Inventory Control Supervisor
So you think you might like to become an inventory control supervisor. Inventory control supervisors work in supply chain management with distribution employees to improve productivity in large warehouses. They implement sound management practices to maximize worker efficiency while maintaining safety standards, and they understand warehouse management software and picking-packing equipment.
Common job tasks include monitoring physical inventory, overseeing inbound and outbound shipments, investigating discrepancies and monitoring the work of subordinates. Inventory control supervisors must also identify issues in the warehouse or delivery processes and implement efficiency improvements. Protective gear, like goggles and helmets, is often needed to ensure safety.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree (minimum)|
|Degree Ffields||Finance, accounting, or business|
|Experience||4+ years warehousing and/or inventory control|
|Key Sskills||Written and verbal communication, problem-solving, and data analysis skills; attention to detail; multitasking; Microsoft Office, database, and inventory management software; operation of fork lifts and pallet jacks|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com*
So what are the career requirements? Employers should look for someone with at least an associate's degree. The degree field should be finance, accounting, business or a related field. Most employers look for someone with four years of related experience. The key skills you should have include written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail, multitasking ability, data analysis, problem-solving skills and knowledge of relevant software, such as Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Word, database software and inventory management software.
According to PayScale.com, the median salary for an inventory control supervisor is $49,559.
Step 1: Obtain a Degree
While a high school diploma or G.E.D. may be sufficient for some employers, others prefer that an inventory control supervisor possess a minimum of an associate's degree in a business-related specialty, such as finance or accounting. These programs typically include core classes in math, accounting, economics and business fundamentals, as well as elective coursework in project management, leadership, human resources, communication and problem solving. Alternatively, degree programs specializing in the industrial distribution field are available and primarily cover topics such as industrial production processes, business, warehouse management and product distribution.
Here is a tip for success:
- Participate in an internship. In addition to coursework, many schools offer internships for credit for students attending a college degree program. These programs can also provide students with real-world experience and skills in their field that can be used after graduation.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Employers often require that inventory control supervisors have prior experience. Aspiring supervisors can gain this experience working in entry-level or supervisory roles in a warehouse. These roles can help employees gain familiarity with picking-packing procedures and standard warehouse equipment, such as pallet jacks and forklifts. Experience can also provide an understanding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations used to ensure safe working practices across the industry.
Here are some tips for success:
- Become familiar with warehouse management and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Many large, corporate-owned warehouses track inventory using wireless barcode scanners and touch-screen computers attached to pallet jacks and forklifts used by employees. Increasingly, the warehouse management software used in these computers is being integrated with company-wide ERP software suites, such as SAP Enterprise Resource Planning and Oracle Corporation's E-Business Suite. ERP software suites can help streamline distribution by minimizing and optimizing product movement in distribution centers, as well as track and evaluate employee performance. Aspiring inventory control supervisors utilize these suites in order to perform day-to-day management functions efficiently and help train new employees in the correct use of scanning equipment and data entry.
- Maintain a clean driving record. A driver's license and a clean driving record are required as a condition of employment for some inventory control supervisors. Maintain good driving habits to maximize the potential for employment.
Step 3: Attain Certification
Certification may not be required as a condition of employment, but may be helpful, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Association for Operations Management offers the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification. The CPIM certification program teaches essential management concepts, strategies and terms. Managers can learn techniques to make supply chains more efficient and optimize inventory control to maximize profitability. Certification requires candidates to pass exams in module areas such as basic supply chain management, procurement, and purchasing and materials management. Exams are administered via computer-based testing, and the APICS offers various review courses, workshops and publications for self-study.
Those certified must complete specified professional development activities every three years to maintain certification. Managers can also take a single recertification exam that combines questions on the five modules in case their certification expires.
Step 4: Advance in Management
Inventory control supervisors generally earn higher pay through experience, or due to specialization from advanced training and education. Positions such as facility manager, regional manager or operations manager may require an advanced degree and experience as well as leadership skills.
Obtaining a degree, gaining work experience, seeking certification and advancing in management are the steps to take to make the most of a career as an inventory control supervisor.