Parts and Inventory Management

Read on to learn more about a career in parts and inventory management, where you can manage a warehouse or supply chain for a business. Explore certificate and degree programs, career prospects and salary data.

Is Parts and Inventory Management for Me?

Career Overview

Parts and inventory management involves the storage, movement and control of parts and products used and produced by businesses. Inventory managers may have worked their way up through warehouse jobs or may have graduate degrees from business schools. In any type of firm, proper management of supplies is critical to producing products in a profitable fashion. Some jobs will require work experience, while others will require degrees in fields like operations and supply chain management , engineering or accounting, depending upon the size and type of business.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of industrial production management, of which inventory management is a sub-category, is expected to decline by two percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS recorded the median salary earned by industrial production managers to be $90,790 as of May 2013.

How Can I Work in Parts and Inventory Management?

Undergraduate Education

To move up into an inventory management position from within a warehouse or parts department, you may want to earn a certificate or an associate's degree in business management. Coursework in these programs will likely cover supply chain design and management, lean production, human resources management and distribution systems. Certificates normally take a year to earn, while associate's degrees may take up to three years.

Bachelor's degree programs in business with a specialization in logistics and supply chain management may prepare you to manage larger operations. Once hired, you will likely need to go through on-the-job training which would involve your spending time learning every facet of production. Coursework in a 4-year program will cover logistics management, information technology and business process management.

Graduate Studies

If you want to manage inventory and parts for a large company, you may want to earn a master's degree in business with an emphasis on operations management. Graduate degree programs can take between one and three years to complete, depending upon whether you are taking them part or full time. Your coursework may cover business law, management and accounting.

Certification

Professional credentialing is available through the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). To earn certification, you will need to successfully pass five exams and meet continuing education requirements (www.apics.org). APICS exams will cover such topics as inventory management, supply chain management, operations and scheduling.

Necessary Skills

In order to do this type of work, you will need to be organized and have an understanding of how the business you work in is run. You will need excellent communicative and interpersonal skills. Inventory databases are widely used in managing parts and product deliveries, so facility with computers is also necessary.

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