A distribution manager is often also called a logistics manager. His job is to ensure that the right products are delivered to the right place on time and in the most cost-efficient way possible. A distribution manager might work for a manufacturer, a retailer, or a third-party supplier of distribution services. The role is becoming increasingly important with the growth of e-commerce.
A distribution manager can be responsible for a large number of employees, including warehouse operatives, drivers, administrative and information technology staff. Generally, they are organized into teams led by supervisors and other managers, so the distribution manager also has a role in supporting his direct reports. Distribution work is usually shift-based and there can be peaks and troughs in demand. So, the manager will often be responsible for recruiting temporary staff during busy times of the year.
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase the efficiency of the supply chain and to cut costs. Measures such as just-in-time ordering have been developed to prevent unused products and materials taking up valuable storage space. The distribution manager is responsible for implementing these measures, monitoring their effectiveness and introducing improvements.
All aspects of the supply chain, from packaging to transport, have an impact on the environment. Most businesses have green policies that commit them to increasing the sustainability of their activities. The distribution manager will try to minimize the environmental impact of logistics activities by reducing packaging, planning fuel-efficient routes and reducing the number of journeys taken.
There are many sorts of regulations covering the logistics industry, including those covering the environment and health and safety. The distribution manager must monitor and report on these issues to the appropriate regulatory authorities. In addition, he must manage relationships and report to his managers and, depending on the type of company he works for, clients.