Major Issues Facing Supply Chain Managers

What are the major issues facing supply chain managers and how does it affect the companies they work for?

Supply chain managers face issues on a daily basis which require direct attention and quick response. With supply chain being at the core of business operations, these issues can directly affect the company in substantial ways.

Here are some of the bigger issues that affect supply chain managers.

Managing Inventory

supply chain managers inventory

Image Credit: Axisadman

Managing inventory goes beyond counting how many boxes are sitting in your warehouse. It’s a balancing act. Keeping enough inventory on hand so that all customer and client expectations are met. Appropriate timing prevents delays. Appropriate quantity prevents insufficient inventory while reducing effect on profits.

Managing Suppliers

Along with managing inventory comes managing suppliers. Supply chain managers are responsible for knowing how many suppliers are needed, how to handle delays, and how orders are received. Each step requires thought and a process that suits the business. They’re also responsible for finding suppliers with consistent and reliable service at a price that doesn’t hurt your bottom line.

Maintaining Safety and Quality

supply chain managers safety

Image Credit: Jonathan Warner

The globalization of supply chain brings concerns about the quality of products that are made in other countries. Particularly when components of a product need to meet regulatory standards. This puts companies at risk of recalls. This means that supply chain managers are responsible for ensuring suppliers and their products maintain safety and quality standards. Recalls or safety issues can damage a company’s reputation and affect things like cash flow.

Risk Mitigation

Companies that are too reliant on one supplier are vulnerable if that supplier can’t meet demands. Supply chain managers must mitigate risks so that an earthquake in Asia doesn’t halt the production line in North America. Adequate backup plans help ensure that the company’s supply chain is flexible to handle changes. For example, if one supplier goes bankrupt, the company’s supply chain continues on without profits being affected.


Supply chain managers have a complex job. They factor in all the risks along their supply chain, ensure the company has the supplies it needs when it needs them. When a company’s supply chain management is going smoothly, they are the unsung hero’s that make it happen. Even though it rarely is easy.

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