What Does an Inventory Manager Do? (With Salary Expectations)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Inventory managers oversee the inventory levels of a business so there is no shortage of supply, which increases customer satisfaction. They're detail-oriented and organised individuals who may work in a variety of industries. Learning what an inventory manager does, how much do they earn and what skills you may use become one is important if you're interested in this kind of career.

In this article, we explain what does an inventory manager do, discuss the average salary expectations and provide other important career details, such as the key skills you may use to help you determine if it is a suitable career path for you.

What does an inventory manager do?

If you're interested in this career, you may wonder, 'What does an inventory manager do?' An inventory manager oversees the stock levels of their employer's products, supplies and materials. They typically lead a team of inventory clerks or warehouse colleagues to receive, record and monitor new stock coming in and oversee orders that need to be shipped out. Inventory managers work for businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries. Duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the size of the business, but typically include:

  • counting or using inventory monitoring software to accurately track inventory levels.

  • designing and implementing inventory tracking systems to optimise inventory control procedures.

  • monitoring stock and raw material inventory to identify shortages.

  • ordering additional supplies when stocks are low.

  • sourcing suppliers and maintaining strong working relationships with them, including liaising with suppliers to resolve supply, delivery and quality problems.

  • analysing different suppliers to find the most cost-effective deals.

  • preparing inventory for shipping and delivery to customers.

  • generating detailed reports on inventory operations and stock levels.

  • hiring and training inventory clerks and warehouse staff, delegate tasks and create rosters for the team.

Where do inventory managers work?

Inventory managers work within a diverse range of industries, that includes manufacturing, hospitality and retail businesses. While specific duties for inventory managers often vary depending on the industry they work in, their key responsibility is the efficient management of their employer's stock levels to avoid the over or under ordering of supplies. In industries that handle perishable goods, understanding how to store goods safely is an additional responsibility of the role.

Read more: Types of Careers in Logistics and 11 Logistics Jobs

Inventory manager average salary

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an inventory manager in Australia is $74,129 per year. Please note, salary expectations can vary depending on location, employer and experience. For the most up to date salary information, click the link above.

Related: What Is a Remuneration Package? (And How To Negotiate One)

Inventory manager requirements

Inventory managers typically hold a wide range of relevant qualifications, experience in supply chain and logistics, technical skills and interpersonal skills. Requirements needed to become an inventory manager include:

Key skills of an inventory manager

When recruiting an inventory manager, employers look for candidates with a broad skill set. Interpersonal skills, soft skills and technical expertise are all essential for inventory managers to succeed. Key skills for inventory managers include:

  • Leadership: Inventory managers often lead and motivate their team of inventory clerks and warehouse staff. They need leadership skills to keep morale high and settle any employee disputes.

  • Multi-tasking: Balancing their varied responsibilities requires inventory managers to multi-task effectively. They balance duties such as supervising their team, monitoring inventory levels, liaising with suppliers and preparing inventory reports, so time management and multi-tasking skills are essential.

  • Computer literacy: Many businesses use inventory monitoring or supply chain software tools to keep track of stock levels. Developing computer literacy skills is beneficial for those pursuing a career in inventory management.

  • Mathematics: As inventory managers spend their time monitoring stock levels and preparing inventory reports, their work is very numbers-focused. They're often comfortable working with large volumes of data and have competent mathematic skills.

  • Attention to detail: Inventory managers are responsible for keeping the right amount of stock for their business. Attention to detail is important to ensure inventory managers identify supply chain problems and don't over or under order supplies.

  • Interpersonal skills: Strong interpersonal skills enable inventory managers to build professional relationships with suppliers. Inventory managers also liaise with colleagues from different departments, so excellent written and verbal communication skills are beneficial for them to work effectively.

  • Data analysis: To identify supply chain problems, inventory managers analyse data to recognise minor issues before they become problems that can affect their business.

  • Problem-solving: Critical thinking and problem-solving skills enable inventory managers to resolve any supply chain problems. Logistics and supply chains can be unpredictable, so being able to find resolutions to issues as they arise is important.

Related: How to Develop Detail-Orientated Skills

Education

Depending on the industry they work in and the size of the company that employs them, inventory managers may have different educational backgrounds. Some may enter the role after graduating from a relevant bachelor's degree programme, whereas others may pursue an inventory management career after having gained extensive work experience within operations, warehouse positions or logistics roles. Earning a bachelor's degree in business, logistics, supply chain management or another relevant subject may help prospective inventory managers to enter the field. Some upper-level managers may pursue a master's degree in their chosen discipline.

Other qualifications and courses that can support a career in inventory management include:

  • management courses

  • information technology programmes

  • data analysis courses

  • supply chain software courses

How to become an inventory manager

There is more than one path to becoming an inventory manager. Some people may enter the role after gaining extensive work experience in supply chain or inventory management roles, whereas others pursue a formal education in supply chain or logistics to become a supply chain manager. The following are some of the steps you can take towards a career as an inventory manager:

1. Earn a degree

While a bachelor's degree is not a requirement for all inventory management positions, it can help those without relevant experience to enter the field. There are several bachelor's degrees available in subjects that support a career as an inventory manager. Courses to consider if you're interested in pursuing an inventory management career include:

  • inventory management

  • supply chain management

  • operations

  • business administration

  • warehouse and inventory management

  • business management and operations

Courses typically range from three to four years in duration and entry requirements vary depending on the university, so it is important to check the requirements for the specific course you're applying to.

2. Gain work experience

Many inventory managers begin their careers working as inventory clerks or packers. Gaining extensive experience within warehouse positions helps prospective inventory managers to develop relevant skills and industry expertise. While earning a bachelor's degree helps prepare candidates for a role as an inventory manager, hands-on experience is invaluable and some employers require candidates to have a minimum of two years' work experience in a supply chain or inventory clerk position.

Related: How to Show Work Experience on Your Resume (With Example and Tips)

3. Complete additional certifications

Aspiring inventory managers and those wishing to pursue senior management positions can undertake specialist courses to support their career development. Supply chain software tools often offer programmes to help users make the most of their products. There are also graduate diplomas in logistics and supply chain management and management courses that prepare individuals for specialist roles and senior positions.

Undertaking specialist certifications shows employers you're committed to professional development and helps your resume to stand out from others. While many inventory manager roles include on-the-job training, candidates willing to develop their skills and expertise through education programmes demonstrate their pro-active approach to potential employers.

4. Update your resume

Keeping your resume up to date is important when searching for a new role. Although resumes differ depending on the industry and role you're applying for, a resume may include qualifications and experience relevant to the position.

Be sure to update your resume frequently as you gain relevant qualifications and experience. Most importantly, tailor your resume for each role you apply for. Review the job description for the position and adapt your resume to show hiring managers you possess the skills, qualifications and experience that they're looking for.

Read more: What to Include in a Resume

5. Apply for inventory manager positions

Sending a cover letter and resume tailored to the vacancy is the first step in applying for inventory manager vacancies. Typically, employers will conduct two or more stages of interviews, so once you submit your application, prepare yourself for an interview by reviewing common interview questions online.

If you're applying for an inventory manager position with your current employer, you may have an advantage as you understand how the company operates and your employer will already recognise that you're a good cultural fit for the business. It may be helpful to carefully consider your application and be well-prepared for an interview if they offer you the opportunity.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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