Increasing consumer activity creates a higher demand for the goods that move through warehouse distribution centers. As retailers ramp up to meet demand, warehouse distribution center operations manager career opportunities expand. These professionals ensure efficiency in various areas, using their organizational, management and planning skills to achieve company goals.
Is a warehouse distribution center ops management career a good fit for your skills and interests? Find out with this career guide. We’ll tell you more about this intriguing career, what it takes to break into the field, where the jobs are, and the potential earnings.
What is a Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Manager?
The warehouse distribution center operations manager helps a company meet its customers’ needs and expectations. They supervise the people and processes that move goods from a warehouse distribution center to retail stores or directly to consumers. They organize all aspects of receiving, storing and distributing their company’s product mix, which can range from sporting goods to housewares, electronics, groceries, furniture, clothing and much more. Warehouse distribution center ops managers are responsible for documenting activities, making improvements and managing operations to maximize efficiency.
Why Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Managers Matter
In most organizations, the warehouse distribution center operations manager is in a leadership position. They are depended upon by local, regional, national and global organizations to help meet sales goals by ensuring the products consumers want are available when they’re ready to make a purchase. Depending on the size of the company, warehouse distribution center ops managers may be responsible for distributing products to hundreds or thousands of stores, or directly to consumers via online sales.
These professionals utilize a variety of skills to manage inbound activities, such as receiving goods from manufacturers or vendors; managing the storage of inventory until its needed; and overseeing order fulfillment and shipping. Specific job duties typically include implementing safety and security procedures, preparing and managing budgets, and hiring and supervising workers. Warehouse distribution center ops managers often collaborate with other department leaders to coordinate order fulfillment, purchasing and inventory levels, and communicate with retail stores regarding the shipments they will receive.
Warehouse distribution center ops managers are also often required to review processes, find areas of inefficiency and make suggestions for improvements. They typically manage paperwork such as invoices and sales orders, and prepare reports and budgets for management review.
Where Can I Find Jobs as a Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Manager?
While the skills required for a warehouse distribution center ops manager are valuable across multiple industries, the employers who typically hire for this position tend to operate in retailing activities. Other potential employers include shipping and warehousing companies, third party logistics (3PL) firms, and transportation companies and utilities providers.
Education Preparation for Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Manager Jobs
Employers hiring for warehouse distribution center ops manager positions will be looking for a combination of education, experience and demonstrated skills applicable to the job. Specific qualifications will vary according to the company, but most will require a college degree at minimum.
- Associate’s Degree: Qualifying for entry-level jobs in warehousing may be possible with a two-year associate’s degree and related work experience. Advancing to operations management positions typically requires a bachelor’s degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Most employers require a four-year bachelor’s degree in operations management, business or a related discipline. Many will show preference to candidates with knowledge in distribution operations, supply chain, or retail fulfillment. Some management level positions will require an advanced degree, additional work experience, or both.
- Master’s Degree: Certain warehouse distribution center ops manager positions may require advanced degrees, such as a Master's in Supply Chain, Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) or Master’s in Information Technology with a specialization in Enterprise Resource Planning. These advanced degrees typically take an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level, and may expand your career opportunities.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement
Beyond the required education, preparing for a warehouse distribution center ops manager career means honing the skills that today’s employers are seeking. These include proficiency in reporting and tracking software applications, and effective verbal and written communication and leadership skills. In addition, the personal attributes a potential employer may require include:
- Creative problem solving and multi-tasking abilities.
- Strategic planning and forecasting ability.
- Decision-making and analytical skills.
Advancing in a warehouse distribution center ops manager career typically requires additional work experience or an advanced degree. Some employers may offer tuition assistance that could enable you to earn an advanced degree.
Potential Salary for Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Management Jobs
According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary for warehouse distribution center ops managers was $80,210. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
Launching Your Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Management Career
If you are highly organized, enjoy a fast-paced environment, and have a knack for thinking on your feet, you could be a great fit for a warehouse distribution center ops managment career. Job opportunities exist throughout the country, and even around the globe, so use this guide to prepare for this exciting and rewarding career.
* Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.