Industry Overview

The Global Supply Chain Management Industry

Have you ever wondered how different products that you use every day – from televisions to your morning cup of coffee – are delivered to you? Where they come from and how the process works? On this page, you will find an overview of the supply chain management industry, how Washington state is positioned regionally and globally within the industry, and about some of the many career opportunities available in supply chain management and logistics.

Industry Overview

Supply chain and logistics management is important to the world’s leading organizations because it enables companies to build and deliver products better, faster, and cheaper. The supply chain itself is a network of retailers, distributors, transporters, storage facilities, and suppliers that participate in the production, delivery, and sale of a product to the consumer. Supply chain management links major business functions and processes within and across companies into a cohesive, high-performing business model. Supply chain management professionals are engaged in every facet of the business process: planning, purchasing, production, manufacturing and assembly, storage and distribution, customer service, and transportation/logistics.

For a deeper dive into the Global Trade and Supply Chain Management sector, check out our Global Trade and Supply Chain Management Sector Economic Analysis.

What is Logistics Management?

Logistics is the part of a supply chain that plans, implements, and controls the efficient flow and storage of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations.

For individual companies, an effective supply chain management system requires careful planning and operations administration and often involves sophisticated coordination and communication between a diversity of partners. As such, supply chain management professionals can be engaged in every facet of the business process – planning, purchasing, production, storage, distribution, information technology (IT), and customer service. Many well-known international corporations with headquarters here in Washington state, including Amazon, Boeing and Starbucks, have large supply chain management departments and teams that contribute to their national and global success.

What is Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is a “cross-functional industry that includes international trade, transportation, and logistics. It comprises all of the activities that take place to get a product in a consumer’s hands – from the time raw materials are extracted to the minute a consumer takes the final product home. Supply chain management links major business functions and processes within and across companies into a cohesive, high-performing business model” (Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals).

How many work in supply chains and global trade in WA?

More than 170,00 people work in supply chains and global trade in Washington state. Nearly 100,000 are working at “all-in jobs,” that is firms and industries primarily engaged in global trade and supply chain management. Another 70,000 are working in global trade and supply chain at companies whose business is not primarily supply chain, that is companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing.

These are good paying jobs, on average just over $80,000 per worker and higher in certain subsectors. Importantly you don’t have to be a software engineer or have a PhD to obtain these jobs. Training is readily available at community colleges and universities and in some cases you can gain a short-term certificate.

Total Jobs in Global Trade and Supply Chain Management, Washington State, 2009-2019

Average Wage, by Subsector, 2017 and 2019 estimated, (2019 $)

What is international business trade?

All international business is international trade: Aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, software, professional services, global health, international tourism, and international education.

International Trade, Imports and Exports through Washington State Ports, 2009-2019 (2019 $)

The Puget Sound – A Regional Leader

No place in the U.S. may be better positioned within this emerging industry than right here Washington state. The Puget Sound region, including the metropolitan areas surrounding Seattle and Tacoma, is home to one of the leading international trade and logistics clusters in the world and functions as a premier national gateway for products, services, and people. World-class transportation infrastructure, including intercontinental railroads, highways, trucking corridors, and the nation’s largest ferry system, two major seaports, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Together the ports represent the third largest shipping hub in North America (Source: WA Dept of Transportation). The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is one of the busiest in the nation, according to both cargo and passenger data.

Greater Seattle is only a nine hour flight from both Tokyo and London. The Puget Sound has a closer proximity to booming Asian ports and economies than any other in North America.

Map of Jobs by County, 2019

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