How a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution can prepare you for a supply chain management career path

Are you a big-picture thinker who also cares about the small details? Do you love the intersection of technical and administrative work? Do you enjoy fast-paced and challenging work environments? Have you been wondering, “What can I do with an industrial distribution degree?” If so, you might consider a career in supply chain management. According to APICS, the field of supply chain management allows employees to deliver products and services from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. Supply chain managers assume a variety of roles on the job by engaging in the design, execution, control, and supervision of their delivery infrastructure, which may range from local to international logistics. Managers may manage either B2C or B2B supply chains, depending on the industry and organization.

If you are looking at the supply chain management career path, consider an industrial distribution degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham to develop the business and technical skills you need to thrive in your chosen field. Before learning about how this degree can help you succeed, you should learn more about supply chain management and if it is a right choice for you.

What is supply chain management?

The supply chain is a critical business function for most organizations. An effective logistical strategy boosts client satisfaction, reduces overhead, and improves the financial position of most companies. A well-designed supply chain features savvy analytics, up-to-date technology, and collaboration at every step of the process.

Supply and distributions systems have become far more complex in recent years due to advances in modern technology, such as Radio Frequency Identification chips and cloud-based shipping and tracking software. As a result, organizations are hiring more knowledgeable and ambitious supply chain management professionals to help their products move more efficiently and solve key breakdowns in this delivery journey.

A man holding a large piece of chalk stands before supply chain-related icons.

Supply chain managers work in a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, state or federal government agencies, and health-care services. Many managers have bachelor of science degrees in systems engineering, business, supply chain management, industrial distribution, or a related field.

Is supply chain management a good career for you?

Maybe you’re interested but still not sure if this career path is right for you. If you are an effective communicator, enjoy solving problems, can handle heavy workloads, and are a natural leader, you might be a better fit for the career than you previously thought. The job involves an ideal combination of managerial and technical tasks in a fast-paced setting, making it a suitable choice for anyone who loves a challenging work environment.

In this role, your main responsibilities may include encouraging collaboration between customer service and sales teams, maintaining inventory based on consumer demand, and creating and executing strategies and policies for logistics and distribution. Other tasks may include crafting, launching, and fixing production lines from the initial, raw product throughout the shipment process or fostering relationships with suppliers. Many managers also review employee schedules and find ways to improve warehouse and transportation productivity.

To effectively manage these previously mentioned job responsibilities, you should understand risk management, customer relationship management, project management, and supply chain synchronization. You might also need to be skilled in international regulations, sustainability, transportation management, and the latest logistics technology applications, though this depends on the position. Managers must excel in interpersonal communication and critical thinking, making this an ideal field for anyone who welcomes a new challenge each day on the job and working in a collaborative environment.

What about job outlook and salary prospects?

Now could be the right time to pursue a career in supply chain management. Employment projections are rising from either seven to nine percent, which is at or above the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many organizations are looking to improve their supply chain strategies and want innovative new thinkers to join their teams. Individuals who have experience in logistical software and other technological tools often qualify for these jobs.

It’s important to note that working in a high-demand field could equal steady work and a decent paycheck. According to PayScale, the average salary for a supply chain manager is $81,358, though this figure can vary due to the industry, region of the country, experience required, and size of the organization. Experienced managers make around $193,000, while entry-level positions with less than five years of experience average around $65,000.

Can a BS in Industrial Distribution prepare you for supply chain management?

Wondering what you could do with an industrial distribution degree? A BS in Industrial Distribution can provide graduates with key insights into the joint world of engineering and business. If you’re interested in a career in supply chain management, this online degree path can offer valuable training for you to break into this quickly growing field.

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, you can choose from one of two concentrations: Industrial Distribution or Medical Equipment and Supplies Distribution. Either track can allow you to follow your career dreams with well-designed and comprehensive curriculum offerings. If you want to advance in supply chain management, consider choosing a BS in Industrial Distribution.

Our fully online learning environment makes it possible to gain the knowledge, skills, and degree you need to succeed in your chosen field without sacrificing any current personal or professional obligations. To learn more about our curriculum or other program offerings, talk to an advisor today.


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Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Global Trade



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics