Spotlight on: Working as a warehouse manager

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What does being a warehouse manager involve?

As a warehouse manager you’ll make sure that the process of moving goods - either in or out of your warehouse or onto the next stage of their journey - happens safely and efficiently.

Whether you work for a specialist distribution company, a retailer or a manufacturer, for example, day-to-day tasks would depend on the size of your storage operation. As a manager for a large warehouse operation you’d mainly be office-based, spending most of your time on management, strategic planning and administration tasks. In a smaller warehouse you could be more hands-on, helping to load and unload goods in and out.

Vast ranges of different items pass through storage operations, from clothing and white goods to temperature-controlled products like food and pharmaceuticals. Processing and storing stock safely means that workplace security and health and safety are key issues for warehouse managers.

Other tasks in this role will probably include:

  • Planning staff work rotas
  • Liaising with clients, distributors and suppliers
  • Tracking stock levels and producing inventories
  • Compiling statistics and reports

What skills and traits do I need?

Strong management and communication skills are crucial as you’ll be responsible for motivating and leading a team of people. Warehouses are fast moving, hectic places so being able to work well under pressure and stick to tight deadlines is a must.

It also helps if you excel at planning and organising, with IT skills and proficiency in relevant spreadsheet and database packages.

Any entry requirements?

It’s not always vital to hold a degree or HND/foundation degree, although it can help - and obviously is a given if you join a graduate-training scheme. Previous industry experience working in a warehouse or in distribution also counts for a lot.

How much can I earn?

According to the National Careers Service, a warehouse manager starter salary is between £18,000 and £22,000. With experience, this can rise to £35,000 and once you’re highly experienced you can expect to earn £40,000 or more. Bear in mind that the sector, size of organisation and location are factors that will affect your salary.

What about training and career progression?

Training depends on the company you work for, but will involve learning on the job, or if you’ve joined a larger organisation as a graduate you might follow a formal graduate training scheme.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport can help with career development, as it runs short courses and workshops as well as relevant qualifications including Level 3 Certificate in Logistic and Transport, and Level 5 Professional Diploma in Logistics and Transport.

You can gain experience in different settings to increase your chances of promotion to regional or national posts. The skills you build up as a warehouse manager can also be valuable in other areas of logistics and supply chain management, as well as the retail and manufacturing sectors.

Find out more about roles as a warehouse manager, as well as a host of other industrial jobs, here.

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