How to become a supply chain coordinator (with definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It's crucial for businesses to have the right supply chain in place to continue operations in the long term. Supply chain coordinators are a fundamental part of ensuring business continuity, protecting companies and ensuring profits. If this role interests you, it's advantageous to know what the steps to becoming one are so you can begin planning your career. In this article, we discuss what a supply chain coordinator is and explain how to become a supply chain coordinator.

What is a supply chain coordinator?

A supply chain coordinator is a professional in a business with control over the company's supply chain. This means managing logistics for any incoming goods and services, ensuring that deliveries arrive promptly and arranging purchasing contracts and subscriptions with vendors. In addition to these tasks, supply chain coordinators report to management staff, discussing changes in the supply chain and any recent supply chain issues.

Supply chain coordinators have an important role in a range of different companies. Supply chains mean that businesses have the infrastructure in place for continuing production, and a coordinator protects a company from inefficiencies wherever possible. By increasing efficiency in the supply chain, companies reduce their costs and increase their per-unit rates of profit. A good supply chain coordinator improves a company's results quickly and is a valuable asset for an organisation.

Related: 12 careers in retailing (with salaries and duties)

How to become a supply chain coordinator

Here's how to become a supply chain coordinator in seven steps:

1. Complete your education

Completing your education is important for getting a role in any industry, especially in a coordination position. Achieving strong grades in both your GCSE and A-level exams means that you demonstrate a strong baseline of skills that employers rely on in the workplace. Focus on achieving high standards in both English and Maths at GCSE, as you use these skills in every workplace. At A-level, specialise in more relevant subjects for a role as a supply chain coordinator, such as business studies and economics.

After completing your A-levels and GCSEs, consider attaining a degree. Focusing on a degree such as management means that you have a better idea of the way that logistics works in a business, how supply chains manifest and tracking supply chains throughout a global network. A degree is beneficial for someone seeking a role as a supply chain coordinator. Employers see a candidate with a degree as someone with more knowledge of the industry, thus more opportunity to thrive in the role.

Related: 8 change management certification options to consider

2. Take part in an internship

An internship is a positive step towards a career as a supply chain coordinator. This is because an internship offers insight into the role of a supply chain coordinator, helps with understanding some of the tasks a supply chain coordinator completes and supports candidates in building an appropriate skillset. Internships are contracted positions in a company that involves working towards a qualification over an extended period, so interns learn more about the role and add useful additions to their CV throughout the internship.

Some candidates prefer work experience to an internship. Work experience is a short period of shadowing a senior member of staff, learning about the core aspects of the position and building an understanding of the day-to-day challenges of working as a supply chain coordinator. Most work experience periods are relatively short, offering a brief insight into the role rather than a more formal engagement, as with an internship. The contrast between the two means that prospective supply chain coordinators have plenty of options.

Related: 36 common internship interview questions and answers

3. Get workplace experience

Following on from completing an internship, your next step is to get workplace experience. This typically involves finding employment in an entry-level role on either a full-time or part-time basis. Entry-level roles allow you to gain invaluable experience working in an environment similar to that of a supply chain coordinator. Common entry-level roles to apply for include any position that's customer-facing, for example, shop floor assistants.

On average, aim to gain at least one to three years of workplace experience before you begin applying for supply chain coordinator vacancies. This is because the role of a supply chain coordinator is intermediate or advanced. Entry-level roles prepare you for these more senior positions by developing core interpersonal skills such as communication, plus any hard skills useful for the sector such as taking stock and arranging inventory.

Related: What is an entry-level job? (Plus tips on how to get one)

4. Follow news stories

Many companies source their products from overseas. This means it's important for a supply chain coordinator to be continually informed of any changes to their lines of supply which many factors can affect, including the climate and international travel rules. If you intend to become a supply chain coordinator, start checking the news at least once a day, such as in the morning. Check a range of news sources, such as online magazines or journals.

This ensures that you learn of any supply changes or issues as soon as they become public knowledge. This allows you to adequately prepare for any disruption to the supply chain and take proactive steps to minimise the effect that these disruptions have on the companies that you work for. Another benefit of following news stories is that you're also informed of the latest product trends, which you can then capitalise on if one of your duties is new product procurement.

Related: What are the three types of trend analysis? (With benefits)

5. Visit industry events

As with many other jobs, networking is a large part of a supply chain coordinator's duty. Having an extensive network as a supply chain coordinator means that you've built several meaningful relationships with clients, partners, suppliers and more. This has several benefits including being able to procure products at a cheaper price and learning of any career advancement opportunities before they're made available to the general public.

Industry events are an ideal way to start building your network, even before you find employment as a supply chain coordinator. You're able to meet individuals both at the same point in their career as you and further along in their career. This provides you with the opportunity to gain advice on how to advance your career by learning from those that have already done it. Industry events also keep you informed on the latest supply chain trends, plus often offer seminars or conferences to improve your skills.

Related: Your complete guide to networking at events (with steps)

6. Write a CV and cover letter

Once you've gained the necessary education, experience and insight, your next step is to begin preparing to apply for jobs. The first step in doing so is to write a general CV and cover letter template that you then customise when applying for jobs. A CV for supply chain coordinator roles is typically no more than two sides of A4 paper.

A supply chain coordinator cover letter is no more than one side of A4 paper. Supply chain coordinator CVs and cover letters follow general formatting conventions. When writing your CV and cover letter, keep your format professional and your tone formal. Most CVs and cover letters are attached digitally via email or an internal applicant system but, if your prospective employers expect you to hand in a paper copy, print on standard white A4 paper.

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

7. Start applying

The last step in becoming a supply chain coordinator is to begin applying for vacancies advertised within your local area. With each vacancy, tailor your CV and cover letter to suit the requirements as the employer outlines them. This demonstrates to the employer that you meet their criteria and have taken the time to consider the role in depth. If there are any other unique requirements, such as attaching references, ensure that you fulfil each of these correctly.

Once you begin to apply for supply chain coordinator vacancies near you, prospective employers may invite you to attend an interview. These interviews are typically in-person but may be remote on occasion. Supply chain coordinator positions rarely require any other assessment asides from the interview, but a second interview is also commonplace if the hiring manager is deciding between a final selection of candidates. Following an interview, you typically hear of the outcome of your application in the coming days and weeks.

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