What is Supply Chain Management and why is it Important?

The world we live in seems smaller due to globalisation and this has vastly impacted the corporate industry. Physical spaces have evaporated, markets have come closer and businesses are choosing to operate in multiple countries with Ireland enjoying the presence of giants like Microsoft, PayPal, Apple, Facebook and many others. 

As trade is no longer confined and operates on an international scale, supply chains are now more important than ever, and are a diversified part of the work structure. Every business is on the lookout for better, cheaper products and manufacturers as they must meet the requisite demand of their ever-growing global customer base by providing quality products on time. Within these parameters, an organisation also has to remain profitable and meet its objectives. 

So, what is supply chain management (SCM) and why is it valuable? This blog post addresses this and explains the benefits of supply chain management.

What is supply chain management

To understand supply chain management, you must first understand what a supply chain is. For a company to create a product, they must work with a range of suppliers. This wide chain is made up of nodes or links and consists of multiple manufacturers who provide raw materials. It also consists of warehouses where goods are stored and the distribution centre from where the finished product finally reaches customers. 

Ireland has always enjoyed global popularity as an exporter of goods and some of its top companies such as Accenture (computer services), Covidien (medical equipment, supplies) and the Kerry Group (food processing) export goods across the world. 

Supply chain management is responsible for supervising and managing all operations that involve turning raw materials into the finished product and then making them available to customers. It also ensures that the company delivers value through its product and gains an edge over its competitors as the entire process is streamlined. 

How does supply chain management work?

SCM plays a vital role in ensuring that a company earns profits as it keeps a check on internal inventories, distribution, production, sales and other factors. This way, all excess cost is eliminated, and the product is delivered on time without compromising on quality. 

This booming sector promises growth, and in 2019, the Republic of Ireland shipped $169.7 billion (US Dollar) worth of goods globally. This field is hugely popular and many students are taking Supply Chain Management courses to propel their career in this global industry. 

If you break down SCM further, it has five major components which includes the following: 

  • Planning - consists of managing all resources and designing an efficient and effective supply chain.
  • Sourcing - choosing the right supplier for goods and services. 
  • Making - systematises the process of accepting raw materials, quality

testing, scheduling deliveries, packaging for delivery and more.  

  • Delivering - the logistics here take into account customer orders, dispatching loads and creating invoices, among other delivery activities. 
  • Returning - creating a responsive network in case of defects or returns. 

Benefits of supply chain management

The rise in logistics and supply chain companies in Ireland has had a direct impact on the country’s GDP which has increased by 25% since 2015 - a clear demonstration of the value SCM holds. 

SCM not only affects the organisation, but also the customer, and if done correctly, it brings customer satisfaction and impacts customer services. This, in turn, increases the consumer base of an enterprise and brings profit. 

The numerous benefits and rising demand has given shape to various jobs in this field. From part-time courses in Supply Chain Management to Supply Chain degrees online, you can pick a course of your choice and enjoy a stable career. Among the many advantages that supply chain management offers to a business, here are the top ones: 

  1. Improved collaboration - according to a report by software company, Oracle, 76% of global companies do not have important information regarding their supply chain. SCM software solutions eradicate this problem and offer fluidity and transparency in information. This way, all data can be accessed to understand activities within the supply chain.
  2. Enhanced quality control - quality control issues are a major hurdle for many companies. Irish organisations place a lot of emphasis on quality initiatives and standards. SCM allows organisations to have control over their suppliers and even their supplier’s supplier. Through SCM, managers can conduct periodic audits, verify compliance steps and check if the supplier is meeting the quality requirements. 
  3. Higher efficiency rate - when companies have access to real-time data, they stay informed on material availability and manufacturing delays. This allows the organisation to have a backup plan if they cannot source materials from their original supplier. Smart automation prevents them from running out of stock or encountering any delays.

If you are keen to forge a career in supply chain management, your first step is to take an SCM course. Given the boom in this sector in Ireland, you can enrol to study the Online Diploma in Supply Chain Management at IBAT College Dublin. The course is designed to offer a comprehensive understanding of the industry and offers valuable knowledge, which will help you land a great job, so sign up today to reap the benefits!


This article was written by Nandita Kaushal and edited by Anisa C.