Controlling inventory is an essential facet of nearly any business, as they ensure a company has the appropriate amount of supplies. You'll need at least a high school diploma for entry level positions but many employers prefer someone with postsecondary education.
Inventory control is a component of business operations that ensures an appropriate amount of supply without excess. Inventory specialists and clerks work in a range of organizations, from factories to hospitals. Inventory control clerks require a high school diploma, whereas you will need an associate's or bachelor's degree to become an inventory control specialist.
|Career||Inventory Control Clerk||Inventory Control Specialist|
|Education Requirements||High School Diploma||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||3% for materials record clerks*||-4% for industrial production managers*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$34,709**||$42,450**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com (2015)
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Inventory Control Clerk Job Duties
Whereas internal control specialists have a hand in setting organizational procedures for inventory control, clerks are generally responsible for following them. Under the supervision of a manger, clerks record and maintain inventory lists, review paperwork and reports, check product codes, process shipping orders, and provide customer service. Inventory control clerks also support their mangers by helping with administrative tasks, identifying discrepancies, and coming up solutions to problems.
Salary.com reports that inventory control clerks are typically required to hold a high school diploma to qualify for most jobs. Some employers may prefer candidates with an associate's degree in business operations and at least a year of professional experience. Depending on the type of inventory being handled, inventory clerk positions may require good physical fitness and the ability to lift or stand for long periods of time. With experience, clerks have the opportunity to advance into higher positions, which allow for more creativity.
As of January 2016, most basic inventory control clerks earned an annual salary of between $25,342 and $46,578, according to PayScale.com. Some industries in which inventory control clerks may be employed include transportation and shipping, retail and wholesale, warehousing and logistics, and food manufacturing. The BLS projected that employment growth for materials record clerks would be stagnant at about 3% for 2014-2024.
Inventory Control Specialist Job Duties
Inventory control specialists typically work in a warehouse. They collect data using a computerized system, which allows them to track various aspects of inventory. This data is used to calculate products and parts orders, to ensure that the proper amount of inventory is distributed at the right time. Additionally, specialists may track defective pieces of inventory, rates of return, rates of purchase, and rates of accuracy, in order to maintain and improve quality control inventory control specialists are also responsible for responding to sales inquiries, filing reports, managing employees, and providing creative solutions to discrepancies.
Many employers prefer to hire inventory control specialists who have a bachelor's degree in relevant areas, such as business or mathematics, though many positions are open to graduates with an associate's degree. Candidates are also required to be proficient in a computerized database or document system as well as office applications.
According to PayScale.com, in January 2016, the salary for most inventory control supervisors was between $35,640 and $65,787 a year.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2015, there were 173,400 industrial production manager jobs in the country, including inventory control specialist positions, many of which were in manufacturing industries. The BLS expected that the employment of industrial production manager positions would decrease by 4% between 2014 and 2024.
Inventory controllers must be organized, mathematical, deliberate and have strong communication skills. If this sounds like you then you should consider becoming an inventory controller.