Supply Chain Excellence – Inventory Manager

Hunter Campbell’s Supply Chain Excellence Series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family, including jobs in demand, wages, and employment prospects.

In this article, the role of Inventory Manager is in the spotlight.

Purpose of the Role 

Managing inventory in a supply chain is a critical part of ensuring the success of a business. In the current geopolitical and economic environment, with fluctuating supply and shipping issues there has been a clear need to manage planning in relation inventory management. The key is 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 and 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  

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. 


Recruitment Forecast  

The demand for experienced supply chain candidates across New Zealand remains very strong and has done throughout 2023. 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.  


Salary Guide 

This information is anecdotal and based on roles Hunter Campbell is currently recruiting or has previously recruited and relate to base salaries. They do not include any additional bonuses or benefits. 

Inventory Administrator: $65,000 – $80,000 

Inventory Controller: $70,000 – $90,000 

Inventory Manager: $90,000 – $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 a Inventory Manager, please contact consultant Nick McConnochie. Nick specialises in the recruitment of Supply Chain, Distribution and Logistics. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

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