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10 Best Supply Chain Jobs in America

For businesses to be successful, they must optimize their processes and reach as many customers as possible in the most cost-effective ways. Without the supply chain, this goal for prosperity would be unachievable. The world’s supply chain works around the clock to ensure the distribution of products, resources, goods, and information to consumers around the globe. To maintain this constant flow of movement, the supply chain must rely on three major components, including logistics, operations, and budget.

As the world continues moving towards the new normal, hardworking professionals are looking for essential careers that are high-paying and offer long-term viability and opportunities for advancement—and there’s no better place to look than the supply chain.

In this article, we will list the top 10 jobs in the supply chain industry and go over what it takes to land these lucrative careers.

How do I qualify for a job in the supply chain?

Jobs within the supply chain are high-paying and relatively easy to obtain with the proper skillset and experience. Top positions, like supervisory and management roles, require a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience within the area you are applying for.

The best degrees for the job include:

  • Business Administration
  • Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Transportation and Logistics

However, some positions only require a high school diploma and industry experience. Starting at entry-level roles, like Production Associate or Inventory Clerk, will allow you to gain the necessary knowledge and progress within your chosen field.

What are the top 10 supply chain jobs in America?

1) Inventory Manager

Average salary: $60,535 per year

Inventory managers primarily track and monitor the facility’s inventory. But they are also responsible for:

  • Creating and implementing organizational systems
  • Noting any supply overages or shortages
  • Creating documentation processes that follow industry standards

2) Transportation Manager

Average salary: $63,508 per year

The job of a transportation manager is to plan and lead all transportation operations. Opportunities for this position can typically be found at companies like Amazon, Ryder, or even smaller logistics and trucking companies. 

Other job opportunities include:

  • Department of Transportation
  • Farming and Agriculture
  • Grocery and Food Services
  • Health and Wellness
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Travel

3) Facilities Manager

Average salary: $64,084 per year

Facilities managers oversee the maintenance of a company’s equipment, systems, and other physical components within the production and manufacturing departments. This position could grant multiple opportunities since many facilities managers work with more than one location. 

4) Logistician

Average salary: $65,750 per year

Logisticians work under a multitude of titles, including:

  • Logistics Director
  • Operations Manager
  • Production Manager or Production Planner
  • Program Manager
  • Supply Management Specialist

In this position, you will collect and analyze data to coordinate and develop logistics for a company. In some cases, a logistician may oversee the “lifecycle” of a single product.

5) Purchasing Manager

Average salary: $70,396 per year

Purchasing managers (or procurement managers) supervise an organization’s purchasing habits for their materials, products, and services. They work to develop relationships with suppliers and handle negotiations to ensure the best prices for their clients.

Purchasing manager opportunities can be found in industries such as:

  • Construction
  • Food and beverage
  • Government 
  • Health care
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail

6) Supply Chain Analyst

Average salary: $71,307 per year

Supply chain analysts work closely with various organizations within the supply chain.

Their primary duties include:

  1. Observing supply chain processes
  2. Locating inefficiencies or potential problems within the supply chain
  3. Improving company operations

7) Logistics Analysts

Average salary: $77,992 per year

Logistics analysts study warehouse data, product delivery, and supply chain operations, then use said data to make recommendations and improvements for logistic processes. This position is typically found in larger companies, specifically those that manufacture consumer goods.

However, you may also find opportunities at logistic companies, membership-based retailers, and other customer-based industries such as:

  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Food and beverage
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Package delivery
  • Technology
  • Travel

8) Supply Chain Manager

Average salary: $80,566 per year

Supply chain managers work with external suppliers to negotiate and purchase resources and raw materials. They also analyze processes and company data to identify inefficiencies and improve overall quality throughout the supply chain.

This position is also related to and sometimes paired with titles like: 

  • Logistics manager
  • Operations manager
  • Project manager
  • Purchasing manager

9) Global Commodity Manager

Average salary: $85,898 per year

The job of a global commodity manager is to create and implement strategies that help an organization achieve and maintain efficient and cost-effective operations. These professionals also study market trends and develop forecasts for inventory fluctuations while maintaining relationships with suppliers and monitoring product quality.

10) Sourcing Manager

Average salary: $94,706 per year

Sourcing managers have several jobs, including:

  • Assembling company data
  • Studying and analyzing sourcing processes
  • Researching suppliers and products
  • Balancing cost and quality metrics and finding the best options for clients
  • Tracking and organizing a company’s budget

More Like This:

-> 6 Tips for Starting Your Own Trucking Business

-> Top 10 Truck Driving Jobs

->6 Tips for Financing a Food Truck During a Pandemic

Top 10 States With the Best Roads and Highways

Throughout our country’s history, transportation has fueled our development and economic growth and gotten us to where we are today. Every day, all across America, truck drivers travel across our country’s roads, highways, and bridges to deliver goods and keep our nation running. Through modern technology, transportation experts can track the movement of products and determine metrics regarding driver’s commute times and road and bridge quality. Once this data is measured, combined with ratings from drivers and government funding info, experts can determine which states have some of the best roads and highways in the country.

-> How to Keep Your Truck on the Road

For truck drivers, the quality of infrastructure is crucial. It plays an essential role in the longevity of the rig and the driver’s safety, and damaged or unkempt roadways can lead to damaged products, accidents, unnecessary vehicle repairs, and more. States with little funding for infrastructure unfortunately suffer the most. However, in some states, drivers don’t have to worry so much about the pavement they drive on.

Which states have the best roads and highways?

The top 10 states with the best roads and highways include:

#1. Kansas

Thanks to its recent funding increase and overall improvements, the great state of Kansas lands at the top of our list. Those fortunate enough to drive through the state agree that the streets are safe, clean, and perfectly resurfaced.

#2. Alabama

When the Rebuild Alabama Act was passed in 2019, the state worked to better its roads and highways. The roadways were widened and repaved after years of wear. Now, travelers have noticed improved traffic. And with less traffic comes more Southern hospitality.

#3. North Dakota

In North Dakota, the interstates are perfectly paved, the urban roads are cared for, and only 2% of the rural roads are considered to be in need of a facelift. For these reasons, plus their absolute cleanliness, it sits at the number three spot on our list!

#4. Kentucky

Approximately 86% of Kentucky’s roadway budget goes towards road maintenance, meaning the highways are almost always in good condition. And like North Dakota, the state’s urban roads are well kept, and only 2% of the rural roads could be considered poor. Besides that, drivers will experience clean roads and sound traffic systems that promptly help them get to where they’re going.

#5. Florida

Coming in at number five is the sunshine state, Florida. The state’s overall infrastructure rating is one of the country’s best, with 71% of the urban roads and 88% of the rural roads in top-notch shape. The state has also implemented several new lanes, roundabouts, turning lanes, and four-way stops to assist traffic flow and safety. Plus, you never have to worry about driving in the snow

Image Credit: Consumer Affairs

#6. Idaho

Across Idaho, the clean and orderly roads are well used by travelers and residents, but they are equally well maintained. Drivers commend the state’s easy-to-understand north-south, east-west directions and the lack of potholes.

#7. New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s roads and highways are in good condition, with 4% of rural roads and 10% of urban roads in the category of ‘needs improvement.’ Those who frequent the state’s roadways describe them as well-maintained and easily navigable with good signage. 

#8. Georgia

Georgia’s various roads and highways are described as smooth, wide, and clean. Thanks to the current SPLOST tax credit, the state continues to make repairs and expand its roadways, only further improving traffic flow.

#9. Nevada

When it comes to quality infrastructure, Nevada isn’t doing too bad. Approximately 8% of the urban roads need improvement, but 100% of the rural roads surveyed are in good condition. Older streets are constantly refreshed and kept smooth as the state continues to expand.

#10. Vermont

At our 10th spot is the scenic state of Vermont. While there are definite areas in need of improvement, the state’s roadways are safe and in good condition. However, many drivers agree that the state could upgrade its traffic standards.

How to get started as an owner operator

So, when it comes to choosing where you want to drive (assuming you have the choice), we recommend you start with one of these 10 states. You and your semi-truck will thank you. If you’re just getting started in the industry, check out one of our helpful resources below!

Buying vs. Leasing a Semi-Truck: An Owner Operator’s Guide

6 Tips for Starting Your Own Trucking Business

Top 10 Truck Driving Jobs

Trucking Action Plan: What You Need to Know

On December 16, 2021, the White House announced a comprehensive plan to recruit new truck drivers to help the supply chain recover from the current shortage while improving current working conditions to promote driver retention. This plan, coined the Trucking Action Plan, has been broken down into a series of steps, and the current administration hopes to institute it over the next 90 days.

Many owner operators have been left wondering what this plan is and how it will affect them and the industry they work for. This article will break it all down and explain what drivers can expect to come their way over the next 90 days.

What exactly is the Trucking Action Plan?

Officials describe the Trucking Action Plan as a way to “lay the foundation for a next-generation trucking workforce that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and support millions of good driving jobs for years to come.” The plan also follows the lead of the recent infrastructure legislation, which passed in November of 2021 and aimed to address current industry concerns.

The current action plan, which will take effect through a series of steps over the next 30-, 60-, and 90- days, offers six key points, including:

  1. Offering trucking industry jobs that appeal to military veterans.
  2. Supporting pilot programs that train and license new drivers to deliver across state lines.
  3. Offering women more professional industry positions.
  4. Instituting more easy-to-install apprenticeship programs.
  5. Funding/providing assistance to states for improving their CDL processes.
  6. Implement sessions with drivers, carriers, and industry unions to discuss concerns and enhance the workforce.

In addition to the current driver shortage and supply chain struggles, the Trucking Action Plan directly responds to a recent poll from the Consumer Brand Association. This poll found that 90% of respondents feel the trucking capacity should be increased in the new year to assist the supply chain demand, and 80% of respondents think their senators should be responsible for fixing current and future trucking industry issues.

Many respondents also gave suggestions on how to solve the most common issues that the trucking industry faces. They include:

  • Allowing reasonable increases to truck weight limits
  • Creating systems that would send empty trucks to available loads
  • Government funding driver recruitment and training programs
  • Offering flexible hours and service requirements to drivers
  • Government funding for the production of new heavy-duty trucks

What changes can we expect to see in the new year?

In the new year, truck drivers and fleet owners can anticipate quite a few changes in the industry. The main changes will affect the recruitment process for new drivers, but owners/operators can also expect significant changes to the workforce, hoping that driver retention will improve.

Recruitment of More Women and Veterans

During the Trucking Action Plan announcement, White House officials discussed that they intend to focus on the potential labor pool of over 70,000 military veterans when it comes to driver recruitment. Currently, veterans equate to more than 20% of the transportation industry. However, the White House plans to increase that number by working with the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other veterans’ service organizations to match military veterans and their spouses with jobs in the trucking industry. A separate task force will also encourage more women to start careers in the trucking industry. 

Reformed Training Programs

Regarding training for these trucking positions, the DOL is working to establish Registered Apprenticeship programs that would allow new drivers to earn compensation as they go through training. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is also working to improve the CDL process by reducing the time between drivers passing their tests and receiving their licenses. On top of that, the DOT hopes to provide grants to states who improve their licensing process by updating their IT infrastructures. For now, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) will provide over $30 million to help states expedite their CDL process and send all states a “toolkit” on how to complete specific expedite actions. The White House also announced a new pilot program that will allow truck drivers under 21 years of age to drive on interstate highways.

Improved Driver Experience 

On top of recruiting new drivers, the Trucking Action Plan will aim to support the existing drivers by improving the quality of the jobs within the industry. Currently, America’s truck drivers move over 70% of the nation’s goods, but these same drivers lose up to 40% of their drive time due to delays, which means less income. To lessen these losses, the DOL and DOT plan to construct a compensation study to better understand how long drivers are on the road versus how long they spend waiting on loading and unloading processes. These transportation agencies will also begin regular listening sessions with drivers to use the collected feedback to push regulatory action and improve the overall quality of the various trucking industry positions.

Last updated: 12-21-21

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6 Tips for Driving a Semi-Truck in Winter

It’s no secret that icy and snow-covered roads can have severe and often unpredictable impacts on traffic conditions. When these winter months roll in, heavy-duty drivers face dangerous and demanding routes, especially when they’re not prepared. Along with winterizing your truck, refreshing your wintery driving skills is crucial for surviving the frozen season. 

When drivers are faced with a winter storm, icy roads, or other frosty conditions, it’s always better to play it safe. Things like taking your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a thorough check-up or building an emergency kit can genuinely be a lifesaver. However, there are other ways to stay safe while driving your semi this winter. 

In this article, we’ll go over our top 6 tips and tricks for driving a semi-truck safely in the winter.

1. Drive cautiously

When driving on ice- or snow-covered roads, it’s essential to take your time and drive cautiously. If you’re out of practice when it comes to driving in the winter, move slowly and pay attention to the capabilities of your vehicle. For instance, if your semi rides low, it won’t handle snow accumulation well, so it’s best to take it slow to prevent build-up. It’s vital to execute control and deliberate actions when navigating wintery road conditions. Sharp curves, rushed acceleration, and fast braking all result in decreased traction, leading to an accident. Stay alert and maintain a consistent speed while leaving enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. The safe amount of space will also help you when you need to use your brake. 

2. Stock up on essentials

With inclement weather being so unpredictable, you must always have the essentials with you. This way, if you get stranded in the middle of these harsh climatic conditions, you will be prepared and safe.

Your emergency kit should include:

  • Tire chains
  • Spare fuel
  • An extra fuel filter and wrench
  • Coolant, washer fluid, and oil
  • Vinegar
  • A flare gun
  • Flares
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • A CB radio (if one is not already in your cab)
  • A first aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Hats, scarves, and gloves
  • Snow boots
  • Snow shovel
  • Canned food and bottled water

We also recommend a few bags of cat litter. This unique emergency item can be used as a safe and eco-friendly way to regain traction if your tires get stuck on a patch of ice. Simply throw some litter under your tires, slowly engage your accelerator, and wait for your tires to do the rest.

3. Use your signals

This may seem like a no-brainer, but using your signals can be the difference between a safe ride and a preventable accident. The general rule of thumb is three blinks before changing lanes, but when the weather outside is frightful, stay safe and use five blinks before moving over. It would help if you also used your signals before turning. To give those driving behind you plenty of notice, be sure to activate your signal before you begin slowing down for your turn.

If the weather is too extreme for your comfort level, use your four-way hazard signals and move to the passing lane to allow those around you to pass. Hopefully, doing so will encourage other drivers to exercise caution and prevent a pileup from happening.

4. Let your truck warm up

When the temperatures drop below freezing, it can be hard on your semi’s heavy-duty diesel engine. So, it’s essential to allow your truck time to warm up before taking off on your route. This will prevent your engine from refusing to turn over and promote longevity past the winter months. 

Pro Tip: While your rig warms up, turn on your defroster and let your windshield unfreeze itself. Two birds, one stone. 

5. Be cognizant

As well as driving cautiously, you as a driver should be extra cognizant of those around you while driving through frosty weather. For example, water coming off another vehicle’s tires could indicate just how treacherous the roadways are. If there is a lot of water, the roads are wet, but the streets are freezing over if there is less spray. You should also pay close attention to the streets for black ice.

6. Check your tires, fuel, and lights

Perhaps the most crucial tip happens before you hit the road: check your tires, fuel, and lights. Regardless of the season, truck drivers should be inspecting their tires regularly. However, as the weather grows colder, your tires will need to be examined even more than usual. If your tires are underinflated, damaged, or worn out, it could lead to troubles on the road, such as low traction.

Checking your fuel is another crucial step to staying safe. By keeping your fuel tank filled, you will give extra weight to your rig, which will ultimately help your tires retain traction and stay on the road.

Once you stop for the day, be sure to check and clean your headlights, taillights, and license plate since they will more than likely be covered in a mixture of dirt and snow. For semi-trucks, your lights need to be as visible as possible, meaning your lights need to be clean and functioning correctly.

Want more information like this? Check out these articles:

Tips for Preparing Your Semi-Truck for Summer

How to Stay Safe in Harsh Winter Conditions

7 Crucial Tips for Truck Tire Maintenance and Repair

What Truckers Need to Know About the Vaccine Mandate

On November 4, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that employers with 100 or more employees must either ensure the complete vaccination of their staff, or obtain negative COVID-19 test results weekly. This ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard) requires full vaccination for all employees and paid time off for those needing to get vaccinated during their workday. And while the vaccination mandate goes for all covered employers, it does offer the exception for those willing to establish and enforce weekly COVID-19 testing along with mandatory face coverings while at the workplace. However, this alternative still upset those working in the trucking industry and the supply chains, which are currently fragile, leading to several legal challenges.

So, what does this ETS mean for drivers and others in the trucking industry moving forward?

How does the vaccine mandate affect businesses?

When the Biden Administration announced their latest vaccine and testing requirements, many private businesses, including travel-dependent industries, were left worried about the effect the mandates could have on their businesses. Specifically for the trucking industry, many drivers threatened walkouts and resignations to disrupt further the strained supply chains that have been suffering since early this year. However, as previously mentioned, there are a few exceptions to the requirements.

The current ETS regarding COVID-19 requirements for workplaces with over 100 employees include:

  • Businesses must ensure total vaccination for all employees come January 4, 2022.
  • Employers must provide paid time off to their employees obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine(s).
  • On January 5, 2022, all unvaccinated employees must wear proper face coverings while at their place of work, as well as provide weekly COVID-19 tests with negative results.
  • These rulings will supersede any and all state or local laws, including “laws that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, masks, or testing.

Who is exempt from the vaccine mandate?

With the trucking industry facing a severe driver shortage of approximately 80,000 drivers, White House and OSHA officials knew they would need to offer some exceptions. With hopes to avoid further driver depletion and supply chain disruption, which is responsible for things like food, fuel, medicine, and even the COVID-19 vaccine, they developed a shortlist of exemptions. 

These exemptions include:

  • Workers who do not report to a workplace where other people, including employees, clients, and/or patrons, are present.
  • Those who do not interact with persons at their point of departure or destinations.
  • Workers who operate alone (aka drivers who are alone in their cabs)
  • Remote employees
  • Exclusively outdoor workers

To the American Trucking Association’s delight, these exemptions apply to a large portion of the commercial truck driver population and provide a sense of security to the industry as a whole. Overall, the mandate would only apply to drivers operating in teams or those required to interact with others at their loading or unloading stations.  

What about international and cross-border truckers?

For drivers who cross borders to deliver goods, the mandate requirements are different. As of right now, both the U.S. and Canadian governments are requiring non-citizens to be fully vaccinated, regardless of their reasons for entry. And come January of 2022, the Department of Homeland Security will require all foreign travelers coming into the country to provide proof of total vaccination, an extension to the non-essential traveler requirement, which started in November of 2021. To meet this requirement, one must be fully vaccinated with any vaccine, including Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, Sinopharm, or Sinovac. However, if the vaccine requires two doses, the last dose must be administered within 14 days before entry.

Want more information like this? Check out these articles:

Are Truckers Included in the Third Vaccination Group?

How Truckers Can Prepare for the Holiday Season Amid COVID-19

How the Supply Chain Problem Will Affect the Holiday Season

Older Drivers: How to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel

It’s officially the first week of December, which means it’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week! This national celebration was initiated in 2009 by the American Occupational Therapy Association to start a conversation around older driver safety. According to the CDC, there are currently 45 million motorists over the age of 65. In one year alone, approximately 250,000 of those older drivers were involved in vehicular accidents that resulted in severe injuries, and another 7,700 tragically died in traffic accidents. 

This week of awareness sheds light on those driving for personal reasons as well as our nation’s truck drivers. When long hours on the road are combined with harsh winter weather or age-related medical conditions, heavy-duty hauling can be dangerous to you and those around you. For these reasons, it is vital to recognize when the risks of driving outweigh the benefits and to learn different ways to stay safe in the meantime.

6 Safety Tips for Older Drivers

Older drivers are not only twice as likely to suffer from medical conditions that impair their driving skills, but they are also at a higher risk of getting injured or even dying in a car accident. However, these numbers don’t mean that those 65 and older have to fear getting behind the wheel; they just need to drive more cautiously, practice good judgment, and follow the CDC’s tips for older driver safety.

These CDC safety tips include: 

1. Obey all traffic laws. 

Follow speed limits and traffic signs, wear your seatbelt, and never drive under the influence. This is important for drivers of ALL ages.

2. Only drive under favorable conditions. 

If feasible, only operate your vehicle during the daytime and when the weather is decent. 

3. Keep an open line of communication with your doctor. 

Discuss any medical concerns or issues with your healthcare provider and determine if they could have an adverse effect on your driving. In terms of medication, determine if any potential side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, could interfere with your driving.

4. Have your vision and hearing checked at least once a year.

If either is impaired, be sure to obtain the proper prescription for your eyewear or hearing aids. It is imperative that you wear your glasses at all times when operating your semi truck.

5. Plan your route in detail. 

Before hitting the road, make sure you know exactly where you are going, what alternative routes there are, and where rest stops are along the way. It is always a good idea to have an up-to-date map with you as well. 

6. Adapt your truck to fit your needs. 

If allowed and/or feasible, add installable features or adaptive devices to your vehicle to help with proper vehicle maintenance.

By following these tips and regularly assessing your driving habits for any concerning shifts, you can continue driving safely and avoid at-fault accidents. However, if you notice any changes in your reflexes, vision, hearing, or physical or mental well-being, it’s essential that you stop driving and talk with your doctor. 

Click here to learn more about medical conditions that may affect your driving.

Observe Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

This week celebrates the role that transportation plays for older drivers and their communities. To celebrate Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, reach out to your favorite, experienced driver and start a dialogue about their safety and others. Drivers can observe this week by following the top six safety tips as recommended by the CDC.

Pro tip: Use the hashtag #OlderDriverSafetyAwarenessWeek when posting on social media this week!

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