staffing, and workflow, you would go to operations management. To put it simply, no one can tell you better about which field you should choose. It is purely your decision to decide on the field by keeping your previous education, interest, skills, and career objectives in mind.

Final Words

To kick-start either in supply chain management or operations management, you need to get a degree in the related field first. To know which country and university/college you should choose for your education, you can get in touch with AEC. Here, our dedicated team of professionals will help you filter out the best-fit options so that you can have a better tomorrow.

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