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How to Become a Distribution Center Operations Manager

Learn how to become a distribution center operations manager. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in the field of distribution center operations management.

Should I Become a Distribution Center Operations Manager?

A distribution center operations manager oversees groups of workers dedicated to the shipping, receiving and storing of products. The manager also plans the activities and operations within the organization's distribution center with a departmental budget in mind. Supervising others who may be unmotivated can be challenging; successful managers might need to determine any causes of dissatisfaction and resolve those issues.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma required; bachelor's degree preferred by most employers
Degree Field Business; operations management; supply chain management
Experience Varies per employer; average range of 2+ years of experience
Key Skills Management; customer service; production; problem solving, critical thinking, listening, speaking, writing and reasoning abilities; industry software skills, including inventory management sofware, materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software, and project management software.
Salary $93,180 (mean annual salary as of May 2014)

Sources: O NET Online, Job postings (December 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Most employers prefer prospective managers to have a bachelor's degree. Candidates may want to pursue a degree program in business administration with concentrations in either operations management or supply chain management. Examples of coursework within an undergraduate program are service operations, logistics and distribution, marketing and cost management systems.

Step 2: Gain Experience

  • Work part-time to gain experience. Candidates can benefit from an entry-level, part-time job while completing a degree program. Students who work at distribution operation centers while in school can gain valuable experience. Since most employers are seeking some prior work experience as well as a bachelor's degree, having a job in the industry will enhance job prospects following graduation.
  • Complete an internship program. Internships provide students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in distribution operations centers. Such programs are generally completed toward the end of a degree program.

Step 3: Apply for a Position

Managers in distribution centers must have good leadership, organization and communication skills in order to be able to effectively direct a team of workers. Applicants may initially start out in entry-level jobs in which they can learn about distribution center operations and supply chain management before being promoted to higher-level positions. Jobs tend to be found in large distribution centers utilized by multiple companies, although some companies may have their own warehouses.

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