A Day in the Life of a Non-Retail Distribution Manager

Title: Manager, Non-Retail Distribution
Education: Bachelor of business administration
Experience: 10 years

“There's a lot of talking on the phone on my job,” says the insider we spoke with. “A good part of the job is keeping suppliers and carriers working according to plan.” The non-retail distribution manager's job entails managing all aspects of moving goods from suppliers to distribution centers for one of the country's largest retailers. “Setting up the processes is one thing,” our insider says, “but much of the job is making sure that your freight bills are not out of whack and manufacturers are adhering to their service level agreements.”

8:30Arrive at the office and take care of the usual e-mail before continuing on with the rest of the day.
9:00It's the end of the year, so I meet with the vice president of distribution to go over the tweaks I made for the 2004 budget.
10:00Call one of our vendors for private-label housewares to review their performance. They're drifting dangerously close to the upper limits of their service level agreement. There's no room for being a nice guy here— if they don't supply us according to plan, then I get hell from the district managers at the retail level. Being a little hard-nosed, coupled with our position as one of the top retailers in the country, gets things moving fairly quickly.
11:00Have a meeting with one of our specialists on what messages to send out to our internal retail customers for the upcoming week.
11:45Early lunch at the corporate cafeteria. Work on selecting a protein-heavy meal for my Atkins diet.
12:30Check on the status of our various suppliers.
1:00Call with one of our largest freight carriers. I negotiate hard for a better rate for the coming year. For their part, they are anxious to get our business in the Northeast. I drive them down, but not as much as I would have liked (I'm thinking about my 2004 budget).
2:00Review a scorecard on vendor performance built by my analyst. Except for the vendor I called in the morning, it looks good. Call my analyst to explain some discrepancies in the numbers. One of the good things about negotiating as part of your daily job is that you're far more likely to get a private office.
2:30Work on retweaking the numbers from this morning's meeting.
3:00Work on a presentation for the executive team on how to achieve cost goals in the coming year. Book a flight for a visit to a prospective backup freight shipper. Try to find a way to keep logistics costs in line.
4:00Calls to various West Coast carriers and vendors.
5:00Head to the sports club for a short workout before heading home. One of the best things about Minneapolis: You can afford to buy a home!


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