Many people get confused about the difference is between Supply Chain Management and Project Management. Though they may seem like the same thing, they are actually very different roles and skillsets that are required.
Supply chain management usually has to do with a supply of a product from its beginning to the end consumer. Most of the time the supply chain manager is working with manufacturers or factories that are located overseas. A project manager is a manager for a specific kind of project.
A typical project that would have a project manager would be building a road or railway or constructing a major hotel or office building. In comparison, a Supply Chain Manager is usually dealing with the delivery of many of the same products and getting them distributed to the end consumer.
Though the Supply Chain Manager and Project Manager have some similarities, they are not the same kind of management role.
What Is Supply Chain Management?
Supply Chain is the process to handle the entire life of the product from the start of the production cycle to the end of the product delivery cycle when it reaches the end consumer. Supply Chain management usually focuses on manufacturing the product from the raw materials to when the product reaches the end-user.
In short, this means Supply Chain Management includes procurement, quality control, shipment, and distribution. In many large companies, each of these specific roles is different from teams.
First, one team will specialize in procurement. Then, another team will handle quality control for the product. Next, another team will handle shipment and all the shipment documents and importing of the product. Finally, another person will handle the distribution of getting the product to the end consumer.
A Supply Chain Manager would need to have the skills to be able to understand all these processes. A great supply chain manager should understand the sourcing or procurement of the product, the product quality, and shipping and delivery to the end consumer.
Some may think – well, this does not seem too difficult – but the truth is that these are all very important and difficult skills to obtain. Moreover, for most industries obtaining these skills and understanding, all the ins and outs of the entire supply chain take years of experience.
What Is Project Management?
Project Management is as the name implies. It is the a manager who takes on a specific project and then manages it. The APM body of professional Project Managers, defines Project Management as:
Project management is the process of where a manager is managing a specific project. This Projec manager is looking at the project’s deliverables and ensuring the project is completed on time.
Some classic examples of project management would be a project that would include constructing a railway or a road. Normally, a project manager would be assigned to manage that project and look at all of the variables such as budgets, time, materials, and everything that would ensure that the project could be delivered on time.
Another example where a lot of project management is used in constructing buildings or an interior design project. The project manager would not be in charge of the design but would be the person that would implement the design for the architect or the interior designer.
Supply Chain Management Vs. Project Management
Supply chain management and project management have some similarities and many differences. The two may seem to overlap in some areas, but they are actually very different roles and management types.
A supply chain manager will produce a product within the supply chain from the beginning to the end. The most traditional role for a supply chain manager is for a company that is purchasing a product from another vendor overseas. The supply chain manager then looks at all aspects of the product throughout the entire supply chain.
On the other hand, a project manager is usually a project manager for a specific project. Their job is to be able to see the project from its very beginning to its very end.
For example, a traditional role for a project manager is someone who is overseeing and managing the construction of a high-rise building. The project manager would look at all the building aspects and make sure that the building is constructed with the required design, quality, professional standards, and time frame.
Both of these roles would need to look at things like delivery and quality standards. Both the supply chain manager and the project management would have to ensure goods and services are delivered with the quality and time required, but how these functions are applied in each of these roles would be quite different.
To be effective in both of these roles, a person would need to be very detailed oriented. This is because supply chain management or project management requires looking at a lot of details.
A person in both roles should also be someone who could work under pressure because many things can and will go wrong in supply chain management and project management. Part of what each of these managers looks at is the risk factor and budget.
To be effective in both of these roles, a person must also need people and technology skills. These managers would need to work with all kinds of people to help ensure their product or project is delivered with the quality, quantity, and time required. In today’s world of technology, they would also need to have solid technology ]skills.
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