Inventory Manager Skills (With Definition And Examples)

Updated 2 March 2023

Inventories are one of the most valuable assets for retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers. These businesses sometimes seek skilled inventory managers to determine inventory needs, manage stock levels and aid in loss prevention. Understanding the skills of an inventory manager helps you develop your application and increase your chances of securing employment in this role. In this article, we define inventory manager skills, provide some examples of these skills, outline how to improve and showcase your abilities in the workplace and review application tips.

What Are Inventory Manager Skills?

Inventory manager skills are those an individual uses to manage a business's physical resources according to its needs, available budget and goals. You can use these skills to maintain the appropriate levels of products, supplies and materials required for a company's successful operation. Tracking inventory through various inventory control processes can help you maintain proper supply levels, positively impacting a company's profits and customer experience. You can use your interpersonal skills in this role when you work with inventory clerks, warehouse managers, vendors and suppliers to evaluate the organisation's needs and ensure you fulfil them.

Related: What Is An Inventory Manager? (Plus How To Become One)

Examples Of Inventory Manager Skills

Here are some examples of inventory management skills to highlight throughout the recruitment process that increase your appeal to hiring managers:

Inventory tracking

Inventory-tracking skills include those related to the processes companies use to monitor inventory items, determine stock levels, calculate available storage space and identify product or material shortages. Understanding the purpose of tracking inventories and various tools helps you develop this ability. This includes familiarising yourself with analytics, bar code scanning systems, automatic relief systems and other automated- and manual-input programmes. Develop inventory-tracking skills to reduce over- or under-stocking, increase customer satisfaction and combat potential supply chain issues.

Inventory control processes

Depending on the type of business, inventory managers use various control processes to manage stock, monitor perishable inventory and track raw material levels. For example, manufacturing businesses sometimes require you to monitor the finished goods and the necessary components to make them. Having a base knowledge of inventory control processes, such as batch tracking, is helpful. While you might not use all processes, familiarising yourself with the methods helps you answer interview questions and facilitate the onboarding process at a new job.

Related: How To Calculate Inventory Accuracy (And Tips To Improve It)

Inventory software or hardware systems

Many businesses use inventory software or hardware systems to monitor the products entering and leaving their facilities or stores. Depending on the type and size of the operation, you are sometimes responsible for using spreadsheet systems or more complex software to automate inventory processes. Understanding how to navigate and use these systems assists you with monitoring stock levels, forecasting future inventory needs and streamlining the ordering process. Basic computer skills allow you to better understand inventory-management applications and navigate new systems.

Related: 8 Inventory Management Software Solutions (With Benefits)

Attention to detail

Inventory managers pay attention to detail when tracking and managing inventory to maintain accurate stock levels for a business. This includes monitoring the costs associated with materials or products, understanding how seasonality affects stock levels and recognising changes or concerns regarding the supply chain. Depending on your industry, monitoring and tracking relevant information, such as the country of origin, product materials, supplier news and lot numbers, is often helpful. This assists you with identifying products that companies recall or suppliers that various global issues affect to manage proper inventory levels for your employer.

Related: What Are Detail Oriented Skills? Definition And Examples

Experience in a supervisory role

Successful candidates for managerial positions often have experience in a supervisory role. Leadership skills, such as communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, delegation and adaptability, help you secure a position as an inventory manager. Depending on the role, you hire and train warehouse staff and inventory clerks. Developing your ability to evaluate your team members' performance, provide suggestions for improvement and nurture their professional development assists your efforts to foster strong teams.

Ability to multitask

Inventory managers often simultaneously work on several tasks, such as monitoring stock levels, expiry dates and upcoming orders. In this role, you also oversee warehouse staff, communicate with suppliers and supervise your team's output. Multitasking and organisational skills help you perform these duties, ensuring you and your team complete them efficiently.

Data analysis and reporting

Maintaining accurate inventory levels depends on your ability to determine future product requirements and forecast business needs. Developing data analysis and reporting skills helps you evaluate stock levels and plan inventory orders. Study past sales numbers, review inventory management software reports and observe sales trends to increase your success. Reviewing statistics around seasonal sales periods, such as holidays or annual promotions, often helps you accurately forecast inventory needs and maintain appropriate stock levels.

Interpersonal skills

As an inventory manager, you may work with various individuals throughout your workday, including product vendors, warehouse staff and material suppliers. Having strong interpersonal skills helps you establish professional relationships with these individuals to secure a reliable source of products or resources. When dealing with suppliers, use these abilities to negotiate competitive pricing, secure rushed or discounted shipping and understand emerging industry trends. Developing interpersonal relationships with colleagues often helps foster a positive work environment and create an enjoyable employment experience.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions And Examples

How To Improve Your Inventory Management Skills?

Here are the steps to improve your inventory management skills and find success in this role:

1. Take an inventory of your skills

The first step to developing your skills is to understand the abilities you wish to improve. Take a skills inventory by noting your abilities relating to the role and comparing this master list to those in the job description. If there are proficiencies that an employer requires that are not on your list, explore development opportunities to improve your resume and appeal to a hiring manager.

Related: What Is Skills Inventory? Importance And Steps To Create It

2. Pursue training or certification courses

Once you have determined the skills you wish to improve, explore training or certification courses to develop your inventory management abilities. For example, if you want to improve your data analysis skills, look for professional development courses in this subject. Additional certifications improve your resume and demonstrate your capabilities to hiring managers.

Related: A Guide On Supply Chain Visibility (With Types And Benefits)

3. Use data and automation tools

Familiarising yourself with data processing and automation tools develops your inventory manager abilities. Using technology to streamline and automate processes helps you identify trends, forecast needs and perform your duties effectively. You position yourself as an expert in inventory management tools in a way that demonstrates your value to a company and increases your application's appeal.

Inventory Management Skills In The Workplace

Here are some tips for using your skills at work:

  • Request feedback. Asking for feedback on areas of improvement helps you identify ways to advance your skills while demonstrating your dedication to achieving success in your role.

  • Offer support. Develop your leadership skills at work by offering support or mentorship to team members working to develop their abilities.

  • Review data. Reviewing past sales and inventory data helps you understand cyclical or seasonal needs, allowing you to develop your inventory management skills.

Highlighting Your Skills In A Job Search

Here are some tips for highlighting your inventory management skills in different job search scenarios:

Inventory management skills for a resume

When drafting your resume, include your abilities in the professional summary, work experience and skills sections. Review the job posting to identify keywords to include throughout your resume to appeal to hiring managers. Use your work experience section to detail your supervisory experience, knowledge of specific inventory management systems and familiarity with various control processes.

Related: How To Write An Effective Distribution Resume In 8 Steps

Inventory management skills for a cover letter

Use your cover letter to elaborate on the work experience you outlined on your resume, including details on how your skills helped you perform your job effectively. As the cover letter accompanies your resume, include new information to elaborate on your abilities and experience. Consider outlining any training certifications related to inventory management to differentiate your application from other candidates.

Related: Inventory Controller Skills (With Definitions And Tips)

Inventory management skills in an interview

When describing your inventory management skills in an interview, use the STAR method to answer behavioural or situational questions. This method outlines the situation, your task or goal, the action you took and the result of your actions. For example, highlight your interpersonal skills by describing how you negotiated a discounted bulk rate with a supplier to prepare for an upcoming sales season.

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