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44 Most Common Supply Chain Management Interview Questions & Answers [For Freshers & Experienced]

There are a lot of sectors that have witnessed significant growth since the pandemic and emerged as economic boosters. Supply Chain is one among them.

According to a recent survey, the global market for supply chain management is estimated to grow by 11.2%, reaching a value of US$ 37.41 billion by 2027, up from US$ 15.85 billion in 2019.

Naturally, there is increased interest in this field and if you can land a job in this field, you are bound to have a promising career ahead. The supply chain sector requires exceptionally skilled and talented individuals.

The first step to landing a job in this sector is to enrol in a supply chain management course and then bag an interview with an established company.

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Granted it is a tough nut to crack, but you can do well if you manage to impress your interviewers with your knowledge of the field.

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So, here is a list of supply chain management interview questions and answers to help you out.

Top 44 Most Frequently Asked Supply Chain Management Interview Questions and Answers

1. Define Supply Chain Management.

Supply chain management, or as it is popularly called, SCM is defined as the thorough supervision of every aspect of the supply chain (including raw materials, data, and finances) from the start to finish.

In the process of creating and satisfying demands, supply chain management works to integrate and stabilize the flow of processes from the production of goods to their eventual delivery.

This puts executives in supply chain management in direct touch with everyone, from suppliers to customers.

2. What is the Ultimate Objective of Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is driven towards achieving efficiency in its operations and maximizing productivity in an organization. Companies hope to satisfy the demands of people by delivering the right goods to them on time while profiting from doing so.

While streamlining the whole process, supply chain managers ensure that waste is minimized, and there is productive utilization of everyone’s time, allowing the organization to cut costs. All of these smaller goals lead to one ultimate goal, which is to achieve efficiency.

Read: Kickstart your product manager career with IMT Ghaziabad & upGrad.

3. What Do You Mean by Affreightment ?

The term affreightment arises from freight. It refers to the amount of money that is paid to a charterer in return for renting his vessel to carry the goods.

4. What Comprises Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is incomplete without including collaborative and integrative practices with its channel partners. Suppliers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and customers are involved in the success of a supply chain operation.

Supply chain managers must collaborate with suppliers, keep track of demand, integrate the services of wholesalers and distributors, and effectively communicate with everyone involved, including customers, in the process.

Read: Essential management skills for a successful career

5. How Do You Define SKU Keeping in Mind the Supply Chain?

SKU stands for a stock-keeping unit. It is related to the inventory management field. When we say SKU, it refers to a particular item stored in a particular place in the inventory.

6. What Do You Understand by Compliance Labels? 

A compliance label for a product is made with due attention to the standardized procedures of the industry associated with the product. It plays a crucial role in import/export where it is in the hands of the government agencies to define and check these label requirements for exported or imported products.

7. What is the Role of Logistics in Supply Chain Management?

The entire process of monitoring the transporting of goods and services from one place to its intended destination is termed as “logistics.” The term logistics was originally used to refer to the transportation of equipment to military armies on the ground.

However, in modern times, logistics is not just limited to its definition. It can shapeshift very easily to fit into the demands of an organization. It is more than just delivering the final goods to the consumers.

The logistics department is also tasked with the responsibility of warehousing, managing outbound and inbound transportation, planning to meet demands, and handling materials. They are also in charge of inventory management, transport management, and fulfillment of orders.

Also Read: Demand of Supply Chain

8. What is the Importance of Logistics?

Logistics is important because if the consumers do not get their desired goods, the whole point of production is invalid. Logistics might seem like an insignificant process that is carried out at the end, but it carries the load of the entire process of production.

Logistics isn’t something that comes into play when the goods are manufactured and ready to be shipped. It is a process that is active throughout the production. In fact, logistics sets into motion even before the production starts. The procurement process of raw materials is the role of logistics.

Moving on, it also takes care of transportation and warehousing. Finally, when it comes to the delivery of goods, everyone is aware of the charm that logistics works in bringing our goods safely — and on time — to us.

Read: Product manager growth and career options.

9. What is the Difference Between Supply Chain Management and Logistics?

Supply chain management and logistics are two very different processes. While supply chain management is confined to the bigger picture, logistics is comparatively small.

  • Logistics is all about producing the goods in one organization and distributing them amongst the consumers who demand the goods.
  • Supply chain management, on the other hand, is a group of organizations that strive to distribute goods in voluminous quantities among their consumers. In this sense, it is a large scale operation involving multiple moving parts.

10. What are the Activities Carried Out in Logistics? 

Logistics operations are mainly confined to three broad categories. This includes collecting goods from the supplier, warehousing, and delivering to intended consumers.

However, that’s just a very vague definition of everything that goes on at the operational level in logistics.

To begin with, the desired resources are picked up from the supplier, and packaged for transportation. This can be via air, sea, or road. At the destination, the goods are cleared of customs and delivered to the warehouse where they are stored.

While at a storage facility, these goods are checked for quality and are grouped accordingly. Details of the inventory are checked for deficits if any.

In case there is a shortage of goods, replenishing is done. Goods are then sent to stores or wholesalers for distribution. Logistics also covers the returns process.

In short, logistics is responsible for procuring goods from suppliers, managing received goods, and facilitating delivery to end customers.

11. Define Advance Shipping Notice. 

It is sent to the customer before the delivery. It contains all the information about the shipment of their products. It comprises details related to the carrier of the shipment, when the shipment can be expected, etc.

12. What Do You Understand by Anti-Dumping Duty?

It is an import duty that is levied when the charges of the imported goods are lower than the decided price in the market of the exporter’s country. This results in deficits in the domestic market of the importing country.

13. Can You Explain Less Than Truckload?

“Less than truckload” occurs when the transport owner and shipper enter a contract where the owner is not paid in full for the truck. The price of the shipment is taken into account depending on the weight of the goods and the distance it will travel.

14. What is Dead Weight Tonnage?

The difference in a ship’s laden weight and unladen weight is known as dead weight tonnage. What this means is, that the weight of all items on the ship is taken into account except for the weight of the ship.

15. What Do You Mean by Blanket Way Bill?

A Way Bill containing two or more consignments of freight is known as Blanket Way Bill.

16. What are the Main Issues Transportation Faces During Warehousing? 

The process of warehousing is not as simple as we think. It suffers from tracking and communication issues. A warehouse’s safety is a major deciding factor for storing goods.

Any delays are accounted for and the costs incurred are also sometimes concerning.

17. During Warehouse Transportation, What are the Safety Points to be Taken Care of?

Warehouse transportation is not the safest process out there. It comes with its own set of risks. One must always be careful enough to dodge them.

  1. Sharp objects must be cleared off right away.
  2. Any loose flooring or those that can cause tripping should be taken care of.
  3. Spills should also be taken care of right away.
  4. Fire exits should be functional.
  5. Proper use of garbage cans should be encouraged.
  6. Items should be placed in their designated spots.
  7. Cords and wires must have a safe separate space away from the walking space

18. What are the Main Challenges Related to the Supply Chain that Companies are Currently Facing?

The supply chain is a vast and fruitful field, brimming with immense opportunities for exploration and experimentation. In the present competitive market, companies that do not invest in supply chain management end up paying a hefty price.

These companies fail to take into account many crucial factors like:

  • Rising costs throughout the supply chain.
  • Consumer demands for improved delivery speed and customer satisfaction.
  • Volatile risks in the supply chain such as market fluctuations, trade disputes, etc.
  • The complexities of risk and cost management.

Although an interviewer might not ask each one of these questions to you during the supply chain interview, we hope this article gave you a good idea of what you should expect.

Read: Product management career path and its scope

19. What are the Roles of a Supply Chain Manager?

This is one of those interview questions for supply chain managers that tests your understanding of the supply chain manager’s duties. A supply chain manager supervises and regulates an organization’s supply chain and logistic operations and techniques. They ensure the organization’s efficient working and maximize profits. Moreover, they adopt a critical role in developing and maintaining outstanding rapport with vendors and distributors. With the help of their analytical skills, math skills, and the capability to understand supply and demand concepts, they ensure flawless supply chain management. They track orders, shipments, sales trends, and methods to maximize profits and decrease losses. Furthermore, they accelerate supply using the available technology.                           

20. What would a supply chain manager do if a company’s warehouse ran out of stock?

It is one of the trickiest interview questions for supply chain officers because it demands an in-depth understanding of the scenario. It denotes the situations when the businesses might run low on their products’ stock. You must answer this question calmly and handle it logically when asked in an interview. When products run out of stock, you would first discern the product’s shortage or materials. You will then determine the amount left (if any). Finally, you would meet with the original supplier to check if you can obtain enough orders of supplies.

21. Which skills are required to be successful in supply chain management?

It is one of the popular interview questions for supply chain managers. Usually, hiring managers ask this question to check if the candidates’ skills align with the supply chain manager role’s requirements. Communication abilities and customer service are the two key skills you must have to become successful in supply chain management. They help you when you negotiate with suppliers. Being courteous and professional leads to powerful helps you to build reliable relationships with customers.

22. What are the key elements in inventory planning and management?

Many interview questions for supply chain officers are related to inventory, which is one of the most important ones. Hiring managers expect you to make significant decisions about the number of items to order and how frequently to order. You can explain how to increase profits effectively by maintaining enough inventory levels. Inventory and supply levels can be maintained by reviewing inventory numbers and product orders for the last few months. You can use this data to know how many products to order for the next months.

23. How can a supply chain manager’s skills and experience add value to the business?

Employers often use these types of supply chain manager interview questions to assess candidates’ strengths and backgrounds. They determine whether the candidate is the best fit for the role or not based on the answer to this question. A supply chain manager’s negotiation abilities and communication skills can help develop long-term relationships with suppliers and clients. These skills help them to negotiate quality product rates that fit well in the company’s budget.

24. What would you improve your company’s supply chain management processes?

Employers may ask these types of supply chain manager interview questions to know how they can enhance their company’s overall work. The supply chain managers handle the purchasing and shipping of the company’s products. They better know the company’s products. Going through customer reviews indicates which products customers are satisfied with. New supply chain management systems can be implemented to accelerate manufacturing and deliveries.

25. How does supply chain management work?

It is one of the fundamental supply chain officer interview questions and answers. Supply chain management is the integrated management of the flow of goods. It entails all processes that convert raw materials into finished products. Companies can reduce excess costs and deliver products to customers faster and more efficiently after managing the supply chain. Effective supply chain management saves companies from costly recalls and charges. The five most important elements of supply chain management are creating a strategy, sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, and returns. The supply chain management controls and reduces costs and avoids supply shortages.

26. What is the difference between SCM and Supply Chains?

It is one of the tricky supply chain officer interview questions and answers. A supply chain denotes the network of companies, individuals, activities, resources, and technologies used to manufacture and sell products or services. It begins with the raw materials’ delivery from a supplier to a manufacturer and terminates with the finished product’s delivery to the consumer.

SCM supervises every touchpoint of a company’s service or product, from creation to the final sale. Several places in the supply chain can add value or incur expenses to a business. An effective SCM can decrease costs, boost revenues, and improve a company’s bottom line.

27. What are the types of Supply Chain Models?

(i) Continuous Flow Model: It depends on a manufacturer producing the same good repeatedly and expecting customer demand will small variation. (ii) Agile Model: It prioritizes flexibility according to the company’s requirements. (iii) Fast Model: It prioritizes the fast turnover of a product with a small life cycle. (iv)Flexible Model: It denotes that production can easily be increased or decreased. (v) Efficient Model: It uses equipment most efficiently in addition to handling inventory and efficiently processing orders. (vi)Custom Model: It is frequently used by highly specialized industries (like automobile manufacturers) with extraordinary technical requirements.

Before appearing for an interview, you must prepare for such basic supply chain questions.

 28.  How are supply chain management and ethics related?

You can include such unique questions when preparing for supply chain questions. Ethics has become a significant facet of supply chain management, and led to the generation of a set of principles known as supply chain ethics. Investors and consumers are influenced by how companies manufacture their products and handle their workforce. Consequently, companies respond by introducing measures to control waste and reduce environmental impact.

29. What are the benefits of supply chain management?

(i) SCM reduces the cost of running a business. It achieves this by decreasing purchasing and production expenditures. (ii) It develops partnerships that can foster future growth.  (iii) It balances the supply of products according to market demand. (iv)It provides effective and efficient customer service.

30. Will supply chain management be automated?

It’s implausible that supply chains will be fully automated currently. They might be fully automated in the future. Currently, many businesses prioritize implementing new automotive technologies for tedious and manual tasks. Although supply chains are trending towards an automated future, there’s a long way to go. The early adopters can benefit the most by surpassing digitally immature competitors via supply chain automation. These types of supply chain questions can help predict the supply chain management’s future.

31. What do you think is the most important component of a supply chain?

This is one of the most important supply chain management interview questions where you must answer that a supply chain’s most important component is customer happiness. Then continue that, ‘This is so that items and services can be delivered to clients on schedule, in acceptable condition, and to their satisfaction or beyond—the ultimate goal of any supply chain.’ 

‘Many supply chain components, including demand planning, inventory control, logistics, and transportation, must cooperate well in order to accomplish this goal.’

32. Do you believe your knowledge of current supply chain management trends is current?

To ensure their prospective employees stay ahead of the competition and adopt cutting-edge solutions, many corporate employers choose to ask supply chain management interview questions like this to see if the candidate is current on industry technology innovation trends.

So, discuss some of the technology and interview questions you’ve recently learned about for supply chain management and how they could help the company.

Here’s How To Answer Exactly:

“A few days ago, I came across a trend about transportation handling software applications. It incorporated all operations beginning at a single panel through the use of automated monitoring systems. Productivity levels can be greatly increased by using this panel, which can be operated from a mobile unit to control inventory volumes, supervise distributions, and handle shipments from any location.”

33. What steps do you undertake to get prepped for the holiday season?

During the holiday season, many enterprises hit their highest-ever sales volume due to the unexpected influx of sales and revenue. Employers who prepare for this significant spike in sales are typically desired by hiring managers. Describe this plan in your response.

Here’s how to answer these types of supply chain management interview questions exactly: “I will order extra materials and supplies for things in high demand after reviewing the sales figures from previous Christmas seasons. I will then contact our transportation staff and provide them with an overview of the shipment and delivery schedule for the next few months.”

34. Which software have you utilized for supply chain management?

Employers ask these supply chain management interview questions to look for solid familiarity with widely used software solutions to document updates on their products’ manufacture and delivery status. In your response, please describe how you connect with workers, delivery drivers, suppliers, and manufacturers using communication technologies.

Example: “At my previous job, I discovered and modified a software program that let us keep an eye on supply and inventory levels, manage transportation hubs, and work well with customers. By using this software, we were able to boost our efficiency by 20%.”

35. Are you able to distinguish between Direct and Indirect Channels of Distribution?

The channels of direct distribution do not involve any middlemen. The manufacturer makes direct sales to customers. Direct distribution channels are excellent for small enterprises.

Large-scale productions work best with indirect distribution channels, which are dependent on wholesale suppliers. Furthermore, they raise fees in response to the availability of outside vendors and channel partners between the business and the customer.

36. How do you manage tight deadlines and high-pressure circumstances in the supply chain? Could you describe a time when you handled similar situations well?

By asking supply chain management interview questions like this, employers look for someone who can give a concrete example of handling a high-pressure situation, exhibits great time management abilities, and maintains composure under duress.

So, tell that: “I prioritize tasks, collaborate with the team well, and concentrate on problem-solving when faced with tight deadlines.” For example, we once had a production delay that could have affected a crucial delivery to a customer. I immediately examined the situation, reassigned resources, and worked with the manufacturing and logistics teams to speed up the process. We were able to fulfill the customer’s order and meet the deadline with efficient coordination, which guaranteed customer happiness and preserved commercial ties.”

37. Has there ever been an unforeseen delay with a shipment at your warehouse? How did you respond to the circumstance?

Unexpected delays in shipments are possible. Although it’s one of the most commonly asked supply chain management interview questions or interview questions for supply chain management employers will want to know how you prevent a significant decline in customer happiness and productivity from occurring. A workable solution that maintains supplier and customer satisfaction in this scenario should be included in your response.

Here’s What You Must Reply: “I’ll get in touch with the driver or supplier if there’s a delay to find out why and to get an updated delivery date. I would then determine if we had bought any extra supplies to replace the ones that were delayed by looking at our buffer inventory.”

38. How are you going to go about negotiating supplier contracts?

When faced with supply chain management interview questions or supply chain interview questions and answers of such an advanced level, reply subtly like this:

“My strategy in contract negotiations with suppliers will be to outline our requirements and expectations precisely, point out any potential threats, and work toward a win-win solution. To negotiate advantageous terms and conditions, I will carry out market research to comprehend supplier capabilities and price structures. The secret to successful supplier negotiations is relationship-building, open communication, and transparency.”

39. How would you manage a group of supply chain experts using your leadership style? How do you inspire and drive your group to produce outstanding outcomes?

Supply chain management interview questions or interview questions about supply chain management like this are commonly asked by employers looking for candidates with strong motivating abilities, effective leadership, and a commitment to producing outstanding results. An example response would be,

“As a leader, I want a participative leadership style in which I value the opinions of my team members and involve them in decision-making. I provide team members clear instructions, realistic goals, and the freedom to control their work. By acknowledging and applauding accomplishments, offering frequent coaching and feedback, and cultivating a positive work atmosphere, I inspire and motivate my team. My team members have flourished when I foster a culture of constant enhancement and support their professional growth, which has led to high output and consistently superior outcomes.”

40. What is your procedure for locating suppliers for a product that has 100 pieces?

Prospective employers could ask these types of supply chain management interview questions to inquire about supplier-finding procedures for larger products by posing situational questions. Describe a procedure you’ve used to collect materials for a big project in the past.

Here’s an illustration: “I would collaborate with our product team to identify the supplies we require. I would look through our supply chain management system to see if we already do business with current suppliers that stock comparable goods. I would get in touch with them to make sure they could supply us what we need in terms of quantity and quality at a fair cost.”

41. How will you respond to unforeseen interruptions in stock?

Here’s a proper response to supply chain management interview questions of such an advanced level:

“Operations in the supply chain can be significantly impacted by unforeseen stock outages. In my capacity as a supply chain specialist, I will collaborate directly with suppliers to promptly and efficiently detect and address issues, utilizing technology and data to maximize inventory control and minimize upcoming interruptions. I can make sure that my company is prepared to handle any unanticipated stock disruptions by remaining flexible and keeping in regular contact with suppliers.”

42. Are you familiar with both upstream and downstream production processes?

Obtaining the materials required to make a product is known as an upstream production process. The process of employing these goods to market a finished product is known as downstream production. Explain your familiarity with these phrases from the industry and how you apply them in your work.

Tell that: “I work closely with our team to identify the materials required to obtain high-quality items for our products when managing the upstream process. I collaborate with our customer support teams to choose which enhancements to add to our product line during downstream manufacturing.”

43. Describe what you learned from a recent book or article you read about supply chain management.

Managers ask supply chain management interview questions or supply chain interview questions and answers like this to be sure you’re aware of the most recent developments in the supply chain sector so they can make sure you’re modifying your approach appropriately. Describe a specific publication or article you’ve read and the insights you received from it.

So, simply say, “I recently noticed a publication describing how predictive analytics is being used by big data and AI to improve the accuracy of demand and route planning. By guaranteeing that goods are delivered on time, this new approach has the potential to significantly increase supply chain management efficiencies.”

44. Can you put new supply chain technology into practice?

To answer intermediate supply chain management interview questions for freshers or supply chain management questions like this, follow this response:

“Indeed! Keeping up with evolving technology is something I enjoy doing well, and I really like using them to enhance Supply Chain operations. I’ve worked with a variety of technology implementations, such as inventory tracking programs, transportation management software, and automated warehousing systems. By embracing innovations, we may raise overall supply chain performance, save costs, and increase efficiency. I’m constantly eager to learn about and use new technology in order to achieve success.”

Conclusion

Supply chain jobs spread through a vast canvas, both nationally and overseas. Thus, you can choose job profiles either locally or regionally within the country. And if you love travel-oriented jobs, many supply chain managerial roles require traveling both nationally and internationally from time to time.

As more and more companies realize the true potential of a well-articulated supply chain management system, the demand for skilled and certified supply chain professionals will increase simultaneously.

The best way to capitalize on this opportunity is to enroll in a certification program such as upGrad’s Global Master Certificate in Integrated Supply Chain Management.

Learn Supply Chain Analytics Courses online from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.

What is meant by Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management involves the overall centralised administration of the flow of services and goods and the active organisation of the supply-side operations of a business to maximize the value of a customer and acquire a competitive advantage in the industry. It includes all the processes that are part of the transformation of raw materials into finished products. Effective management of the supply chain helps reduce excess costs and speeds up the delivery time of products. It can also help companies protect themselves from expensive recalls and legal embroilments. It enforces tighter internal inventory control, internal product, sales, and distribution, as well as control over vendor inventories.

Is SCM a part of ERP?

Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can be adopted to streamline processes and improve the overall effectiveness of a business. However, these two are primarily different concepts. ERP is the business software that focuses on the internal operations and processes of a business. On the other hand, SCM deals with data related to raw materials from external suppliers; it is focused chiefly on supplier association. SCM is all about sourcing and shipping materials and the cooperative relationship between all parties involved. ERP is totally about managing the core processes and tasks of a company. Modern businesses often combine ERP and SCM for better outcomes.

Is SCM a good career option?

Supply chains form a core part of the economy worldwide, and new processes and supply chains keep emerging daily. So Supply Chain Management is one of the most in-demand fields offering plenty of career opportunities. Those who are qualified in this field of management can opt for different job roles like data analysis, manufacturing, procurement, customer service, and transportation industries. Employment opportunities are available in abundance, and supply chain jobs generally pay well and offer a great scope of career growth. This career path also brings forth commendable work satisfaction, along with excellent diversity and expansion that keep professionals engaged and involved.

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