Warehouse managers are a key link in the supply chain of any product. The rise of Amazon and other online stores has led to an increased proliferation and complexity of warehouses and distribution centers. In this post, we will discuss the warehouse manager job description, qualifications, skills, and day-to-day experience.
A warehouse manager’s job can be divided into three phases: receiving goods, keeping goods, and distributing goods. Within those phases, there are many important tasks, like cataloging, storage, safety, security, coordinating with other logistics managers, and overseeing the warehouse team.
Job Overview: What Does A Warehouse Manager Do?
A warehouse manager has to handle the organization and operation of a warehouse, no matter what time it is. They often work late at night or over the weekend to ensure that high-priority items can still be processed.
To become a warehouse manager, you generally need a bachelor’s in supply chain management or a related field, although any business degree will help. There are plenty of opportunities to advance, depending on the company you work for, but most tend to involve more education. There are several layers to managing supply chains for businesses.
Warehouse Manager Job Duties
- Maintain security of the warehouse, loading dock, and surrounding area to prevent theft.
- Manage the intake of items to be stored in the warehouse.
- Place stored items in safe, appropriate locations, taking into account temperature, light exposure, size, weight, and available space.
- Prepare loads to be shipped out and assist in loading trucks with outgoing items.
- Create a schedule to manage warehouse workers and their time.
- Adhere to safety codes for both workers and equipment.
- Hire and fire necessary personnel.
- Speak with upstream and downstream partners to predict when items will arrive and leave, while managing inventory and space.
Warehouse Manager Job Essential Skills
Organization. A warehouse manager has to deal with a constant stream of items moving in and out at different rates, with different origins and destinations, and over different time periods. It takes a highly organized person to maintain knowledge of all the relevant shipments and track how they need to make use of their resources to get things done.
Flexibility. Especially early on, warehouse managers will be assigned unfavorable shifts. A warehouse manager has to be able to operate under difficult conditions and adjust to sudden changes in the delivery schedule and other unexpected events.
Becoming a Warehouse Manager
In general, the barriers to starting a low-level training job as a warehouse manager are not high. However, going further takes significant amounts of experience and more education in logistics and supply chain management.
Qualifications and Training
The entry point for a warehouse manager job is a college degree in business or a field that is closely connected to logistics. It is possible to earn that degree while working in the warehouse and then move up internally. The other route is to enter management directly after graduating.
In both cases, the degree provides essential knowledge and skills for overseeing a warehouse. Typically, new managers will have less responsibility and take worse shifts, but they do extra on the job training for the first few years. Then, they can start to work more independently.
Eventually, they can move up to senior managers or even regional managers if they want to climb the logistics ladder. These opportunities are more common in larger companies. These moves might require a master’s or MBA in supply chain management or a related field to provide greater depth of knowledge.
The demand for work experience varies. In general, the degree is a requirement and experience is more of a bonus from the point of view of employers. It is rare for there to be warehouse management internships available, so getting that first job can be difficult.
Becoming established after that initial training period opens up a lot of opportunities both internally and externally. Good interviewing skills and school performance can go a long way towards getting the first job, but after the first hire, the details of the degree tend to be less important.
Warehouse managers often wind up working poor hours, according to the warehouse manager job description. That might mean working the graveyard shift or on weekends. Warehouses tend to run for most of the day and every day of the week, so there always needs to be a manager available.
Managers with more experience can choose better shifts, but there is always work to be done at tough hours. This is a challenge due to the 24/7 nature of logistics work, especially when it comes to priority shipments. There is also a strong seasonal element because logistics becomes much heavier and more intense from fall until the holiday season ends.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
There are two main factors affecting the job outlook for warehouse managers. The first is that more and more items are being shipped worldwide, so there is a higher need for warehouses and logistics. However, at the same time, more logistics companies are turning to automation to replace human labor. This can eliminate both floor workers and low-level managers.
A warehouse manager can get more education to break into upper levels of supply chain organization and logistics, but the threat of automation is not going away, and it is only going to decrease the need for humans in warehouses as time goes on.
For now, a typical warehouse manager wins about $50,930 a year, which makes up for the long hours they sometimes need to withstand.
Warehouse manager is a job that is often challenging due to its hours and complexity, but is also relatively accessible. The biggest concern that current and future warehouse managers should have is how automation will affect their career path. The future prospects for all warehouse-related jobs are a concern.
As a result, it is a good idea to start cultivating other skills and developing a possible exit strategy. It is not clear precisely how or when automation will replace people, but a reduction in the warehouse labor force has to be mentioned in the warehouse manager job description.