Receiving Supervisor Job Description
Receiving supervisors oversee and direct the activities of teams that receive and handle items and deliveries. This role balances direct receiving activities and stock handling with team leadership duties such as training and guiding employees, developing policies and procedures to enhance receiving department activities, and maintaining inventory control and management records.
The receiving supervisor supports and coordinates operations within their department and makes key decisions regarding the unloading, intake, storage, and distribution of items. In many cases, this leadership role also plays a part in maintaining receiving and warehouse department budgets, managing the department’s workflow, and promoting safety and efficiency.
Receiving Supervisor Duties and Responsibilities
A receiving supervisor’s specific duties can vary from organization to organization, but postings that we examined shared several core responsibilities:
Coordinate Receiving Teams
One of the foremost duties of the receiving supervisor is directing and coordinating team members within their department or warehouse. The receiving coordinator assigns tasks related to the intake, transportation, and storage of materials, reviewing personnel performance and determining how to best utilize staff members. The receiving supervisor may also provide direct support during unloading and transport activities.
Establish Policies and Procedures
Receiving supervisors support department activities by establishing and enforcing policies and procedures within their department. They determine the best practices for the intake, transportation, and storage of materials, and instruct staff members on changes to these procedures, identifying opportunities to enhance efficiency, safety, and performance by improving or replacing procedures that are not working or reliably followed.
Conduct Employee Training and Onboarding
In addition to directing and coordinating team members, receiving supervisors conduct employee training and onboarding activities. This aspect of the job can include explaining and demonstrating internal processes, completing new employee paperwork and forwarding it to management or human resources departments, and monitoring employee performance during the training and orientation process to help support proper procedures and establish expectations.
Maintain Warehouse Reports
Receiving supervisors support warehouse-wide activities by maintaining accurate and updated records. These records can include shipping manifests, reports on day-to-day warehouse activities, and incident logs. Receiving supervisors may provide these reports to management or other warehouse personnel to aid in decision-making and identify areas for improvement. They may also consult these records to determine the overall efficiency of their department.
Monitor Department Budgets
In many cases, receiving supervisors monitor warehouse or receiving department budgets to ensure that their companies reach their profitability goals. A receiving supervisor may review monthly or quarterly budgets and report variances or identify areas where warehouse activities are negatively impacting the budget. As part of this role, the receiving supervisor also contributes to personnel and staffing decisions, particularly during busy time periods when additional help is needed.
Maintain Warehouse Safety
In addition to making sure the receiving department and warehouse works efficiently, the receiving supervisor also maintains a clean and safe working environment. This can include establishing safety protocols as well as conducting periodic inspections of facilities and machinery to prevent accidents and other hazardous situations. If an accident occurs, the receiving supervisor also gathers data and prepares an incident report.
Receiving Supervisor Skills and Qualifications
Receiving supervisors balance team coordination and leadership with direct support of warehouse activities. Most receiving supervisors have a bachelor’s degree, several years of warehouse experience, and the following skills:
- Team leadership – receiving supervisors manage a team of warehouse personnel and can effectively coordinate and direct team members and utilize staff to accomplish warehouse tasks
- Logistics skills – this role handles logistics for incoming items and materials, so a background in planning and coordinating shipping and receiving activities is a necessity
- Financial management – because they frequently manage department budgets, receiving supervisors should have some experience with financial management and oversight
- Safety management – receiving supervisors establish and enforce safety procedures and protocols, so they should have a firm grasp on best practices for maintaining safe workplaces
- Performance enhancement– in this role, receiving supervisors develop methods and practices to enhance existing processes and improve overall efficiency
- Communication skills – whether they’re training new staff or providing reports to management, receiving supervisors are effective communicators
Tools of the Trade
Depending on the organization, receiving supervisors may work in an office or spend some of their time on the warehouse floor. They should be able to use standard office equipment in addition to the following:
- Industrial machinery (forklifts, hydraulic loaders)
Receiving Supervisor Education and Training
Typically, receiving supervisors have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business management or industrial management, although it is possible to move into this role based on experience and performance as a member of the warehouse or receiving team. Most receiving supervisors have extensive warehouse or inventory management experience, along with several years of supervisory experience.
Receiving Supervisor Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates for receiving supervisors in particular, but its data for transportation, storage, and distribution managers likely includes receiving supervisors. According to BLS data, workers in similar roles earn a median annual salary of $92,460, with the lowest-paid 10 percent earning less than $54,300 per year and the highest-paid earning over $156,720 annually.
If you’d like to learn more about working as a receiving supervisor, we found several resources on the web for further reading and information:
The Association for Distribution & Warehouse Management – this professional organization for shipping, receiving, and warehouse supervisors provides publications, career development resources, and industry reports
World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling – Edward H. Frazelle details the role of the warehouse in modern industries, exploring how to enhance efficiency and support operations
“Managing the Critical Role of the Warehouse Supervisor” – read this article to learn more about the changing role of a warehouse supervisor and core competencies that can help supervisors succeed
Warehouse Management: A Complete Guide to Improving Efficiency and Minimizing Costs in the Modern Warehouse – read this book for tips and advice on managing receiving and storage activities and successfully managing warehouse personnel