Smithsonian Folkways seeks a highly motivated Inventory Coordinator

Smithsonian Folkways, the iconic non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, is seeking an experienced, knowledgeable, and dynamic Inventory Coordinator. The position is responsible for managing the inventory of our physical materials, and for coordinating all aspects of the manufacturing process for the label. This includes printing, pressing, warehousing, and all tracking shipments into and out of the warehouse, including warehouses of Smithsonian Folkways’ distributors.


The successful candidate will ensure a timely manufacture and reorder of parts and finished product, oversee warehousing of stock, and manage shipments to national and international distributors. By keeping accurate records for manufacturing and shipments, the candidate will track the manufacture and assembly of all material parts for the Smithsonian Folkways catalog, working closely with the with the production manager and manufacturer to assure parts are on hand in a timely manner so that deadlines are met.  

Smithsonian Folkways is looking for someone with extensive knowledge of the production and manufacturing steps of audio compact discs, audio tapes, and LP recordings. The ideal candidate has substantial experience coordinating the manufacture of print stock and audio product, and their shipments to warehouses, as well as experience in dealing with warehouse managers and distributors. 

The Smithsonian Folkways team is a group of passionate, dedicated music lovers that believe in the mission of music of the people, by the people, and for the people. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you! 

Applications with a full CV and a letter addressing key criteria are due by email or regular mail at 5pm EST on April 15, 2020. Please ensure to note which position you are applying for. For submissions and further questions about this position, please contact our Executive Assistant Logan Clark at [email protected]

Position Overview:

This position is located in Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a division of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.  The division is responsible for the production, manufacturing, marketing, sale and dissemination of high-quality audio and video recordings, directed at scholars, communities, and the general public, delivered through commercial distribution agents as well as directly from the CFCH offices.  It is also responsible for making available to the public a large number of historic recordings represented in the record labels acquired by the CFCH in addition to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, disseminated by mail order in the form of custom-made CDs, via digital delivery from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and outside commercial digital distribution agents, and through licensing agreements with other publishers. 

The position reports to the Director of Finance of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and is responsible for managing the inventory of recordings, and for coordinating all aspects of the manufacture of the Smithsonian Folkways recordings, including printing, pressing, warehousing, and all shipments into and out of the warehouse, including those warehouses of Smithsonian Folkways distributors.



Major Areas of Responsibility include:

    • Develops purchase orders in both ERP and NetSuite (Folkways financial system) with manufacturing facilities in advance in order to ensure timely manufacture and reorders of paper and finished product, warehousing of stock, and shipments to national and international distributors
    • Keeps accurate records for manufacturing and shipments; 
    • Tracks information through manufacturer B2B or via activity reports from print manufacturers. 
    • Using inventory methodology, tracks the manufacture and assembly of all material parts of the finished goods for Smithsonian Folkways catalog of over 400 titles
    • Independently works with production manager and manufacturer to assure parts are on hand in a timely manner so that deadlines are met.  


  • Must be aware of all required steps in multiple ERP systems and follow them in the correct order to assure alignment of both systems.  
  • Troubleshoots and resolves problems at the distributor related to arrival and shipment of orders
  • Represents Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at conferences and conventions and assists other Smithsonian bureaus in arrangements with outside manufacturing of recordings
  • Monitors costs through the development and manufacturing cycles of projects; 
  • Assists the Director of Financial Operations in maintaining an efficient flow of material through appropriate vendors.



Minimum Qualifications (Skills, Knowledge & Abilities):

  • Extensive experience with and knowledge of the production and manufacturing steps of audio compact discs, audio tapes, and LP recordings. 
  • Must have broad experience working with vendors and coordinating the manufacture of film, print stock, audio product, and their shipments to warehouses, and knowledge of how the various manufacturing processes work together to get to finished product. 
  • Experience must be directly related to music industry manufacturing.  
  • Knowledge should include how to research new sources for technology advances in the manufacturing industry.
  • Knowledge of independent distribution systems for audio recordings, and experience in dealing with warehouse managers and distributors.
  • General knowledge of Folkways collection, either through direct involvement or as a consumer/fan, or as a person working with the collection.
  • Ability to keep financial, manufacturing and sales records and to prepare reports on a regular basis and in a timely fashion, and basic knowledge of budgeting. 
  • Knowledge of computers enough to prepare manufacturing forms, and to keep adequate records.
  • Ability to write well and communicate clearly in writing and on the telephone.
  • Knowledge and experience with both PeopleSoft and NetSuite financial systems.



This position is subject to administrative direction of the Director of Marketing & Sales of the Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings.  Overall work performance is appraised for effectiveness in areas of activity and conformance with policy and objectives.

Incumbent handles all work independently according to established policies and accepted practices and keeps supervisor informed of any problems and priorities and consults the supervisor when there is a new situation that has not previously arisen, or there is a conflict between the policy and standard procedures.



Guidelines area available but are not completely applicable to the work or have gaps in specificity.

Incumbent must use judgment in interpreting and adapting guidelines such as Smithsonian policies, regulations, precedents, and work directions for application to specific cases or problems.  The employee analyzes results and recommends changes. 



The work includes various duties involving different and unrelated processes and methods.

The decision regarding what needed to be done depends upon the analysis of the subject, phase, or issues involved in each assignment and the chosen course of action may have to be selected from many alternatives.

The work involves conditions and elements that must be identified and analyzed to discern interrelationships. 



Involves treating a variety of conventional problems, questions, or situations within established criteria.

The work product or service affects the visual aspects and branding of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and the programs and operations of the office.  The final work products have a major impact in both the marketplace and on the public, who view and purchase them.

PERSONAL CONTACTS: Levels 6-2 and 7-2

Personal contacts are with a wide variety of specialized vendors such as printers, packagers and CD replicators and manufacturers who are critical to implementing Folkways manufacturing projects.  Also contacts leading edge developers with regard to new trends or innovations in order to stay abreast of industry changes. Internal contacts include Folkways and Center staff, particularly those who work on the production and marketing teams.  Also, must work with staff in the Office of the Comptroller with regard to accounting and controls of inventory.

Physical Demands:

The work is sedentary.  Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to do the work. However, there may be some walking; standing; bending; lifting and dealing with deliveries of goods when necessary, or when observing physical inventory counts in the warehouses.

Work Environment:

The environment involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions of such places as offices, meeting and training rooms, libraries, or commercial vehicles, work practices with office equipment, avoidance of trips and falls, observance of fire regulations and traffic signals.  The work area is adequately lighted, heated and ventilated.