Supply chain assistant

Supply chain assistant article illustration


Supply chain assistants work closely together with managers in the operations processes, namely purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution processes. They help with administrative and pragmatic follow-up of actions such as invoicing, drafting and preparation of contracts and purchasing orders, reconciliation of inventory against documents, and communication with distribution channels.

The duties of a supply chain assistant typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring inventory levels to ensure that adequate stock is available for customers
  • Understanding customer needs and preferences to recommend new products or services to meet their needs
  • Developing marketing strategies for specific products or services to promote sales
  • Reviewing inventory records for accuracy and any possible problems with storing items
  • Working with other departments to coordinate activities such as shipping, receiving, storing, picking, packing, and expediting goods
  • Preparing reports detailing inventory levels and other supply chain data as needed
  • Managing inventory by ordering new goods when supplies are low
  • Maintaining relationships with suppliers to ensure a continuous supply of goods and services
  • Planning and implementing supply chain strategies that meet organizational goals

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to supply chain assistant:

global supply chain assistant
supply chain logistics assistant
production assistant
supply chain supervisor
supply chain officer

Working conditions

The work environment for a supply chain assistant is usually in an office setting, working with other managers and staff. There may be some travel required to visit suppliers or manufacturing plants. The job is generally a full-time position, Monday through Friday, although some evening and weekend work may be required. The job can be stressful at times, due to the need to meet deadlines and coordinate the work of many different people. However, supply chain assistants usually find the work to be challenging and rewarding.

Minimum qualifications

Supply chain assistants are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, logistics, or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Many employers prefer candidates who have completed a formal education program in supply chain management. These programs typically include coursework in business, accounting, economics, statistics, mathematics, engineering, information technology, and other relevant disciplines.

Supply chain assistants typically receive on-the-job training from their current position. This training helps the supply chain assistant learn the company’s policies and procedures. It also helps them learn the specific software and computer programs the company uses.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Supply chain assistant is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Supply chain assistant career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to supply chain assistant.

administrative assistant
fundraising assistant
management assistant
ICT buyer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of supply chain assistant. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of supply chain assistant with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

forecast manager
purchasing manager
promotion assistant
ICT vendor relationship manager
supply chain manager

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of supply chain assistant.

  • Office software: The characteristics and functioning of software programs for office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, email and database.
  • Supply chain principles: Characteristics, operations and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to the customer.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of supply chain assistant.

  • Perform business research: Search and collect information relevant to the development of businesses in different fields ranging from legal, accounting, finance, up to commercial matters.
  • Organise business documents: Put together documents coming from the photocopier, the mail, or the daily operations of businesses.
  • Support managers: Provide support and solutions to managers and directors regarding their business needs and requests for running a business or a business unit’s daily operations.
  • Use office systems: Make appropriate and timely use of office systems used in business facilities depending on the aim, whether for the collection of messages, client information storage, or agenda scheduling. It includes the administration of systems such as customer relationship management, vendor management, storage, and voicemail systems.
  • Perform office routine activities: Program, prepare, and perform activities required to be performed every day in offices, such as mailing, receiving supplies, updating managers and employees, and keeping operations running smoothly.
  • Budget for financial needs: Observe the status and availability of funds for the smooth running of projects or operations in order to foresee and estimate the quantity of future financial resources.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of supply chain assistant. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Operations department processes: The different processes, duties, jargon, role in an organisation, and other specificities of the operations and manufacturing department within an organisation such as purchasing, supply chain processes, and goods handling.
  • Inventory management rules: The specific principles and techniques used in order to determine the approapriate level of inventory required.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
  • Sales department processes: The different processes, duties, jargon, role in an organisation, and other specificities of the sales department within an organisation.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of supply chain assistant. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Purchase supplies: Purchase and replenish supplies; make sure that all required goods are available in stock.
  • Interpret business information: Retrieve and analyse different kinds of information with regard to the management of a business in order to draw conclusions on projects, strategies, and developments.
  • Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, cooperation and contract negotiation.
  • Monitor manufacturing quality standards: Monitor quality standards in manufacturing and finishing process.
  • Monitor staff absences: Keep an overview of the employees’ vacations, sick leaves and absences, register these in the agenda and file the necessary documents and certificates.
  • Carry out inventory control accuracy: Implement control procedures and documentation related to inventory transactions.
  • Use production planning software: Use software that facilitates planning and scheduling in the manufacturing industry and enables the optimisation of resource allocation.
  • Coordinate purchasing activities: Coordinate and manage procurement and renting processes including purchasing, renting, planning, tracking and reporting in a cost efficient way on an organisational level.
  • Analyse supply chain strategies: Examine an organisation’s planning details of production, their expected output units, quality, quantity, cost, time available and labour requirements. Provide suggestions in order to improve products, service quality and reduce costs.
  • Maintain relationships with stakeholders: Communicate on mineral issues with contractors, politicians and public officials. Promote trust and integrity in order to protect the company’s assets and financial position.
  • Use sales forecasting softwares: Operate sale forecasting softwares in order to help in determining demand levels for products with higher levels of accuracy.
  • Handle returns: Manage goods that have been returned by customers, following the applicable goods return policy.
  • Prepare purchasing reportings: Prepare documentation and files related to product purchases.
  • Provide manufacturing documentation: Provide clients with the appropriate technical documents such as manuals, technical reports, metallurgical investigations, etc.
  • Assist in planning production scheduling: Contribute to the planning of the production schedule with information on previous periods of production as to avoid waste and increase efficiency.
  • Issue sales invoices: Prepare the invoice of goods sold or services provided, containing individual prices, the total charge, and the terms. Complete order processing for orders received via telephone, fax and internet and calculate the customer’s final bill.
  • Forecast production quantities: Determine the most adequate production levels of products according to forecasts and analysis of historic consuming trends.

ISCO group and title

3343 – Administrative and executive secretaries

  1. Supply chain assistant – ESCO
  2. Assistant Supply Chain Manager Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: By Daniela Brusamolin – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on March 25, 2023

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