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18 Most Common Supply Chain Management Interview Questions & Answers [For Freshers & Experienced in US]

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13th Apr, 2023
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18 Most Common Supply Chain Management Interview Questions & Answers [For Freshers & Experienced in US]

Are you looking to make a career in the supply chain management sector? In the post-pandemic period, this is one industry witnessing significant growth. The supply chain industry is one of the leading economic boosters as well. Recent reports show the size of the global supply chain management market worldwide in 2022 will be USD 19.58 billion, which is estimated to grow further and reach USD 30.91 billion by 2026. 

It is obvious from the figures that with an increase in market size, more job opportunities will open up in this sector, both for freshers and experienced professionals. To enter this industry, candidates must crack multiple interviews, which is often tricky. Let us look at the most commonly asked supply chain management interview questions so that you can make preparations accordingly. 

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18 most common interview questions for supply chain management

If you intend to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job role in the supply chain management company, you must consider and start preparing for some similar supply chain management questions mentioned below:

1. Explain or define supply chain management.

This is probably the first question that your interviewer will ask. Answering this question ensures that you can describe or explain supply chain management to other employees in the company or even to customers. Employers expect a simple answer which is easily understandable. 

You could answer supply chain management as planning and managing all kinds of supply chain activities in any business. This includes product development, production, sourcing, logistics, etc.

2. What are the much-needed skills to become successful in supply chain management?

This is one of the most commonly asked supply chain interview questions. Hiring managers ask this question to adjudge if the candidate has the right skills to be in the supply chain management profession. 

To succeed in supply chain management, you must have excellent communication and customer service abilities. This is important as there are regular interactions and negotiations with suppliers. These skills help in building solid relationships. 

3. What kinds of preparations are needed for the upcoming holiday season?

The holiday season is the busiest time for companies and businesses as they experience maximum sales during this time. 

You must gather experience from the previous holiday season and review the sales numbers. Items that were high in demand should be ordered in higher quantities. Transportation teams also need to be taken into the loop by informing them about shipment and delivery expectations during this period. 

4. Are you updated on the latest trends in the supply chain management system?

This question is among the most commonly asked supply chain management interview questions for freshers. Technology trends keep on changing, and professionals must remain updated regarding them. 

You can talk about some transport management software, which has computerized tracking systems integrating all kinds of actions from a single panel. Using such innovative technology helps in improving efficiency. 

5. What would be your plan if the warehouse ran out of stock?

With this question, the interviewer wants to examine how you react to a situation where the availability of a product in demand is low. It is essential to handle the situation logically and calmly. 

Initially, it is crucial to identify the product shortage and ascertain the amount left. The next step is to contact an original supplier and arrange for a rush order of the required supplies. 

6. Do you have experience with overseas supplier collaboration?

One of the most important SCM interview questions asked of experienced professionals in this industry is if they have experience collaborating with overseas suppliers. 

You must stay connected with the suppliers regularly by maintaining communication through various channels, including chat management software. An overseas collaboration remains successful with constant communication. 

7. How will your experience and skills add value to our company?

With this question, the hiring party aims to analyze your background and strength and understand if you are the right candidate for the job role. Emphasize your qualities and skills like negotiation abilities, advanced communication skills, building long-lasting relationships, and so on. Also, mention how you have negotiated with clients in your previous company and built relationships with them. 

8. Do you use any supply chain management software?

There are many supply chain management interview questions and answers pdf available on the internet. You are sure to find this question or variations of it. You are expected to have sound knowledge of supply chain management software or tools for recording updates, delivery progress, product manufacturing, etc. 

With SCM software, you can monitor supply and inventory levels, collaborate with clients, oversee transportation locations, and so on. There is increased efficiency with such software.

9. What is the meaning of SKU in the supply chain?

SKU is the stock-keeping unit. In inventory management, it is defined as a particular item stored in one specific location. SKU is the most disaggregated level when it comes to inventory dealing. 

10. What is the meaning of the term affreightment?

When you look up a list of supply chain interview questions and answers, you are sure to find this question. The source of the term affreightment is the word ‘freight’. It is the amount of money given to the charterer instead of renting a vessel to take the goods. 

11. What do you think are the key elements in inventory management and planning?

Your hiring manager will check if you can make critical decisions regarding the order volume and order frequency. You can effectively increase profits with the maintenance of strong inventory levels. 

One of the best ways of maintaining supply levels and balanced inventory is to carefully review product orders and inventory numbers for the past few months. This gives an idea of the volume of supplies that need ordering. 

12. Tell us about your most challenging moment in a supply chain job and the way you resolved it. 

Look up any standard supply chain management questions and answers PDF, and you will find this question and its answer there. Through this question, employers ascertain if you are capable of handling difficult situations in the company. 

Tell about a challenging event and how you solved it with your skills and efforts. Narrate how you went to every supply chain level and resolved the issue in the quickest possible time. 

13. If there is an unexpected delay in the shipment to your warehouse, what would you do to handle the situation?

It might happen that a shipment turns late unexpectedly. This might result in great setbacks when it comes to customer satisfaction and productivity. Your answer should include an actionable plan so that both suppliers and customers remain happy and contended. 

You must get in touch with the supplier or driver, understand the cause of the delay, and have an updated delivery date. 

14. What is the process you would follow for finding suppliers for a large product order?

These kinds of supply chain management interview questions are usually asked of experienced supply chain management professionals. Through such a question, the employer understands the process you would follow to get suppliers for a large product order. 

As an experienced professional, you must have tackled such a situation of finding suppliers for a huge product order. Tell how the product team determines the supplies needed, followed by looking for existing and new suppliers. 

15. Do you have experience with upstream and downstream production processes?

One of employers’ favorite supply chain management questions is whether you have experience with upstream and downstream production processes. Give them the definition of upstream and downstream processes first, and tell them how you use these industry terms in practical work. 

While handling the upstream process, you collaborate with the team; and for the downstream production process, you need to work with the customer service team for the best results. 

16. How will you find the best suppliers for your products?

Among the many SCM interview questions, this is an important one. You might be given the responsibility of finding new suppliers for the company’s products. The hiring authority wants to be sure if you are suitable for the job or not. 

You can do online research to find the best suppliers for your products. If you have connections with suppliers selling similar materials, ask them about some good vendors. 

17. Tell me if you have read any article or book on supply chain management and what you learned from it.

Your prospective employers might want to know if you are updated and informed about the changes that are taking place in the supply chain management system. Tell them about an article or a book that you have read recently.

You can tell them about articles you have read about how Big Data and Artificial Intelligence use predictive analytics to make accurate demand and route planning. There is a great improvement in supply chain management efficiencies. 

18. What is your preferred kind of forecasting method?

With such interview questions for supply chain management, employers try to understand your approach to forecasting product inventory and material volumes accurately. 

Tell them the kind of forecasting method you often use, like the demand forecasting method. 

Conclusion

If you are preparing to make your career in the supply chain management industry, follow a reliable source to get supply chain management interview questions and answers pdf. Take a look at the supply chain interview questions and answers to get the hang of the types of questions the hiring managers can ask. You can make a great career in the supply chain industry by cracking the interview. 

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Karan Raturi

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Karan Raturi is the General Manager of upGrad North America. He has also led various finance, strategy, and operations teams at Wayfair, Kurt Salmon, and IBM.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What are the main functions of supply chain management?

The main functions of supply chain management include purchasing, operations, logistics, resource management, and information workflow.

2What is indicated by the 4 C’s in supply chain management?

One of the common supply chain management interview questions for freshers is this one. The 4 C’s in supply chain management stand for coordinated, communicative, cooperative, and collaborative.

3What are the main phases in supply chain management?

There are four main phases in supply chain management. They are supply management, demand management, product portfolio management, and S&OP.

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