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Inventory Manager: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an inventory manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Inventory managers monitor the level of supplies in an organization to ensure purchases are made in a timely manner. This may include the purchase of all products and materials required for business operations. A bachelor's degree is typically required.

Essential Information

Inventory managers are responsible for recording and ordering supplies, products, and materials for businesses both small and large. People with strong organizational and record-keeping skills may be a good fit for a career in inventory management. Becoming an inventory manager generally entails completion of a bachelor's degree program. Managers may also benefit from completing graduate coursework and earning certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%
Average Salary (2015) $114,130

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Inventory Manager Job Description

Inventory managers monitor available supplies, materials, and products in order to ensure that customers and employees have access to the materials they need. Inventory managers may work for large corporations that sell products to the general public or for smaller businesses that store required goods for service technicians. For example, an inventory manager may monitor the aisles in a grocery store to make sure that shelves are stocked for customers. Another inventory manager may maintain a set number of automotive parts for a group of repair shops.

Job Duties

Most inventory managers maintain daily records of shipments and invoices to see what products need to be replenished. While some managers track inventory by making lists, most use supply chain or inventory management software. These programs calculate a monthly or seasonal demand for materials and may even place computer-generated orders.

Inventory managers may also be responsible for using mathematical models to forecast future stock needs. For instance, new construction projects may require that supply-house inventory managers order parts that were previously not stocked. Inventory managers may study sales numbers, construction supply needs and vendor availabilities to come up with an estimated amount of product to maintain.

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Requirements for Becoming an Inventory Manager

Typically, a career in inventory management requires a four-year bachelor's degree. Students may choose from a variety of applicable majors, including supply chain management and business administration. Bachelor's degree programs in supply chain management, for example, usually cover topics ranging from productivity to logistics. Students may also use computer models to simulate inventory management or distribution mechanisms.

Upper-level inventory managers may also be required to complete some advanced coursework. Most colleges and universities offer graduate certificate or master's degree programs in operations or supply chain management. Additionally, as companies increase the role of computers and automation in the inventory management process, students may benefit from supplementing their education with courses in information technology.

Certification Requirements

The Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers voluntary certification programs to qualified inventory managers (www.apics.org). These professionals may consider pursuing the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation. Earning the CPIM designation entails successfully completing five qualifying exams. Once certified, professionals must accumulate points by taking continuing education courses and participating in other APICS-approved activities to maintain certification.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that the employment of inventory managers will grow by only 1% between 2014 and 2024. The average annual salary earned by inventory managers was $114,130 in May 2015, per the BLS.

Inventory managers must maintain accurate records of supplies, products, and materials. They typically have budgetary responsibilities and maintain data in an electronic inventory management system. Many inventory managers possess a bachelor's degree, and some obtain voluntary certification.

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