Why Work in Warehousing and Logistics?
Why Work in Warehousing & Logistics?
“A warehouse is a company’s lifeline, its supply centre and where goods are moved,” It’s a big job, a job that probably isn’t appreciated by most -- except those who do it.” - Cory Lynch, CEO of TPS
Warehouses make the world work! If you ordered something online, it was probably going through a warehouse at some stage of it’s the journey from production to your door. With more people working from home for the foreseeable future, more people are ordering stuff online, and warehouses jobs are growing in demand in every UK region.
What types of jobs are available?
There’s a wide range available, from on-the-floor jobs to office work – and some roles that take both! Some posts may require you to work in extreme conditions, such as with warehouses of low-temperature frozen foods. Some jobs may be working with hazardous materials. Many critical and just-in-time warehouse operations are running 24 hours a day, often split into 8-hour shifts.
Warehouse Operative or ‘Picker Packer’
This is a great entry-level role into Warehousing and Logistics, as only basic qualifications are needed. Part-time and contract work is often available that can then lead to full-time employment with training and development into other logistics roles. These jobs might go by many names- but whether you are called a Warehouse Worker, Operative, picker-packers they all describe an essential link in our supply chains. Generally working in overalls in shifts you will have a variety of duties from taking delivery of goods into the warehouse, stacking and storing them. Preparing palettes for Forklift drivers, possibly learning to operate a forklift or assembly line yourself and eventually picking goods out of storage and packing them for the next stage of their journey which could be to retail, businesses or home-delivery. Companies are generally looking for you to have a pass in English and Maths at GCSE or Higher level, as there is literacy and numeracy requires for these roles. If you are good with tech, that’s a bonus - in most warehouses, the software tracks everything. Items will need to be scanned with tablets or head-sets. Bear in mind these can be quite active roles so you will need to be mobile and being fit will help. Warehouses are often out of town and shifts can run odd hours so check your transport options. As these jobs can be advertised under various titles it's best to set up a saved search with these options.
Do you have strong organisation and communication skills? Dispatchers are the ‘conductors of the orchestra’ – you will coordinate drivers and vehicles to fill customers needs. You’ll need to work as part of a close-knit team towards one common goal – provide efficiency and on-time delivery to customers. See Dispatcher jobs
Do you have a good grasp of spatial awareness, and a passion for health and safety? Forklifts may be small indoor machines, or Big Beasts at the Docks shifting 50 tons but the principles are the same – you’ll need to safely find, select, move, rotate loads with an eye on maximum weight and centre of gravity.
FLT drivers are highly in demand, and there are some different paths to get qualified. You can be trained yourself, or an employer may train you on the job. Find out more with our free guide here
Warehouse Administration & Project Management
Logistics and Transport are all about coordination and organisation. Companies need people in administrative roles who are comfortable with the industry. You might help roll out a new GPS, coordinate vehicles and mechanics for maintenance, handle billing for leasing and working with a new GPS and stock system and internal company newsletters. Every day will be different. See Matching Jobs Now!
Are you intrigued by the “Travelling Salesman’s problem”? “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city and returns to the origin city?”
Then this could be the role for you. Taking into account many factors such as profit-per-stop, staffing costs, costs, opening-hours, traffic and more you will optimise routes, delivery schedules and fuel use while ensuring legal compliance. Logistics engineers work with data to make operations more efficient. See Jobs here.
If you have a calm temperament, a steady hand, an eye for detail, a passion for safety and nerves of steal, you might specialist in the warehousing roles involving dangerous, toxic and hazardous substances (HazMat).
From radioactive medical supplies, to the extremely toxic chemicals required in some manufacturing processes, to nuclear weapons, to fossil fuels - dangerous materials still need to be stored, picked, packed and transported.
Normally this specialisation might come after some general warehousing experience, and will require additional training and qualifications in an understanding of inspection and evaluation of biological, chemical or nuclear substances, acids and other toxic materials, gases, liquids and solids. See jobs here.
Warehouse managers need to be versatile. The best warehouse managers are ones who have done, and who can do, a little bit of everything. As a Warehouse Manager, you will need to manage people from all sorts of different roles, backgrounds and motivations – ranging from an 18-year-old on a summer job with no experience up to people who have 20 years of experience and know the company inside out. As a warehouse manager, you will need to understand maths, and have responsibility for / working knowledge of -
- Loading and unloading supplies, materials and goods
- Overseeing and tracking deliveries and pickups.
- Maintaining inventory records
- Allocating appropriate places for storage.
- Stock rotation and management
- Inventory Level Management against receipts and disbursements
Potentially also things like Temperature management, Hazardous Materials storage – and maybe even how to lubricate a forklift!
“Being a warehouse manager is constantly putting out small fires” (not, we hope, literally!!) “You need to be able to cope when that shipment doesn’t come in, or when goods are damaged. You also, as a top priority, need to understand and deal with safety issues and procedures. Because we are moving heavy items with forklifts and placing them high above-ground, one mistake can lead to serious injury or death. Every person on your team has a duty and responsibility that greatly affects other employees ability to do their job” - Mark Thompson - Warehouse Manager
How do I start?
The path to Warehouse management generally starts on the warehouse floor – get a warehouse job, and a feel for the day-to-day operations, any experience in inventory, picking, packing, using a forklift – all are invaluable roles to have done for warehouse managers. Getting a good working knowledge of Inventory-management software, a grip of numbers and health and safety are critical. Make sure you are comfortable working with a wide variety of people - in the morning you could be working with a teenager on their first job unloading shipments. Then in the afternoon you could be giving the CEO a tour and explaining your plan to save the company money by improving the flow of goods.