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Career Story: Inventory Control Manager For A Furniture Maker

Inventory Control Manager For A Furniture Maker

Job Title: Inventory Control Specialist

Type of Company: My company is a major manufacturer and retailer of high-end furniture.

Education: Associate's degree, Visual Arts, Holyoke Community College

Previous Experience: I worked as a visual display manager for a department store, and I was required to manage the inventory of all display items that were used throughout the store.

Job Tasks: My job is fairly unique to the furniture industry. I spend most of my days tracking things that have either left my building or are heading towards it. This sounds simple but it is far more complicated in practice. Out-going merchandise can be headed to a customer's home, another of our 27 stores, our main warehouse, or a clearance event anywhere in the country, using any number of delivery systems. The same goes for in-coming merchandise. Products arrive from all over -- our stores, our warehouse, customers' homes and the over 500 vendors whose goods we also sell in our showroom. It's my responsibility to be sure that nothing gets lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. If something does get lost (or stolen or damaged), I need to be able to show how it happened, where it happened, why it happened, and who was responsible.

Part 2 of my job is supporting customer service. I do this by ensuring that all furniture gets where it's going in a timely and responsible fashion. Tracking it properly requires me to build and maintain trucking manifests (basic Excel spreadsheets) listing all we need to know to get things where they're going on time. It is not a job for someone who lacks patience or an appetite for detail.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job comes on those rare occasions when I am able to locate something that's been missing, somewhere within the company, for an extended period of time. That always makes me feel like a magician.

The worst part, sadly, is its mirror image: discovering that something valuable is missing from one of my shipments. Even if it isn't my fault, I feel responsible.

Job Tips:
1.) Become detail-oriented. The whole job is in the details. 2.) Don't ever let anyone tell you there isn't enough time to do things right. The "fast way" will always cause mistakes and force you to backtrack. It's faster to do it the right way from the start. 3.) Whenever you have a big task to confront, having a few good people around to help you is much better than having a whole bunch of people who don't really care.

Additional Thoughts: The one thing I feel I have to share with anyone looking into my field is this: keep your eyes open. It's sad but true. Most commercial theft comes from within. Experience has taught me that no one is above suspicion; the people you'd suspect the least are often the first ones to look at.

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