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Retail businesses, grocery stores, warehouses, and distribution centers depend on inventory managers to ensure that the appropriate quantities of items are kept in stock. Managers review inventory levels and sales data to determine when to order new shipments from wholesalers. A person who wants to become an inventory manager generally needs to possess strong communication, organization, and computer skills. The specific education and training requirements to become an inventory manager vary, but most professionals have college degrees and previous experience in related jobs.
An individual who is interested in inventory management should research the responsibilities of the job to make sure that he or she would be a good fit. Professionals need to possess excellent math and reasoning skills to take accurate inventories, calculate the costs of new shipments, and determine when more or less of a certain item should be ordered. They typically spend a significant amount of time working on computers, creating electronic spreadsheets and filling out purchase orders. Inventory managers also rely on their communication skills when speaking with suppliers over the telephone and dealing with employees and customers in person.
An associate's or bachelor's degree in business administration can be very helpful for a person who wants to become an inventory manager. As a business student, an individual has the chance to learn how companies keep track of sales, determine appropriate inventory levels, and coordinate with shipping companies. Such knowledge is indispensable in managerial positions. Near the end of a degree program, a person can start browsing online job search sites, looking in newspaper classified ads, and utilizing the career placement resources available at his or her school to find openings.
Some employers put more emphasis on professional experience than on college credentials. A person who has worked as a store clerk or warehouse associate already possesses many of the skills necessary to become an inventory manager. In fact, many companies prefer to promote existing workers who are already familiar with procedures to inventory management jobs, instead of hiring outside help.
In many countries, national organizations offer voluntary training courses and certification exams that can help prospective inventory managers further improve their credentials. In the United States, for example, the Association for Operations Management offers test-takers the opportunity to become Certified Production and Inventory Managers (CPIM). With CPIM credentials or a similar designation in another country, an individual typically enjoys many opportunities to become an inventory manager.
@indemnifyme - It's neat your friend worked his way up from the bottom! I always like to hear stories like that!
Your friend might want to consider getting one of the certifications mentioned in the article, maybe the Certified Production and Inventory Managers one. I feel like the economy is pretty uncertain, and anyone can find themselves out of a job. I bet your friend would be a little bit more marketable if he had experience and a certification!
A good friend of mine used to work as an inventory manager. I used to tease him and say his job was to shop all day, but really, that description isn't far from the truth! Like the article said, a big part of the job is ordering from wholesalers.
My friend actually worked his way up to inventory manager at a grocery store from working as a cashier. He never went to college, and instead got on the job training. I wasn't surprised he was promoted though, he's very detail oriented and a hard worker.
He tells me the job isn't all fun and games though: if you make a mistake and don't order enough, or order too much, the store can lose money. So his boss expects him to make very few mistakes!
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