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How to Become an Inbound/Outbound Operations Manager

If you have an eye for detail and managing logistics, and the skill and desire to lead a team, a position as an inbound/outbound operations manager might be an excellent fit for you. 

Inbound/outbound operations managers oversee shipping and logistics for facilities. They are responsible for managing and coordinating all activities within a warehouse to work together seamlessly and efficiently. Everything from receiving and shipping orders to reviewing logistics to managing warehouse staff to making sure equipment is maintained typically falls within the duties of an inbound/outbound operations manager. 

It’s a vitally important job that requires planning and leadership experience, as well as a thorough understanding of warehousing and logistics. 

Sample job description

The inbound/outbound operations manager oversees the receipt and shipping of all inbound and outbound freight. This position is responsible for organizing and scheduling the workflow for the freight operations, as well as maintaining inventory control. The ideal candidate for this position will have a working knowledge of computers and transportation software, as well as experience managing personnel. You will need to oversee the receipt and shipping of all inbound and outbound freight, schedule the workflow for the freight operations, maintain inventory control, and manage personnel. The ideal candidate will also use computers and transportation software to manage freight operations, respond to customer inquiries, collaborate with the sales team to ensure that customers are provided accurate quotes, and prepare shipments for pick up by our delivery partners according to the expected time of delivery.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Oversee warehouse operations and personnel 
  • Ensure accurate inventory tracking and accounting 
  • Maintain and nurture customer and vendor relationships
  • Manage the efficient flow of inbound and outbound products and materials
  • Review warehouse logistics and improve where possible
  • Create warehouse metrics reports as needed
  • Follow all applicable safety standards

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in business management, logistics, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Organizational and communication skills
  • Aptitude for counting and inventory management
  • Managerial and business expertise
  • Excellent leadership skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 5+ years of experience managing in a warehouse setting
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong leadership skills

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an inbound/outbound operations manager is $59,200 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$58,850$79,650
Los Angeles, California$66,400$89,850
Denver, Colorado$55,350$74,900
Washington, DC$67,450$91,250
Miami, Florida$55,100$74,550
Orlando, Florida$50,800$68,750
Tampa, Florida$51,350$69,450
Atlanta, Georgia$53,850$72,850
Chicago, Illinois$61,900$83,750
Boston, Massachusetts$66,950$90,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$53,850$72,150
New York City, New York$70,450$95,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$57,350$77,600
Dallas, Texas$55,850$75,550
Houston, Texas$55,350$74,900
Seattle, Washington$64,400$87,150
National Average$50,300$68,100

Typical work environment

The inbound/outbound operations manager typically works in an indoor office environment. This position may require occasional travel. The physical demands of this job may include occasionally lifting or moving up to 50 pounds.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an inbound/outbound operations manager are from 9 AM to 5 PM, typically in a warehouse setting on Monday through Friday. With materials often shipping around the clock, overtime or weekend hours may be necessary. 

Available certifications

No certification is required for this position, but 3+ years of experience in a supervisory role is preferred. A forklift certification will also be beneficial.

  • Forklift Certification. The National Forklift Foundation (NFF) offers the certification & training required for organizations and individuals seeking to operate a forklift. The interactive video training course was developed to encourage a safer workplace while satisfying all State and Federal OSHA compliance requirements.

Career path

The path to becoming an inbound/outbound operations manager begins with a bachelor’s degree in business management, logistics, or a related field. Most employers require several years of experience to consider an applicant for this managerial position. Job candidates earning certification in production and inventory management (CPIM) can help boost opportunities for advancement.  

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3051

2020 Employment189,300
Projected Employment in 2030199,300
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 5% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift10,000 increase

The increased use of technology, including radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and hand-held devices that read barcodes automatically, is expected to allow fewer warehouse and logistics workers to do the same amount of work. That said, the need for effective warehousing and logistics remains, as does the need for qualified managers.  

Sample interview questions

  • Can you describe your organizational skills?
  • How would you go about managing inventory levels?
  • Describe what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Why should we choose you?
  • Can you walk me through a time when you had to deal with a stressful situation?
  • What are some of your leadership qualities? How do those qualities help the team move forward as one cohesive unit?
  • Do you have any experience working with computers and transportation software? If so, can you tell me more about that experience?
  • What would you do if there was a problem with a customer’s order?
  • How do you handle stress and difficult situations in the workplace?
  • What are your thoughts on working with numbers and maintaining inventory levels?
  • Can you think of an example of when it was necessary to be flexible in your role?
  • What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from previous experience in the workplace?
  • What makes you a unique candidate for this position?
  • What are some of your weak points that aren’t related to the job description?
  • Do you have any additional information or qualifications that you feel we should know about?