An article by contributor Dixie Somers.
While job demand in many industries rises and falls, businesses always have a need for intelligent and dedicated people to staff their warehouses. Whether it’s for a big box retail chain, an aerospace tech manufacturer, or an ecommerce site, warehouse workers will always be in demand. While automation certainly threatens many career paths, warehouse job security is practically guaranteed according to job growth projections well into the 2020s and beyond. It may seem a simplistic field to the untrained eye, but you’d be surprised that warehouse careers can be fulfilling and offer plenty of variety.
General Warehouse Associates
While in terms of responsibilities warehouse associates are the muscle of the staff, operationally speaking they are the backbone that supports the entire structure. As an associate you’ll be on the ground handling the loading and unloading of goods, any packaging, labeling, and assembly duties, some inventory management, as well as warehouse safety and cleanliness. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys engaging physical work and an opportunity to get your hands dirty, a warehouse associate position is the right fit. For those wishing to climb into supervisory or administrative roles, starting in one of these manual positions is an excellent way to not only get your foot in the door, but also gain all the needed practical experience of how a warehouse operates firsthand.
This category is comprised of both general and skilled laborers. While a general position requires little in terms of background, skilled laborers are expected to have training with essential warehouse equipment. These positions generally pay better, are in higher demand, offer more job security and mobility, and plenty of opportunity for career advancement. To qualify, consider getting licensed to operate common warehouse equipment like forklifts and order pickers. These certifications are offered affordably and, given the career opportunities they open up, make it worth the investment.
Operations Management Staff
Operations managers have a great deal of responsibility, as they oversee a broad range of warehouse operations. From ensuring safety and security measures are followed, arranging shipping and receiving schedules, to handling budgetary and customer concerns, this career path is open to those with either a strong body of warehouse experience or a firm business or logistics education background.
If you enjoy planning, motivating teams, multitasking, and managing projects with lots of moving parts, an operations management position is worth considering. Likewise, if you’re entering the warehouse industry at the associate level, joining the operations staff is one avenue to work towards, as it requires an intimate knowledge of all aspects of the warehouse.
While the operations management team has its own host of duties to attend to, it requires the support of dedicated workers to carry out all the behind the scenes work. Specifically, management is responsible for the physical operations of the warehouse, but still leaves a variety of support functions and office-type or “white collar” responsibilities that must be attended to.
Filing contracts, managing payroll and accounting, performing data entry to keep track of inventory, interacting with customers through phone and email, and other clerical work are all handled by the administrative team. The administrative side of the warehouse is perfect if you’re the sort of person who enjoys working behind the scenes or if you have an education and work background that qualifies you for a general office setting.
A Bright Future
The employment statistics are clear: warehouse workers are in demand and will remain so well into the foreseeable future. Choosing a warehouse career not only offers you long-term job security, but also offers a variety of career paths that will surely fit your background. Whether you like working with your hands in a fast-paced environment, multitasking while motivating a large team, or crunching numbers behind the scenes, warehouse careers are a fulfilling and rewarding avenue to pursue.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. You can follower her on Twitter @DixieSomers.