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How to Become a Distribution Center Manager

Research the requirements to become a distribution center manager. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a distribution center manager. View article »

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  • 0:03 Be a Distribution…
  • 0:51 Career Requirements
  • 1:07 Steps to Becoming a DCM

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Distribution Center Manager?

Distribution center managers handle all distribution and storage operations in a company. They usually work in warehouse settings managing a team of staff members, with the goal of minimizing company expenses while maximizing profits and productivity. Supervising others can be challenging, and these managers may have to deal with difficult employees. Most employers searching for distribution center managers require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, like business or logistics. Employers also desire experienced candidates for this position.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary for transportation, storage and distribution managers of $86,630 in May 2015.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Business or related area
Experience Minimum 1 year distribution center experience
Key Skills Analytical skills, communication skills, leadership skills, attention to detail and computer skills
Salary (2015) $86,630 (median for transportation, storage and distribution managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ONet OnLine

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  • Actuarial Sciences
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  • Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
  • Transportation Management

Steps to Becoming a Distribution Center Manager

Let's take a look at the steps required to become a distribution center manager:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The first step in becoming a distribution center manager is to earn a bachelor's degree in business or a related field. In the bachelor's curriculum, students take general education courses along with core major courses and electives. Some typical topics of study in an undergraduate business program include marketing, finance, accounting, business communication and organizational behavior.

Success Tip

Develop excellent communication skills. The ability to effectively communicate in writing and speech is a very important quality employers look for in distribution center managers. Since the position is managerial and includes the development and training of other employees, a professional demeanor is also important. An aspiring distribution center manager might take some elective courses designed to improve these skills, such as public relations, negotiation, public speaking and human resources.

Step 2: Acquire Relevant Work Experience

After earning a bachelor's degree, students can go on to acquire the work experience necessary to qualify for distribution center manager positions. Recent graduates can find entry-level staffing positions in warehouses or distribution centers. Jobs in smaller companies or remote locations might have less competition or increased opportunities for advancement. While some employers seek candidates who have general distribution center experience, others may require candidates to have a number of years of experience in a supervisory role.

Step 3: Seek Professional Development and Advancement Opportunities

Distribution center managers use a wide range of computer software programs in their work. Become familiar with commonly used software programs and systems. Demonstrating proficiency and familiarity with these types of programs might give a candidate a career advantage. Earning an MBA may also give candidates an advantage in earning promotions to upper management or director positions.

To become a distribution center manager, you will need a bachelor's degree and experience in the field.

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