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What does a Distribution Center Manager do?

By D. Waldman
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A distribution center manager is responsible for the general oversight of a central distribution warehouse. This may encompass a variety of tasks, including inventory management, sales forecasting, and budgeting. The manager may also be in charge of various buyer responsibilities, including sourcing vendors, negotiating product specifications and pricing, and monitoring production and delivery schedules.

One of the primary roles a distribution center manager can have is in regards to managing the warehouse's inventory. This involves keeping supply levels high enough to ensure any orders placed or product requests received can be filled in a timely manner. It also entails keeping inventory levels low enough to avoid the chance of having too much surplus stock of any one item at a time. Finding the right balance between these two levels is crucial to running a successful distribution center.

In order to successfully plan inventory levels, the manager must also become familiar with the proper sales forecasting trends. While it is crucial to know the current details regarding supply and demand for the products being sold, it is also vital to be able to accurately predict future sales trends as well. By establishing a more informed idea of upcoming trends, which often vary greatly by seasons, the distribution center manager can ensure that his warehouse is properly stocked in advance to be able to meet upcoming needs as soon as they arise.

Another item a person in this position must manage is proper budgeting and cost control. This can vary from ordering products and supplies within the predetermined monetary ranges to managing employee payroll. The distribution center not only needs to run successfully with regards to meeting supply and demand; it also must adhere to a viable budget to ensure all operating expenses are being allocated effectively.

The primary role a distribution center manager can hold outside of the distribution center operation itself is managing communications with the product suppliers. This involves handling many of the duties and responsibilities that are often dealt with by full-time buyers. The manager is responsible for researching and selecting the best vendors to supply specific products, as well as working directly with them to determine the exact technical specifics for the product and the price at which the item will be sold to the distribution center. Once the product orders have been made, the distribution center manager is then in charge of making sure the production and delivery of the products being manufactured are completed on time and that any delays arising are properly accounted for.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Feb 08, 2011

@ddljohn-- A distribution center is for the most part a warehouse. Therefore, a distribution center manager is also the manager of the warehouse and holds the same responsibilities. Hope this helps!

By ddljohn — On Feb 05, 2011

Thanks for the info! What about warehouse manager jobs? Is that the same thing as a distribution center manager job?

By fify — On Feb 03, 2011

@ddljohn-- The job requires a 4 year degree in addition to experience. Some employers only require a high school degree if the individual has a lot of experience in the field (5-10 years). Large companies expect both education and experience, but for smaller companies, they will likely look at experience more than education. As for the distribution center manager salary, it ranges between 60k and 80k.

By ddljohn — On Feb 02, 2011

I'm interested in working in product supply and distribution and have been running into many distribution center manager vacancies. What are the education and experience requirements to work as a distribution center manager? How much do they generally get paid?

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