A Warehouse Full of Opportunities
Warehouses may be one of the first things you think of when picturing the Supply Chain and Logistics industry. Warehouses are key for the movement and processing of goods from companies to their customers; they are also an excellent place to find a job in the industry. Warehouses offer an array of shifts, particularly if they are 24-hour centers, which is excellent for those who need flexible scheduling. Many warehouse positions are part-time and hourly, but full-time opportunities are available as well, usually with the more experienced positions. Not to mention, there are ample opportunities for advancement as an employee gains more specialized experience. To help you find the right position, we've made an overview of some of the most common titles you'll come across in your warehouse job search!
If you're just starting out, the most common position you'll find yourself qualified for is a warehouse worker or warehouse associate. These positions tend to do an array of duties throughout the warehouse as needed. They may be assisting in things such as packing orders, assisting with loading and unloading stock, keeping the facility clean and orderly, and maintaining inventory. Essentially, the warehouse associate has a more general job and is often known to be the "jack of all trades," which is excellent for exposure to all functions and specialties one can advance into.
Shipping and receiving offers a few paths. For those starting out in warehousing, you'll often find yourself in one area, whether it is shipping or receiving, as an associate. Shipping and receiving associates can have many responsibilities including the packaging and preparation of orders and shipments, processing of inbound shipments, quality control, and keeping track of inventory. Shipping and receiving associates must have an eye for detail, since quality control and removal of damaged goods is often up to their assessment.
Selectors, also known as pickers, assist in preparing orders for shipping. Using order sheets, they comb through inventory to find the matching products and select them for packaging, eventually assembling the customer orders. They typically physically move products to different pallets and stations for packing and loading. Attention to detail is key as the selector is ensuring orders are accurate and on time to keep customer service in top shape. Sometimes, selectors are required to use machinery and pallet jacks on top of the physical requirements, so always check the job descriptions for the required experience!
Material handlers do a lot like what it sounds- they are responsible for the movement of the different materials in the production line and throughout the warehouse. Material handlers need a lot of organizational skills as they move finished products from production to shipment. Often, material handlers are required to have certain machinery skills as well, such as operating forklifts, cherry pickers, and packaging machines. Forklift drivers are a common specialty themselves; these workers are specifically responsible for using forklifts to move materials from receiving to their proper storage locations or moving products to loading to be prepared and shipped out. They are the machinery muscle power of the warehouse and must be great at keeping to a schedule!
As you gain more experience in warehousing, opportunities arise in specialties. For example, someone working in receiving may advance to become a shipping and receiving specialist. A selector may move up to becoming an inventory specialist. Note that many higher-level positions do require not only more years' experience, but often certifications in operating different machinery! The warehouse managers and supervisors are some of the highest positions to achieve in the warehouse. A warehouse manager has experience in all the different operations in the warehouse, and usually has acted as a supervisor to a team in one or more areas of functionality. Managers and supervisors are responsible for the operations of their teams or warehouse, analyzing work orders and other paperwork, inventory, and the overall efficiency of the warehouse.
These are only a few of the vast opportunities available to warehousing professionals. The importance of warehousing grows more essential with the continuously improving efficiency of deliveries to consumers and manufacturing practices. Job seekers in Supply Chain and Logistics should expect lots of opportunities for them as warehousing evolves- keep your eyes open and get your search started!