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What Does a Supply Chain Planner Do?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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A supply chain planner is responsible for making sure a company or organization has enough inventory on hand to meet established sales and service objectives. Those working in this field typically have a bachelor's degree in business, logistics, or a related engineering discipline, although some employers may accept experience in place of formal training. There are a number of different skills necessary for the job, including the ability to create a budget and preparing an accurate forecast. The accurate estimation and efficient management of inventory targets are the planner's responsibility.

Basic skills necessary for this position include the ability to collaborate with other corporate personnel or outside suppliers, to analyze large amounts of data and to engage in extensive planning. A supply chain planner usually has strong math skills and can do spreadsheet analysis. Problem solving skills are also needed in this position in order to resolve customer satisfaction, logistics, or production issues in a timely manner. The individual must also provide production dates and availability of finished goods to corporate executives, sales staff, or other company personnel.

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Inventory forecasting is one of the most critical aspects of the position. This requires a tactical approach to managing inventory and ensures that there is always enough but never too much inventory on hand. Strategic planning of manufacturing targets, product production, and logistics is also required, along with detailed plans that outline accurate and specific material requirements for suppliers and vendors. A supply chain planner must also identify and order items from supplemental sources to cover inventory shortages when necessary. Inventory forecasting may include creating a distribution plan for a company's export business as well.

Managing inventory targets in order to ensure a steady level of supply, manufacturing, or product availability is vital for this job, as is creating and implementing accurate distribution plans. Planners must resolve potential shortages or surpluses of products by managing or adjusting manufacturing output or inventory levels at the warehouse level. To do this, they must work closely with suppliers, managers, and other company personnel to create unified production plans based on inventory forecasts.

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