Hunter Campbell’s supply chain salary & employment forecast series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family, including jobs in demand, wages, and employment prospects.
In our thirteenth instalment, the role of Inventory Manager is in the spotlight.
Purpose of the role
Managing inventory in a supply chain is an absolutely critical part of ensuring the success of a business. When I first worked in logistics and 3PL, I was taught to look at inventory like we were a bank looking after our customers money. If we lost that stock and needed to make adjustments, we had effectively lost our customers money. The impacts of COVID-19 and shipping challenges have certainly shown the importance of good planning and managing inventories effectively to ensure you have the right balance of stock on hand to supply your customers while not having too much stock tied up which limits cash flow.
An Inventory Manager will most likely be a senior stakeholder in your supply chain and is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of inventory systems to maintain optimum stock levels to meet sales demand. The roles can vary depending on the nature of your business with a manufacturing business having raw materials and finished goods to manage versus an import and distribution business working solely with finished products.
The pathways to becoming an Inventory Manager vary considerably, with no set path as such. You may have worked your way up through a business, industry from stores or logistics coordinator roles and taken on the opportunity to move into an inventory role. Others may have come through a more structured route from Inventory Administrator to Inventory Controller then stepping up into an Inventory Manager position.
It is becoming increasingly more common for corporate organisations to offer graduate programmes, with graduates gaining diverse experience across a business before choosing a pathway such as Inventory. Graduates starting their careers in these organisations are often degree qualified in areas such as Supply Chain Management or Business Studies.
There is also the Certified in Production & Inventory Management (CPIM) course which NZPICS offer which can provide candidates with some really good skills if they have not come from a tertiary background in supply chain and want to add a qualification in supply chain.
Key skills required
There are many skills which make a great Inventory Manager. Often you will find that a business will incorporate the inventory functions with a Supply Chain Manager, Logistics Manager or Warehouse Manager so they can be juggling other roles too outside of inventory.
Some of the key skills required are:
- Strong numeral and analytical capability and the ability to work well with systems, excel and data
- Leadership and development of your team in roles such as Inventory Administrator, Inventory Controller
- Problem solving – there are many complexities you will encounter and being able to adapt and make calculated decisions is essential
- Communication with key stakeholders around the S&OP team and understanding how business decisions impact inventories
- Financial acumen and able to make key decisions around holding stock vs cash flow
Career prospects can vary considerably depending on the industry and size of the business that you work within. In businesses with high growth and opportunities we have seen Inventory Managers progress to Supply Chain Manager, Logistics Manager, S&OP Manager positions to further their development and career opportunities. To move into these roles you would generally also have had prior experience in planning roles across the likes of supply, demand, production with your inventory experience rounding out your skills to progress to these senior roles.
The demand for experienced supply chain candidates across NZ remains very strong and has done throughout 2021. The market is incredibly tight in finding skilled experience and inventory roles are no different. Employers recognise how critical it is to manage their inventories efficiently whether it be raw materials or imported finished goods while working against shipping challenges and balancing stock on hand versus cash flow.
The Hunter Campbell team have been recruiting many roles within inventory and below are a few guides as to where we are seeing salaries in the market.
Inventory Administrator: $50,000 to $65,000
Inventory Controller: $60,000 to $80,000
Inventory Manager: $80,000 to $120,000
The salary guides of Inventory Administrator and Inventory Controller positions have been included to show how roles and salaries can progress if a candidate were to stay solely in an inventory position. As previously mentioned, Inventory Managers may likely come from other areas of the supply chain from planning and logistics. It is hard to pinpoint exact salaries at management level as there are so many variables to take into account from the size of the business, manufacturing versus import/distribution, people leadership for example. It is also likely that candidates in Inventory Manager positions for large corporates and managing multiple sites and SKU ranges could well exceed $120,000 as a salary.
If you would like to find out more about the role of an Inventory Manager, please contact consultant Nick McConnochie. Nick specialises in Supply Chain, Operations & Procurement with a particular focus across operations, logistics and planning. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.
Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series
- Demand Planner
- Maintenance Engineer
- Warehouse Manager
- Sales & Operations Planning Manager
- Procurement Category Manager
- Production Planner
- Lean Manufacturing Manager
- Supply Chain Co-ordinator
- Supply Chain Manager
- Logistics Co-ordinator
- Production Manager
- Supply Chain Manager – SME