Updated December 2022
Every product you see on a store shelf or online took a long and winding journey through a supply chain. Before a single pair of jeans can end up in your closet, for instance, it must go through a complex process of material sourcing, production, warehousing, and distribution.
Supply chain management is about coordinating each step of that process. Supply chain training teaches you how to do that, so your employer can save money and serve customers better.
Students learn what it takes to get a product from point of origin to point of consumption, including how to solve challenges, deal with clients, negotiate with suppliers, organize warehousing, transportation logistics, etc.
Supply chain degree programs are available, but this post focuses on a quicker path to employment—a supply chain diploma. Diplomas are built around the practical skills you need to get started in the industry.
So what exactly will you learn in a supply chain diploma program? Here are five key areas covered in class.
Procurement is the process of sourcing and buying materials, products, or services from external suppliers or vendors.
Companies procure the things they need to operate. For instance, a clothing manufacturer must obtain fabric, thread, sewing machines, etc.
And every business wants to make sure it can get what it needs when it needs it—and at a good price.
Supply chain courses teach you how the procurement process works. You'll learn how to identify what goods are needed, evaluate and select suppliers, and negotiate terms and conditions.
2. CONTRACT LAW
Understanding the laws that govern contracts is critical for any supply chain professional.
Before you enter into any formal agreements with suppliers, vendors, or customers, you need to have a solid grasp of each party's legal obligations.
That means knowing how contracts are formed and interpreted.
For instance, what does "good faith" mean and how does it apply? What are the issues surrounding indemnity and liability?
A good supply chain diploma will teach you the basics. You'll cover the ins and outs of contract law and learn how to create effective agreements.
So you're about to talk to a supplier that offers the resources your company needs. How can you go about getting the best deal for your employer?
It's all about negotiation.
You'll need to adapt your tactics for each situation. For instance, you might threaten to switch to another supplier if the price doesn't come down.
Or you might emphasize how your company deserves a lower price because it has worked with the supplier for many years.
Ultimately, you should aim to keep costs low and maintain positive relationships with suppliers. That way, you'll have a network of reliable sources to call on over the long term.
In a supply chain diploma program, students learn how to take a win-win approach to negotiations so that both parties benefit.
4. MANAGING WAREHOUSE OPERATIONS
Goods generally don't go straight from the production floor to store shelves. They typically flow through a warehouse.
That means trucks must be unloaded, shipping and receiving documents must be processed, and inventory must be checked and controlled.
Supply chain students learn how to manage warehouse operations to make sure orders get picked, packed, and delivered efficiently.
5. THE LOGISTICS OF TRANSPORTING GOODS
Making the best use of transportation options like trucks, planes, ships, and trains is an important part of keeping goods flowing.
William Rapisarda is an instructor in the supply chain program at Herzing College. He says the transportation course covers a range of valuable skills.
"Students learn how to calculate metric cubes versus weight, area versus volume. And they learn to determine the chargeable fees that come along with each calculation.
We take them through scenarios of optimizing product on a pallet, then a pallet into a truck, then into shipping containers, and finally, optimizing the area on a railway car. This is essential for managing costs through the transportation part of the supply chain."
DOES A SUPPLY CHAIN DIPLOMA INCLUDE REAL WORK EXPERIENCE?
A quality supply chain diploma provides real-world experience through an internship.
An internship gives you a chance to work alongside actual supply chain professionals, expand your skills, and boost your confidence.
This is a huge advantage when you're just starting out in the industry.
William says Herzing students are typically placed in manufacturing, health services, and transportation companies.
"For the most part, students perform junior roles in these organizations. It's also an assessment point for the organization to understand the level of knowledge of the student.
In most cases, students have their roles increased fairly quickly to include more challenging tasks and responsibilities. Some students get job offers after completing their internship."
WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH A SUPPLY CHAIN DIPLOMA?
Right after graduation, you can qualify for entry-level roles like:
☑️ Purchasing clerk
☑️ Procurement agent
☑️ Materials handler
☑️ Shipper and receiver☑️ Junior buyer
☑️ Logistics clerk
Earn your SUPPLY CHAIN DIPLOMA
Herzing's Supply Chain Management and Logistics diploma takes just 12 months and includes a six-week internship. Training is offered both in-person and online.
Graduates receive both a Herzing diploma and a Supply Chain Management Training (SMT) diploma from Supply Chain Canada. That means our training is recognized all across the country.
Have more questions? An admissions advisor can provide details on course schedules, application requirements, financial aid, and more.
Click below to explore the supply chain diploma and chat live with an advisor. We're here to help!