In part two I discuss five factors to look for when bringing on a contents manager.

The role of a contents manager is one of the most demanding positions in our industry. We are asked to be responsible for the inventory of multiple jobs; coordinate pack outs and move backs, organize thousands of cubic feet of personal property, control breakage (as much as possible) and make sure we turn a nice profit. If you are looking to hire a contents manager or elevate someone to that position, here are 5 points that you may want to look for when making a change.

Obviously, the role requires more than 5 qualities but this should be a nice place to start.

  1. Organization – I’ve had the privilege of meeting some fine contents managers who have had no previous experience in the industry. The one thing they all have in common is that they all have had to make sense of a disorganized warehouse where jobs were in constant danger of getting mixed. This has always been the number one priority for managers who succeed.
  2. Communication skills – Contents managers deal with the fallout of things that happen either in the field or in production. Mistakes are made, it’s how you deal with these mistakes that makes you worth you salt in this job. Crews are made up of different personalities. You are asking these individuals to walk into a sooty house with no light, no power in the middle of July to take an inventory, box and pack out the structure until it’s empty. You are as good as your staff, and your company will not be very good if your turnover rate is high.
  3. Inquisitive – Experience is not on this list like it is on the list for promoting a lead tech. A contents manager might not get caught in the weeds of the daily grind the same way a project manager does. However, the contents manager has to be inquisitive enough to ask herself ‘is there a better way?’ When companies hire me to work with them this is typically the most common question. I provide them with my strategies and show them why it works. Soon their minds illuminate with the possibilities of a more organized workflow. This can only happen if a contents manager questions the status quo.
  4. Knows what clean is – At some point a contents manager will recognize that quality control needs more attention.  This will happen only if the cleaning quality is properly evaluated. The person in charge; the top dog, has to have a standard in mind. Is this okay to go back in my mom’s house? We have to be discriminating about our standards for what is clean. 
  5. Knows how to delegate – It is crucial to come up with a strategy for executing pack outs, cleaning and return of contents. If the contents manager gets caught paying too much attention to a single part of the process, myopia occurs and he/she can’t see the forest from the trees.  Team members have to be able to clearly recite their own responsibilities and follow through, otherwise the contents manager will be drinking from a fire hose.
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