What warehousing jobs entail
If you work in a warehouse, you ship, store and receive merchandise kept in warehouses. Warehouses protect goods and raw materials from being stolen or from deteriorating because of exposure to the elements, infestation, and so on. Oftentimes, goods are manufactured and then stored in warehouses after production but before they are shipped to retail stores, customers, grocery stores, etc.
In addition to jobs in warehousing that deal with merchandise, federal, state, or local governments may also have their own warehouses. Public warehouses, which are independently owned, may charge storage fees to provide storage. In addition, other warehouses exist in large cities that are located close to freight terminals or ports.
Grocery stores or other businesses that need refrigerated warehouses also use these types of specialty warehouses, and warehousing jobs are necessary here, too. Bonded warehouses are specialty warehouses owned by people who make sure import duties or internal revenue taxes are paid if due on merchandise stored there. These people post bonds to make sure these payments are made.
Warehousing job duties
In some warehousing jobs, you are responsible for tracking and unloading merchandise as the warehouse receives it. You may also load the merchandise when it's being shipped to customers. What you do in warehousing jobs will depend on where you are employed. As a handler, you unload goods from transportation when it's received into the warehouse, and you load it back onto trucks or other transportation when it's being shipped out to customers or retail stores. You may be unloading goods from railroad sidings, ships, or trucks onto warehouse platforms.
In some cases, you may unload or load merchandise by hand, while in other cases, you may operate forklifts to lift these goods. Or, you may use automated equipment that helps you handle this material much more easily, such as guided vehicles, conveyor belts, or automated high stockers. These types of systems help those with distribution shipping jobs and warehousing jobs to retrieve goods that are in larger warehouses where logistics are much more difficult and things are farther apart.
People called "gang leaders" may supervise those who work in entry-level warehouse or distribution shipping jobs. In most cases, these supervisors are in charge of everything that happens in a warehouse.
Jobs in warehousing may also include being a stock clerk; these people keep records on goods as they enter and leave the warehouse. Most of this information is kept in barcode format. This is much easier for stock clerks to keep track of, because they can use hand-held readers and scanners to read the codes; then, they transfer the data to a computer that keeps track of the inventory. Warehousing jobs such as those for shipping receivers or checkers, check on merchandise to make sure that it arrives undamaged, unspoiled, et cetera. These people also make sure that all of the delivery arrives in good shape, and so they check the whole shipment, not just part of it.
Warehousing jobs may also include those of warehouse record clerks, who keep records on all outgoing and incoming shipments. Each shipment is checked against bills or invoices. With public warehouses, record clerks also make up storage receipts for customers. This is required by law, and owners of the store goods can also use these receipts as loan collateral or security.
Jobs in warehousing also include those who fill orders and put together merchandise for outgoing shipments to customers. These people may also take the goods out to the shipping room or the loading platform, as applicable. They may also wrap, box or pack the merchandise. Warehouse jobs also include those who address, weigh or attach postage to the packages to get them ready for shipment.
In most cases, employers prefer that those who work in warehouse distribution jobs have a high school education. Most of the time you are going to have to have legible handwriting to get one of these jobs; typing and data entry skills are also a plus. In addition to your high school education, you will also receive on-the-job training for several weeks. Also, because warehousing jobs require relatively heavy lifting, you are going to have to be in good health and be quite strong to work in this capacity. In fact, many job listings will specify how much weight you must be able to lift in order to get the job.
Applying for jobs in warehousing
The Internet is a good place to look for jobs in warehousing that are available in your area. In addition, you can also look for these types of jobs in employment offices and in your local newspaper in the "employment" section. Once you find warehousing jobs you would like to apply for, simply go down to each location and fill out the application you are given. It should be done neatly and legibly, so that your prospective employer can read it easily.
Outlook and salary
This is one sector of the economy that may have experienced a slight decline because of the overall job outlook, but there are still some jobs to have in these areas. In some cases, computers and automated equipment have taken over much of what those in warehousing jobs used to do. Still, there will always be a need for human beings to fill many of these positions. In general, you'll work about 40 hours a week and the job itself is quite physically stressful. Overtime is paid for hours worked over 40 hours a week, and you should be able to work all year. Many warehousing jobs are union jobs.
In general, you should be able to make between about $12 an hour and $20 an hour, depending on your level of experience and the job you're doing. Supervisory positions make more. Many jobs also provide at least some health, life insurance, and retirement benefits. Paid holidays and vacations are also usually a given.
Jobs in warehousing are still quite plentiful in spite of the slow economy; these are good secure jobs to get into, especially if you are not considering a more academically oriented career. You must have the physical capability to do the job, however, since it requires some pretty heavy lifting. In general, you'll work 40 hours a week and will be given overtime for more hours than that. It's a good and quite lucrative career to get into for those with the physical capabilities to manage it.