Inventory Manager Job Description, Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements to become an inventory manager. Get the facts about the job duties, education, and earning potential to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Inventory Manager Do?

Inventory managers regulate inventory systems to ensure that the right quantities of materials are available. They work in multiple settings in different industries. They must figure out the best way to track the inventory for their particular workplace. Inventory managers identify shortages in supplies, as well as make sure there is enough stock to meet the demands of customers. However, they must also make sure there is not a large surplus of any one item. These professionals may use different software to organize and maintain records. They must track daily shipments and deliveries. They may analyze data to try and predict future requirements. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as an inventory manager.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Education Field of StudyBusiness, economics, supply chain management, or management
Key SkillsAnalytical skills, decision-making skills, math skills, negotiating skills
Job Growth (2014-2024)2% for all transportation, storage and distribution managers*
Median Salary (2017)$54,481**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Is an Inventory Manager?

Inventory managers, also known as inventory control managers, oversee the inventory purchase process. As an inventory manager, you will make sure the process is efficient and cost-effective, predict the need for resources, and keep the supply in check with demand.

You may also be responsible for material quality and meeting customer service goals. This can mean working with purchasing and logistics managers in plants, distribution centers and the retail sector of a supply chain.

What Education and Training Do I Need?

You will need an understanding of the how inventory relates to accounting, database management, logistics operations and inventory flows. Most inventory management positions require at least a bachelor's degree. You may consider a major related to business, economics or management to introduce you to the concepts and skills necessary to work with inventory.

Another relevant course of study is supply chain management, which can familiarize you with the full range of the manufacturing process, from the selection of raw materials to the completed product. After earning a bachelor's degree, you may consider an entry-level position in inventory, such as expediter or inventory planner, to develop the skill set necessary to become an inventory manager.

Do I Need a Certification?

Although not a general requirement, certification can help you with your job search or career advancement. For example, the Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers the Certified in Production and Inventory Management program (www.apics.org). APIC's program is designed to develop your understanding of production and inventory management and improve your credentials as a professional. You will need to take four exams that test your knowledge of production and inventory management, supply chain management and related subjects to acquire this designation.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to Payscale.com in 2017, most inventory control managers earned between $30,398 and $80,338, which included commission, profit sharing and bonuses. You may also consider closely related positions that require similar training and have comparable job duties, such as purchasing manager or industrial production manager.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related managerial positions that require a bachelor's degree, including purchasing managers, financial managers and marketing managers. Purchasing managers decide what products or services to buy for an organization and coordinate the efforts of buyers and purchasing agents. Financial managers oversee the financial matters of an organization. They monitor investments and help the organization reach its financial goals. Marketing managers are responsible for advertising and creating interest in a particular product.

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