The following article discusses the career path of Distribution Manager. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Distribution Managers.
Distribution managers focus on the daily tasks that relate to ensuring large quantities of goods are delivered on time. This is a skill needed by a variety of different organizations, from electronics to the food industry. Typically, their work includes maintaining stock levels for large inventories, focusing on both quantity and quality. They manage warehouses and ensure that consumer demands are met. They work hand in hand with supervisors in warehouses to make sure that all operations are safe, timely, meet quality standards, and ensure that all deliveries are on time.
Often, distribution managers have to be physically fit, as they have to walk long distances in the warehouse. That said, they spend most of their time indoors, unless they assist in the actual loading and unloading of vehicles. With transportation needs becoming increasingly 24/7, these managers do often have to work unsociable hours.
Other job duties are:
- To be responsible for the strategic operations of a warehouse or distribution center
- To create manifests, invoices, and transportation or delivery reports
- To hold responsible for incoming and outgoing freight, and to track product inventory and movement
- To manage employee assignments, schedules, compliance, and evaluations
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 148,700 logisticians in 2016, a profession closely related to that of the distribution manager. The largest employers of these professionals were:
- Manufacturing: 25%
- Federal government: 20%
- Professional, scientific, and technical services: 17%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 10%
- Wholesale trade: 9%
How to Become
A distribution manager has to have a high school diploma as a minimum. However, more and more commonly, a business or management bachelor’s degree is also required. Most have significant experience in warehouse management, and have an understanding of current shipping technology. They also receive a lot of on the job training.
A distribution manager has to be able to manage the complexities of supply chains and logistics. As a result, a bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement. Supply chain management, systems engineer, and business are common study subjects. During a bachelor’s degree, they will learn about system dynamics, database management, and operations. Furthermore, they can be exposed to common logistics software, such as RFID (radio-frequency identification).
There is no legal requirement for a distribution manager to become certified. However, certifications do demonstrate commitment to excellence and a broader knowledge. Hence, logistics analysts may choose to become certified through SOLE (the International Society of Logistics) or through APICS. Work experience and education is required for these certifications. Other options are offered through the DUA (Defense Acquisition University), which is required for those who work as a logistics analyst for the Department of Defense.
Work experience is also vitally important. A distribution manager will have gained several years’ experience in supply chains, logistics, and business. Some start in logistical support, such as clerks or dispatchers, and many have a military background. Through work experience, these specialists get to know about supply chain and production processes.
Traits & Qualities
The most effective distribution managers have the following traits to some degree or other:
- Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
- Strong critical thinking skills
- Great customer service skills
- Excellent organizational skills
- Strong problem solving skills
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Distribution Manager salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Wyoming had the largest quoted salary of $144,978 while Utah had the smallest quoted salary of $52,874.
Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Distribution Manager. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|Accenture Distribution Manager||Illinois||$155,873|
|Uline Distribution Manager||Illinois||$152,829|
|Career Brokers, Inc. Distribution Manager||Pennsylvania||$150,650|
|Select Technical Staffing Distribution Manager||Wisconsin||$150,000|
|Monster Worldwide Distribution Manager||Wisconsin||$150,000|
|Direct Sales Recruiting, LLC Distribution Manager||Texas||$150,000|
|DSR Distribution Manager||Texas||$150,000|
|Marcum Search LLC Distribution Manager||New York||$150,000|
|Performance Search Group Distribution Manager||Wyoming||$144,978|
|DynCorp International Inc Distribution Manager||Texas||$125,000|
|Request Technology Distribution Manager||Georgia||$124,971|
|Spencer Ogden Distribution Manager||Minnesota||$123,447|
|MSG Staffing Distribution Manager||Massachusetts||$120,000|
|CyberCoders Distribution Manager||California||$118,607|
|SITE Staffing, Inc. Distribution Manager||Wisconsin||$112,993|
- Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
- 11-3071.02 – Storage and Distribution Managers – O*NET OnLine
- Distribution Manager | FINRA.org
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Marketing Communications Manager||$70,119|
|Human Resources Manager||$69,342|