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Oct 19, 2022

Fashion jobs: The supply chain looks for new players

An organisation’s competitive advantage is strongly influenced by human resources, whose skills and abilities contribute to the success of many companies, including in the Fashion industry. 

Entering the world of work for the first time – specifically, the fashion field – it is essential to pay attention to what companies are looking for in terms of roles and skills to more easily find a professional opportunity that can best meet objectives and expectations.

I want to focus briefly on one of the business areas in which the pandemic-related and geopolitical events of the past two years have influenced the search for new experts: I am talking about the supply chain. 

Describing the supply chain can be tricky, but let’s try to simplify it. By ‘supply chain’, we refer to a flow of activities and information that starts from the procurement of raw materials and ends with the delivery of the finished product through the distribution channel, reaching the final customer. Several business areas and professionals are involved in the process, which entails some challenges (depending on the company’s business model).

What are the most sought-after figures in the supply chain?  

One of them is the Raw Material Buyer. This role is particularly interesting for companies that have invested heavily in sustainability. Some organisations often actively involve this figure in a collection’s creative and product development process; they play an essential role in the research, quality, and timing of raw material procurement. Fundamental skills undoubtedly include in-depth knowledge of materials and a great understanding of critical suppliers. It goes without saying that negotiation and time management skills cannot be left aside.


The Operations Director (whose job title often varies from company to company) is another role the supply network seeks. Some companies call them “Plant Managers” or “Production Managers”, but their primary responsibility is the same no matter the job title: to manage a collection’s production process by coordinating all the activities in a company-owned production site or by coordinating laboratories and external suppliers.

And then comes the Logistic Manager. Besides managing all warehouse activities, they are responsible for ensuring the delivery of the finished product within an established time frame by dealing with transportation logistics and customs issues.

I cannot fail to mention the most sought-after figure as of now: the Chief Supply Chain Officer, who must ensure the efficiency of this chain of activities to maximise the service to final customers, optimise processes and procedures as well as the information flow between the various areas involved, minimising risks, and implementing innovative strategies. This role can often be a step or milestone in a career that began in purchasing, manufacturing or logistics. It is for professionals with strong organisational and team management skills.

There are many other business areas directly or indirectly involved in this process and many more business roles which contribute to the supply chain’s efficiency.

Alongside the traditional figures, here above briefly described, I would like now to list two more which are “new” for the fashion industry: the Supply Chain Data Analyst, responsible for the analysis of data aimed at optimising and innovating processes as well as supporting strategic decisions, and the Supply Chain Architect who faces the challenge of customer satisfaction by designing, for example, logistics networks that can cope with new needs (I am thinking about returns management in online distribution).

Beyond the technical skills required to perform each role in the supply chain best, companies are looking for candidates who can adapt to sudden changes and whose primary soft skills are flexibility, the ability to keep up-to-date, openness to innovation and great curiosity.



Jacqueline Bonati,
Tutor in Fashion Business courses, Milan
postgraduate-Master's Degrees · Master's Courses · Master of Arts