Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Manager Career Guide

Increasing consumer activity drives demand for the goods that move through warehouse distribution centers. As retailers ramp up to meet demand, career opportunities for warehouse distribution center operations managers may 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

For some organizations, the warehouse distribution center operations manager is a leadership position. Local, regional, national and global organizations rely on these professionals 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 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, 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 a college degree is often a minimum requirement.

  • 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: Many employers require a four-year bachelor’s degree in operations management, business or a related discipline. Preference may be shown to candidates with knowledge in distribution operations, supply chain or retail fulfillment. Some management positions will require an advanced degree and additional work experience.
  • Master’s Degree: Certain warehouse distribution center ops manager positions may require advanced degrees, such as a Master’s in Supply Chain or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). These advanced degrees, which typically take an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level, can 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 multitasking abilities
  • Self-motivation
  • 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 companies offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs to help eligible employees seeking an advanced degree.

Potential Salary for Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Management Jobs

According to a May 2016 national survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for the category of employees known as transportation, storage and distribution managers was $97,630.

Salary potential is based on numerous factors, including industry type, size and location, as well as an individual’s education and experience. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.

Launching Your Career in Warehouse Distribution Center Ops Management

If you are highly organized, enjoy a fast-paced environment and have a knack for thinking on your feet, you could find a fulfilling career in warehouse distribution center ops management. Job opportunities may be found across a diverse range of industries, so use this guide to learn more about the educational qualifications and skills sought by employers.

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