Any business that depends on product sales on a wholesale or retail level must rely on accurate accounting of their available stock. This allows the company to fill orders, ship products and forecast future inventory needs based on sales and depletion of existing stock. The inventory specialist job description focuses on all aspects of inventory movement through product sales, re-stocking of shelves and accounting for every item in the warehouse. This specialized position is valuable, and minimum annual salaries begin at around $48,000. An associate or bachelor’s degree in management is often required for this position.
The inventory specialist who is seeking a position is likely to increase their odds for employment by gaining workplace experience in related jobs. This would include a job in order filling, shelf stocking, inventory cycle counting, shipping and receiving, inventory fulfillment and any other position in the product management process. A related position that included supervisory duties, such as a shipping manager, would also be an advantage in the job hunt. Experience in the overall inventory control process is the ideal qualification for a prospective employer.
The number of items in a company’s product line that are available for sale or shipping to customers begins with a constant monitoring of the inventory count. An inventory specialist will be in charge of all aspects of this count. This includes tracking and reporting incoming and outgoing product shipments, distribution of the products during storage and order filling that depletes the stock. The method of monitoring stock usage is the inventory count, which will be done in cycles throughout the company’s fiscal year.
Accounting and Reporting
The amount of inventory on hand at any given time will be reflected in surplus stock counts, shipping and receiving data and product return numbers, if any. Inventory cycle count data can be used to update all of these numbers, which can then be included in reconciliation reports that can be shared with other departments. These reports are valuable when adjusting product replenishment orders and projected sales needs, which will be part of interfacing with the product line managers, buyers and those involved with improving the overall distribution process.
The inventory specialist may be required to perform other duties relevant to the employer’s product line or, in some cases, their staffing limitations. Multi-tasking is generally part of the job, and the inventory specialist may deal with other aspects of product distribution. Examples of this will be assisting product line functions by providing production supplies, analyzing pricing trends on company products and reviewing purchasing and billing data.
The inventory specialist will be expected to have supervisory skills. This often includes oversight of the functions within the distribution process, such as improving production line methods and training staff in general inventory processes. The use of computerized inventory systems will also require an inventory specialist to be familiar with and adept at managing data systems and monitoring staff performance relevant to entry of product data in the computer system.