Top 11 Supply Chain Management Interview Questions

Top 11 Supply Chain Management Interview Questions

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content
Updated on May 23, 2023 18:09 IST

Discover the top supply chain management interview questions right now!


Supply chain management speeds up the entire process from moving raw materials to distributing a finished commodity. All supply chain jobs demand knowledge of compliance labels, methods of distribution, production technology, and sustainability. Major recruiters also check for competencies in coordination with suppliers, ability to withstand deadline pressure, capacity planning, and strategy. 

After earning a certification from any of the supply chain management courses, the next step is to prepare for the SCM interview. Here are the most common supply chain interview questions with answers. 

Important Supply Chain Management Interview Questions

The interview questions and answers for SCM listed below are technical as well as conceptual in nature. They are applicable for both freshers and the experienced. 

Q1. What are the steps in a supply chain operation?

Ans. Here you have to highlight your basic understanding of a supply chain. First of all, it is a connected network among the organisation, supplier and customer. You have to explain how they are all connected by pointing out the following steps.

  • Organising the inventory, ensuring there is no discrepancy in supply and demand
  • Sourcing raw materials to be manufactured into a prototype
  • Assembling the prototype and testing for defects
  • Packaging the final product and putting it out for distribution
  • Sending the final product to the consumer or distributor
  • Offering customer service to resolve issues (if returned)

Q2. What do you understand by a distribution channel?

Ans. A distribution channel comprises wholesalers and manufacturers. It is a chain that determines how the product will reach the customer.

Q3. Can you differentiate between direct and indirect distribution channels?

Ans. Direct distribution channels are those which have no intermediaries in between. The manufacturer sells the product directly to the customers. Direct distribution channels are ideal for small businesses.

Indirect distribution channels are dependent on wholesalers and are best for large scale productions. They also increase costs as vendors and external channel partners come in between the business and consumer. 

Q4. Please mention the similarities and differences between supply chain and logistics. 

Ans. You can mention that supply chain and logistics are used interchangeably and both are related. As supply chain management methods have evolved, logistics has become a part of it. 

You can talk about the similarities mentioned below. 

  • The main objective of both is to boost the company’s profits. 
  • They focus on customer satisfaction.

The key differences. 

  • The modern supply chain operation includes logistics in addition to planning inventory, production, raw materials, labour costs, and distributing products.
  • Logistics focuses on efficiency in delivering goods to customers. Supply chain management gives importance to operational process improvement. Supply chain professionals oversee the development of raw materials to final products. They also handle the distribution and transporting of goods and services.  

Q5. Can you briefly explain the importance of compliance labels?

Ans. Compliance labels can be defined as regulatory guidelines of a customer, stakeholder, industry or government. They are important in supply chain management as they remove inconsistency in manufacturing. Compliance labels are especially important for businesses looking to expand their businesses on foreign soil. 

Q6. Explain the use of SKU for inventories. 

Ans. SKU is the acronym for storage keeping unit. It is a scannable bar code that vendors can digitally use to track inventory transportation and levels. If the inventory level goes below a threshold, the SKU code can prompt a warning. 

Check on the concept of inventory management.

Q7. What do you know of the Contract of Affreightment?

Ans. It is a legally binding agreement between a charterer (one who hires a ship to carry goods) and the owner of the vessel. Freight is the price both parties agree on for the services provided by the shipowner. 

The Contract of Affreightment determines the space of cargo on a ship and the time required to deliver the goods. 

Q8. Mention some of the key components of logistics. 

Ans. For this supply chain management interview question, you can mention the following. 

  • Planning the demand first to see if the business can fulfil what the customer wants. 
  • Storage capacity of the warehouse for raw materials. 
  • Inventory management to control/regulate the flow of goods. 
  • Managing transportation through all phases of the supply chain
  • Fulfilling orders on time

Q9. How would you negotiate a contract with a supplier to save business costs?

Ans. This is one of the key management interview questions for experienced supply chain professionals. The recruiter here looks at your rapport building skills. 

You can mention that you focus on building a long-term relationship with a supplier. Understanding the pricing demands of the supplier and meeting them in a way that does not cross the business margin is one of the many ways. 

Q10. How does maintaining a good relationship with a supplier help a business?

Ans. This follow-up interview question is simple to answer. When the supplier is content to work with you, deliveries will be faster, you will always get the best prices, and lesser disagreements. These factors significantly supplement process improvement. 

Q11. What is the main difference between a value chain and supply chain?

Ans. A supply chain constitutes a network from which raw materials are sourced and finally provided to the customer. On the other hand, a value chain is about providing value throughout the supply chain. Explore value chain analysis to learn more.

Final Thoughts

These are among the most popular supply chain management interview questions with the best possible answers. Prepare these and ace the interview round. 

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio