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What Skills are Needed for Warehouse Employment?

Some people work in material distribution in warehouses to oversee everything that enters and leaves.
Warehouse workers should have basic math skills and communication skills.
Warehouse workers must be familiar with intermodal shipping containers.
Many warehouses use forklifts.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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Warehouse employment offers a range of positions, from forklift driver to manager. The education and skills required are as varied as the jobs themselves. There are three types of warehouse jobs: logistics, material distribution, and management.

Logistics is the control and tracking of materials and information between the manufacturer and the final consumer. In a warehouse, materials are received, stored, and then shipped out to another location. The tracking of what has been received, where it came from, and where it is going is critical.

Logistics positions include forklift operator, computer system analyst and data management technician. To qualify for a position in logistics, you will need a high school diploma and at least two years of warehouse experience. Operation of a forklift requires the annual completion of a safety course. This course is required to obtain a forklift license. Computer system positions require sills in data entry, computer operation, and data management. Communication and teamwork skills are essential in a warehouse environment and are required for all positions.

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Material distribution opportunities are related to the receiving and shipping of material. People in these roles control everything that enters and leaves the facility and are responsible for ensuring that all required paperwork is completed correctly. This is especially important for any international shipments or movement of hazardous goods. To work in materials distribution in a warehouse employment, a high school diploma is compulsory. At least two years of warehouse experience is required for most roles and a safety course may be required if moving hazardous materials.

Warehouse management is responsible for the operation of the facility, maximizing the space usage and staff management. There are several layers of management opportunities, ranging from floor supervisors to multi-location managers. A position in warehouse management requires a diploma or degree in business, management, or logistics. Additional training in computer systems and management techniques may be helpful. A manager needs to provide leadership, clear direction and support staff in their roles.

Warehouse employment is growing around the world, as the expansion of a global economy has created a need to manage the flow of materials around the world. A well-run warehouse can increase a company’s efficiency, maximize profits, and increase its competitiveness. To get started in warehouse employment, look for an entry-level position in a warehouse. Material handler positions are a great starting point. From this position, you can see everything that is involved in working in a warehouse.

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CaithnessCC
Post 3

@Acracadabra - For general warehouse employment your cousin would be better off biting the bullet and taking whatever he can get from the agencies.

I'm not saying that I agree with some of them paying temporary workers less than permanent staff, but he needs to get that hands on experience to improve his chances later in life.

Part of the problem with warehouse work these days is the tendency for major companies to contract it out to third parties. It's a real pity that those secure, well paid jobs of the past are getting harder to find.

Acracadabra
Post 2

My cousin has been trying to find this kind of work but so many of the positions are temporary and not very well paid. He's registered with several warehouse employment agencies but so far has had no luck at all.

Perhaps it's his lack of experience that's holding him back but it's proving difficult to change this situation!

Bakersdozen
Post 1

I think it's a great idea for people to look for entry level general warehouse employment opportunities, then work their way up into something more specialised.

In that case though I would say physical fitness is essential. Even if the heavy lifting is done by forklifts you are going to be walking a lot.

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