If you are looking to dive head first into an exciting sector that has been on a steady incline for the past decade, warehousing may be the field for you. For those that already have either heavy experience in various management roles or have already worked in numerous different warehousing-related departments, then warehouse management could be a fitting move. As with the rest of the market, warehousing management jobs are also becoming more abundant; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, warehouse management positions are projected to grow by 2% annually through 2024.
As you can see, all signs point to a great career outlook, but managing a warehouse comes with a host of challenging responsibilities that can change at the drop of a hat due to emerging technologies or evolving global markets. Due to the innately precarious nature of the business, budding warehouse managers should come into the role with as much practical training as possible.
Warehouse management responsibilities
To get a better idea of what the average warehouse management position usually entails, lets take a closer look at common warehouse management tasks. A warehouse manager:
- Takes a vital role in a warehouses changing layout, design, and physical infrastructure
- Purchases system software (i.e., WMS) and oversees the implementation and daily upkeep of it
- Communicates with customers, suppliers, and other tiers of the business
- Spearheads all onboarding, hiring, and staffing
- Oversees the general organization of the inventory
- Tracks inventory levels
- Implements and oversees safety programs
- Receives education on the latest warehouse automation options
- Works with transport companies to schedule on-time deliveries
- Conducts in-house inventory and safety audits
In order to guarantee that a future warehouse manager is experienced enough to handle the aforementioned responsibilities, the best candidates have a good amount of practical experience to bring to the table, including an understanding of:
- General budgeting and finance
- Changing IT trends
- Team leadership
- Supply chain fundamentals
- Warehouse OSHA guidelines
- Heavy machinery licensing
- Facility safety
If you are either coming into the field green, or are a warehouse veteran who has set your sights on moving up, the aforementioned skills must be paired with some practical training and education.
Educational requirements for warehouse managers
Although there are no official educational benchmarks set by federal or state governments, a vast majority of operations require warehouse managers to hold at least a high school diploma or an equivalent. It should be noted that this is often viewed as the bare minimum education held by those working in the role. Here is a higher-education breakdown via OwlGuru:
- Bachelors Degree: 58.33% of warehouse managers hold a bachelors degree.
- High School Diploma or Equivalent: 20.83% of warehouse managers hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Some College: 8.33% of warehouse managers have completed some college courses.
- Associates Degree: 8.33% of warehouse managers hold an associates degree.
- Post-Bachelors Certificate: 4.18% of warehouse managers hold a post-bachelors certificate.
Though higher education may run the gamut, clearly, a vast majority of warehouse managers have at least some college education under their belt. A bachelors degree in a related field, such as supply chain management, logistics, business, or administration is highly recommended.
On-the-job training for warehouse managers
In addition to formal education, warehouse managers are also expected to receive a mixture of training, the best being, on-the-job training. About one-third of warehouse managers hold four to six years of experience working in the field prior to entering a management position. Additionally, most receive another one to three months of on-the-job training following the official hire.
Practical training programs for warehouse managers
Of course, not all working in warehouse management have risen in the ranks in such a way. There is also a host of other programs that help budding warehouse managers learn specific skills in a timelier manner.
- Courses and certificate programs: If you look within your local community, you will likely come across an in-person warehouse or inventory management course offered by a college or continuing education program. These courses usually require just weeks to complete and, these days, many are offered online, or as a mixture of onsite and online. Depending on the facilitator, you should receive a certificate upon completion.
- Webinars: Those in need of a less formal, yet still in-depth, educational option would learn much from todays never-ending webinar library. These webinars cover a wide range of warehousing-related topics, including general management, organization, transportation, and more. To sweeten the deal, a vast majority of these webinars are free to stream or download.
- Seminars: Each year, thousands of warehouse, logistics, and supply chain management seminars occur worldwide. Unless otherwise specified, these seminars welcome warehouse management students as well as current applicants. Attending these seminars allows candidates like you to gain powerful connections, as well as a more informed understanding of the field from the very people who are shaping it.
Warehouse management is a highly-specialized field, but that doesnt mean that its an impossible one to break into. By leveraging your past management or warehousing experience and taking advantage of the many educational opportunities available today, you, too, can pave your own way into a warehouse management role.