Many inventory management jobs are found in the retail industry, where workers often use a tracking system to determine when certain products need to be ordered. These jobs can also be found in warehouses that store merchandise. Factories often need inventory managers to keep track of raw materials used during production. Other times, people may work for government agencies or the military.
Inventory management can be an important function in a retail store. Workers placed in inventory management jobs often check levels of certain merchandise on a regular basis, sometimes daily. The task might be accomplished with the use of an asset tracking device, such as a hand-held scanner. This type of tracking system lets purchasing managers know when products need to be reordered, allowing the business to continue making sales. It also lets supervisors know which items are not selling well so they can be phased out.
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Warehouses often need to keep track of large volumes of merchandise. This is often done by filling inventory management jobs. In a warehouse setting, workers may be in charge of tracking inbound and outbound shipments so an accurate count of goods can be maintained. Other times, inventory managers may physically count items to verify the amount on hand and resolve discrepancies.
In industrial settings, inventory managers are relied on to keep production lines moving. This is because they determine how much raw material is on hand, and let purchasing agents know when to reorder goods. The task is often done by checking to see how much of a particular product has been manufactured. Doing so can also help them identify instances of waste or pilferage.
Governments of many countries sometimes create inventory management jobs, especially in various branches of the military. Workers in this capacity make sure units have the supplies necessary to complete the mission they are assigned. This can involve rotating stock, placing orders, and issuing items to the end user. In many cases, personnel may handle hazardous materials, such as ammunition or explosives, when working in this capacity.
Good mathematical skills along with a knowledge of spreadsheets and database software are helpful to those working in inventory management. A high school diploma is normally the only education required, but college courses in supply chain management might also be helpful. There is expected to be a steady demand for people to fill inventory management jobs, because hiring these workers helps businesses keep expenses low while increasing sales.