Inventory Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Inventory Specialist, or Inventory Control Specialist, oversees the ordering, storing, receiving and distributing processes of an organization’s products and supplies. Their main duties include controlling the flow of supplies and equipment, tracking and analyzing inventory maintenance and developing protocols for loss mitigation.

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Inventory Manager duties and responsibilities

Inventory Managers maintain daily records for invoices and shipments to identify which products need to be replenished. Some Inventory Managers track inventory with lists, but most use inventory management or supply chain software that calculates monthly and seasonal demand. Additional duties and responsibilities may include: 

  • Designing and implementing an inventory tracking system for optimized inventory control procedures
  • Examine the levels of raw materials and supplies to determine shortages
  • Document daily shipments and deliveries to replenish inventory
  • Create detailed reports for adjustments, inventory operations and stock levels
  • Evaluating new inventory, ensuring it’s ready to ship
  • Properly order new supplies avoiding excessive surplus or inefficiencies
  • Analyze various suppliers to ensure the company is receiving the best cost-effective deals
  • Hire and train new employees
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What does an Inventory Manager do?

Inventory Specialists usually work for department or retail stores, developing procedures to effectively manage and maintain a company’s inventory. They’ll make sure a company’s shipment is accurate by conducting inventory counting processes. Inventory Specialists also oversee and manage the inventory storage space in the warehouse to ensure there’s enough room to store new product shipments. 

When inventories start to run low, the Inventory Specialist will place restock orders and make sure they never run out of essential inventory items. They also use management software systems and technologies to manage and update their inventory records accordingly.

Inventory Manager skills and qualifications

Inventory Managers are responsible for recording and ordering materials, products and supplies for both small and large businesses. Individuals with strong record-keeping and organizational skills are often a good fit for an inventory management career. Strong communication skills are essential for Inventory Managers, as they must be able to communicate with customers and employees on a regular basis effectively. In addition, the following skills and qualifications are essential for the position: 

  • Leadership skills for hiring employees, resolving conflicts and keeping employees on task and motivated
  • Critical-thinking skills to establish action plans and routinely assess their effectiveness
  • Organizational skills to manage multiple moving pieces, people and orders
  • Problem-solving skills to anticipate problems before they happen and handle them appropriately when they do

Inventory Manager salary expectations 

An Inventory Manager makes an average of $57,941 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Inventory Manager education and training requirements 

Most Inventory Manager positions require a four-year bachelor’s degree from one of several applicable majors, including business administration and supply chain management where topics ranging from logistics to productivity are covered. Many students also utilize computer models to simulate distribution mechanisms or inventory management.

Some Inventory Manager positions also have certification requirements. Many professionals pursue the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation by successfully passing five exams through voluntary certification programs offered by the Association for Operations Management (APICS). Once certified, Inventory Managers maintain certification by accumulating points by participating in additional APICS-approved activities and continuing education courses. 

Inventory Manager experience requirements

Many colleges and universities offer a master’s degree or graduate certificate programs in supply chain management or operations for Inventory Managers interested in pursuing upper-level positions. Additional courses in information technology are also useful as companies increase the role of automation and computers in the inventory management process. 

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Frequently asked questions about Inventory Managers

 

Do Inventory Managers have different responsibilities in different industries?

Yes, Inventory Managers can work in a wide variety of industries where their job responsibilities often vary. They may work in the supply chain management industry, spending their time in the warehouse managing those team members and making sure all their shipments go out in time. In these roles, they’re typically responsible for using complex supply chain management software to enhance efficiencies when stocking and shipping. 

Some Inventory Managers work in retail and merchandising, where they take stock of current items and will order more from suppliers. They’re often responsible for making sure there’s enough inventory in the store while also managing costs and ensuring the company is getting good deals for the products they order. 

 

What makes a good Inventory Manager?

Good Inventory Managers have impressive analytical and record-keeping abilities so they can easily track shipment times and productivity levels. They should also have strong organizational skills to effectively take stock of inventories and to keep secure files and records of previous inventory reports. Inventory Managers are often in charge of several employees and tasks at a time, so they should be able to multitask and handle unexpected situations in a calm and logical manner.  

 

Who reports to an Inventory Manager?

Inventory Managers often oversee a large team of employees. The specific team members who report to them often vary depending on where they work. If they work in the warehouse, they may be supervising a larger team of Inventory Clerks and Inventory Specialists, along with additional warehouse team members.

Some Inventory Managers in retail may work independently or they may have an Inventory Specialist or Clerk work alongside them. These employees will typically complete smaller clerical items, so the Inventory Manager can finish longer-term tasks to improve efficiency levels. 

 

What's the difference between an Inventory Manager and a Warehouse Manager?

Though these roles are sometimes interchangeable, Inventory and Warehouse Managers may hold different responsibilities in various industries. Inventory Managers handle several processes within supply chain management, like inventory control and logistics. They usually make sure the items are safely stocked and order new products. Warehouse Managers typically handle the overall storage and movement of the products and materials in a warehouse. 

Inventory and Warehouse Manager roles are usually separate in larger organizations, where smaller businesses may involve the Inventory Manager overseeing the inventory and supply chain management processes, while also completing warehouse management tasks.

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