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Supply Chain Managers

Day in the Life Interview

Meet Obaid Ghani, a supply chain analyst at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP).

Please share your name, title, and a description of your job responsibilities.
My name is Obaid Ghani. I am a supply chain analyst at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP). Quality Bicycle Products is a bicycle parts and accessories dealer in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The supply chain management process starts by forecasting what our customers will buy. We pipeline that information to our vendors — what we need and when we need it — and the systems will make recommendations. We try to make sure those forecasts fit with what we actually need, so we have product here when we need it: not too much since we have storage/space constraints and not too little because then we'd be unable to fill orders.

Supply chain management positions vary by company, but for me, my main responsibilities include inventory investment analysis, databases and reporting for our department, and the sales and operations planning process. So, I facilitate that across the company.

  • Inventory investment analysis involves monitoring all of our inventory accounts, about 500 overall, to look at how everything adds up. I see where we are heading, and make sure we have cash flow to buy the inventory that we need across the company. I can be an extra set of eyes to catch errors, highlight them, and address them as needed.
  • Databases are where my work starts. I get the data together to see where we should be and where we are, and compare those two pieces of information. We have an Enterprise Resource Planning System and Orbiting System, an internal warehouse management systems. There are a lot of transactions and data to look at to see how products are performing. I use that data to run analytics and make recommendations to the management at QBP.
  • Sales and operations planning involves getting all the departments on one page to do collaborative forecasting for the company. During this process, we get people from finance, marketing, plus sales and brand managers together to make decisions about ordering and inventory. Then we track that progress month-to-month to see how it plays out. We do that for each brand level that our company carries, and then roll it all up together to make sure our overall inventory and cash flow projection line up.

What is a typical day like at your job?
QBP is a result-based company, so for me, my typical hours are flexible as long as I get my work done. Sometimes I come in at 7 a.m., sometimes at 9 a.m. Mondays are my busy day, when I come in I look at everything that has changed from the previous week. I download lots of reports, plug them into databases, and look at where we are, where we were, and where we should be. Once my analysis is done, I talk to various people about accounts, inventory, etc. Every Monday at 1 p.m., I meet with our purchasing team to go over the reports and talk about strategies for future purchasing and forecasting. We also discuss other projects related to process or best practices.

In my role, I work with buyers, planners, and the management team here. We're always trying to optimize our inventory investment. Opportunities to take on a little more here, give up space there, how to optimize our work.

How did you get started working in this field?
Throughout high school, I worked at a local bike shop. While I was working there, I found out that QBP was located in the Twin Cities, and eventually some of my friends started working here. In college, I thought I'd work here for a summer or two and stock up on some bikes, but — after I started — it turned into a lot more. In the warehouse, there was a lot of opportunity to participate in process improvement projects, and that was where my interest in this field started. While I worked in the warehouse, I got involved in a project that saved the company more than $100,000 per year. I like these projects, and the leadership became supportive of helping me learn and grown. I went through different positions in warehouse, and then moved into a warehouse analyst position. Eventually, I ran into someone that was a purchasing manager at a company event who asked what my plan was after graduation. He wanted me to help him develop a supply chain position, so we collaborated on creating the job. After graduation, I applied for the new position and got the job.

Read more from Obaid's day in the life interview.