If you can see the importance of supply chain management and want to pursue a career in the sector, how can you prepare for the challenge? Obviously, you can learn a lot from reading industry magazines, but experience is what really makes a difference. In terms of formal education, most employers expect a candidate to have at least a bachelor's degree in a subject such as industrial engineering. Studies in business or finance are also seen as an added advantage. Besides that, it is vital to understand the basic concept of a supply chain. Graduates can start out as a supply chain or materials analyst before moving into management roles after a few years. 'Some of our supply chain managers come from the operations side of the business, while others are from the information technology side,' said Kelvin Kam, director of Arrow Asia Pac. 'Materials management and financial analysis skills are also important.' With more experience, career development will naturally lead to taking on responsibility for a wider scope of operations. 'Further steps up the career ladder entail moving into an enterprise management or general management position and overseeing activities at multiple sites,' said S. W. Cheung of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. To prepare staff to face the challenges of the supply chain business, Arrow Asia Pac invests heavily in training and up-to-date productivity enhancement software. It also provides training for customers to ensure that all parties get the maximum benefit from such tools.