Inventory Manager Job Description and Responsibilities
Updated May 23, 2023
An inventory manager oversees a warehouse team and monitors a company's inventory levels to ensure it has enough stock to sell, ship or deliver. Their duties typically include working with suppliers, hiring and training new warehouse staff and using data and software to record inventory and reorder stock. Learning more about the responsibilities, skills and requirements of inventory managers can help you determine whether you want to pursue this career.
In this article, we explain what an inventory manager does, outline the requirements to become one and offer additional details about the role to help you explore this career path.
Inventory manager responsibilities
An inventory manager oversees their employer's products, supplies and materials. They usually supervise inventory clerks and warehouse staff and liaise with members of different departments within the business. Inventory managers work in businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries. They may specialize in various types of inventory, such as raw materials or finished goods. Their responsibilities can vary depending on their industry and type of inventory management, but they typically include:
Counting or using computerized inventory monitoring or supply chain software tools to track stock levels accurately
Conducting regular cycle counts or stocktakes to determine available inventory
Ordering additional inventory when stocks are low
Sourcing suppliers and maintaining relationships with them
Addressing problems in supply and delivery and finding appropriate solutions
Preparing inventory for delivery or shipping to customers
Hiring and training inventory clerks and warehouse staff, delegating tasks and creating schedules for them
Studying sales numbers and forecasting future inventory needs
Inventory manager requirements
For an inventory manager position, employers may require you to have the following qualifications:
Businesses typically require inventory managers to have at least a bachelor's degree in inventory management, supply chain management, operations or business administration. Some employers may hire candidates without a degree if they have extensive experience in inventory control and distribution. In college, taking information technology courses can help you develop skills to use supply chain and forecasting software. You may also choose to pursue a master's degree in your chosen discipline, though it's not typically a requirement for the role.
Inventory managers typically work in inventory control or distribution roles before transitioning to this senior position. Working as an inventory control clerk or warehouse worker can help you become familiar with inventory management and supply chain software. In these roles, you can also learn about picking-packing procedures, the use of warehouse equipment and occupational health and safety procedures in the supply chain.
Related: 13 Types of Warehouse Positions
While certification is not required, many employers prefer candidates with the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation. You can earn this certification through the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). To become certified, you can pass an examination assessing your skills in supply chains and strategy, inventory, distribution and operations planning, among other areas. You can study for the exam by attending an in-person or online class. The ASCM also offers study materials for purchase if you prefer to study independently.
After receiving certification, you can participate in professional development activities to maintain your certification. You can also apply for a recertification exam if your certification becomes inactive.
Inventory manager skills
Strong leadership and technical skills help inventory managers to excel in their roles. Many businesses look for inventory manager candidates with the following skills:
Inventory managers have a comprehensive understanding of inventory management techniques so they can monitor stock correctly and order supplies on schedule. You can become familiar with these different processes, such as periodic and perpetual systems, to ensure optimal productivity when completing your tracking duties. It's also helpful to learn about different inventory tracking methods, such as barcode and QR tracking, to manage inventory levels effectively.
Supply chain software
Most inventory managers use inventory monitoring or supply chain software tools to keep track of stock levels and reorder stock on time. Forecasting tools can also help them predict future inventory needs. Knowing how to use these tools can help you become proficient in the programs you use daily.
Inventory managers use their mathematics skills to track stock levels manually, use tracking software, comply with budgets and read and create invoices. You can use your mathematics skills to detect and correct errors when tracking reports seem inaccurate. Mathematics skills can also help you with planning and forecasting duties.
Working as an inventory manager can be physically demanding. They often spend much of their workdays standing and walking between business departments, such as the sales floor, store office, stock room or warehouse. You may also use physical fitness skills to lift and move heavy stock within a warehouse.
Inventory managers provide guidance, direction and coaching for warehouse team members and inventory clerks. In larger companies, an inventory manager may supervise hundreds of warehouse team members. Your leadership skills can enable you to motivate teams, settle disputes and keep morale high within the workplace.
Inventory managers often work on several tasks at once. For example, they may oversee staff, count and replenish inventory and communicate with suppliers throughout their workdays. Multitasking skills can help you complete these duties effectively and on time.
Attention to detail
An inventory manager is responsible for keeping the correct amount of stock for a company's customers and employees. It requires attention to detail to order stock correctly. You can also use this skill to recognize potential problems within the supply chain before they become major concerns.
Inventory managers rely on their interpersonal skills to interact with suppliers, warehouse staff and professional contacts. You may use your interpersonal skills to develop meaningful relationships so you can secure the best deals on inventory. These skills can also help you communicate effectively with other business departments, such as sales or operations.
Inventory manager job description example
Review this inventory manager job description to help you understand this role more fully:
Kaylee's Apparel is seeking an inventory manager to manage stock in a busy fashion store. In this position, you support the warehouse team and ensure the store has sufficient stock for in-store and online customers. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field and warehouse experience are essential. CPIM certification and managerial experience are preferred. If you're a natural leader with an attention to detail, Kaylee's Apparel wants to hear from you.
How to become an inventory manager
You can take the following steps to become an inventory manager:
1. Earn a degree
A four-year bachelor's degree in inventory management, supply chain management, operations or business administration is a typical prerequisite for working as an inventory manager. Research schools to find one with a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. While earning your degree, consider completing an internship in a warehouse to become familiar with this work environment.
2. Gain work experience
Most inventory managers start their careers working in warehouses as inventory clerks or packers. Search online to find entry-level positions in your area. Gain at least two years of experience to meet the requirements of many employers for inventory management roles.
Related: What Is an Inventory Clerk?
3. Complete CPIM certification
While optional, earning the CPIM designation may help you secure a position as an inventory manager or increase your earning potential. There are no prerequisites for the certification, and you can complete your studies online or with a handbook at home. For this reason, you may consider earning your certification while gaining experience in a warehouse position.
4. Update your resume
Update your resume to show potential employers your education, certification and experience. Remember to highlight your skills and describe your recent achievements using factual data and statistics. Review job descriptions for the inventory manager positions you want and use keywords on your resume to pass applicant tracking systems.
5. Apply for inventory manager jobs
Look on job-search websites to find open inventory manager positions. Send your resume and a customized cover letter to businesses hiring for this role. If your current employer is hiring an inventory manager, consider applying for the position. You may have an advantage, as you're already familiar with its supply chain procedures.
Inventory manager salary
Nationally, inventory managers make an average salary of $61,982 per year. Your salary in this position may vary based on your employer, location and experience. For example, large businesses may pay inventory managers higher salaries than smaller firms. Certifications may also help you earn a higher salary in an inventory management role. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
Related: 16 Highest Paid Supply Chain Jobs
Inventory manager work environment
Inventory managers work for a variety of businesses, including retail stores and manufacturing companies. Most work a standard 40-hour workweek. Some inventory managers, such as those working in retail environments, may work weekends and late nights based on store hours.
Related careers to inventory manager
If you're interested in becoming an inventory manager, you may also want to learn more about these similar roles:
Please note that the company mentioned in this article is not affiliated with Indeed.
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