Job Description of Distribution Manager

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A distribution manager is accountable for the strategic planning of transport of products. Distribution managers monitor the shipping from the distribution centers, to ensure the products are delivered in an accurate and timely manner. A distribution manager is a member of the company’s management team and work with the marketing executives to ensure products reach the market on time, while maintaining a low cost margin. A distribution manager ensures that safety rules and regulations are met.

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Responsibilities of a distribution manager depend whether the company is a retailer, manufacturer or a wholesaler. Some responsibilities are consistent, such as monitoring the quality, quantity and cost of goods. In some roles, a distribution manager is responsible for the hiring and training of staff. The distribution manager will handle questions or complaints and offer solutions. To ensure that shipments are delivered in a timely manner, the distribution manager tracks and traces the process. The distribution manager develops business by gaining new contracts, analyzing logistical problems and offering solutions.

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Education and Training

Because distribution managers work in a wide range of fields, there are no set requirements or guidelines. Most companies will seek candidates with a degree or diploma, often in a specified subject. Specified subjects could be supply chain management or logistics. Most organizations will seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business or related work experience. A master's degree in business could be an advantage, as well as experience in transport or distribution.

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How to Become a Distribution Manager

The primary responsibility of a distribution manager is the coordination of products. Achieving a post-secondary education would be required, and some community colleges offer programs in logistics and distribution. Most employers would consider a candidate with a two-year or three-year certificate in business administration or management. Distribution managers often start at the lower levels of the field before working toward a supervisory position.

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Working Conditions

Distribution managers work a standard work week, from 9 to 5, including weekends and shift. The working environment ranges from office settings to the warehouse, so the dress standards would be according to the work environment. Standing for long periods of time is possible in some instances.

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During 2008-18, positions for distribution managers expect no significant changes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree in engineering, business, economics or an applied science is an advantage toward obtaining a supervisory position. Most managers have experience in the respective field.

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According to Salary Wizard, the median expected salary for a distribution manager in the United States is $82,015 per year, as of November 2009. The size of company, location, responsibilities and industry experience are determining factors. In May 2008, O'Net reported distribution managers earned a median salary of $79,490 per year.


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