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What is Supply Management?

To understand what the degree involves, you should have a grasp of the function supply management plays in a business or organization. Some business dictionaries define it as the process of managing products and services necessary to the operation of the company. The duties include identifying, purchasing, and managing the resources used in its operation. The manager then buys the raw materials, arranges services, and transportation requirements. Cost control, risk management, logistics, and price negotiation are other responsibilities of the supply manager.

In large corporations, there could be a department or division of hundreds of employees involved in the process. Each person plays a role in keeping the manufacturing process or service running smoothly. Internet-based companies also require supply managers to handle contracts and transportation details.

As you research the term, you will likely encounter words – supply chain management (SCM). There is a subtle difference between the two. Generally, SCM refers to all phases from the cradle-to-grave, as it has been called. The entire production process from raw materials, to manufacture, to warehousing, and delivery is under the banner of SCM. It ensures the flow of goods or services from initial planning to customer or client delivery.

question mark clipWhat about the degree?

An internet search for Bachelor’s degrees in supply management does not reveal any hits. Learning institutions favor supply chain management. Despite the slight differences, as mentioned above, the terms seem more akin to siblings than cousins do. The similarity is evident in the coursework of the undergraduate programs. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in SCM is common. There are some variances in the degree title, which we’ll highlight later in this report.

Typically, SCM includes a focus on mathematics and business-related courses. Communication, such as written and public speaking are also prevalent. The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers a B.S. in the major, which has calculus and business skills in the first term. During the ensuing terms, classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics, accounting, finance, and business statistics further test your aptitude for numbers.

Another example that spotlights mathematics is the B.S. in SCM at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas-Dallas. This program includes classes in applied calculus, financial accounting, probability, and statistics. Probability and statistics explore density functions, families of distributions, random variables, expectation, moments, and statistical inference. Students lacking the knack for mathematics would find these courses to be quite challenging.

The business courses at Carey include law, supply chain strategy, leadership, and problem-solving. Strategy focuses on network design, sustainability, and managing the critical areas of the supply chain. Other courses in the business vein you may see are project management, purchasing, marketing, inventory, and supply chain management.

Grand Canyon University has a B.S. in Supply Chain and Logistics Management. Different names, but the emphasis remains intact in math classes. A course in financial accounting teaches General Accounting Principles (GAAP), in addition to the study of financial statements, balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows. Less complicated math in this particular class. However, students must master probability distributions, central limit theorem, hypothesis testing, and regression in the business statistics course.math clip 1

Mathematics and related subjects are worth highlighting, as these are crucial to the supply chain manager. The job involves a talented math graduate, who can decipher financial statements, predict cash flow, run probability tests, synthesize data, project production, and inventory demands. Students who struggled with mathematics in high school may opt for a different major.

Another vital component, outside of one’s academic excellence, is effective communication. The supply manager is in constant contact with different departments of the corporation – from raw material purchasers, accountants, transportation personnel, and employees involved directly in manufacturing the product. The successful individual must be able to apply techniques for creative problem solving, demonstrate collaboration, and encourage innovation. Courses in organizational behavior, ethics in business, and critical thinking would be advantageous for a career in the field of SCM.


The captioned query is highly subjective. What is difficult for one student might be a breeze for another. Some students have the aptitude for math, computers, or math, whereas others avoid these as much as possible. Supply management or SCM entails a lot of math and statistics, both of which are imperative to function effectively in the role. The reader, ultimately, is the best judge of what he/she struggles with academically to know if this major is a wise choice.

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