Warehouse Operator Job Description
A warehouse operator is responsible for managing the supply chain process, handling vendor orders and interactions, implementing safety regulations, and checking all packages for quality assurance. Individuals in this role should be extremely detail oriented and possess basic math skills. It’s also expected that warehouse operators have adequate physical strength to successfully unload shipments. It may be required to operate a forklift or other warehouse machinery. Hours vary based on the employer and may be outside of the nine-to-five schedule.
Warehouse Operator Duties and Responsibilities
While the day-to-day duties of a warehouse operator are determined by their employer, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Manage the Supply Chain
On a daily basis, a warehouse operator collaborates with the appropriate parties to review expected deliveries. It’s expected that shipments are signed upon receipt, packages are unloaded from incoming trucks, contents are inspected to ensure they’re not damaged, and that packages are verified according to orders and invoices. Warehouse operators might also maintain support documentation for all billed invoices.
The warehouse operator is expected to regularly check inventory levels and place orders with suppliers as needed. They must maintain accurate records and assist with inventory control. If there are issues with shipments, warehouse operators contact the supplier or shipper to resolve the problem in a timely manner.
Keep Warehouse Organized
The warehouse operator uses machinery, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, and hand carts, to unload, stack, move, and place products in the proper designated areas.
Adhere to Safety Regulations
Warehouse operators must adhere to relevant health and safety rules and regulations at all times. This includes wearing protective clothing and operating tools and machinery safely according to company protocol.
Warehouse Operator Skills and Qualifications
Warehouse operators should have a passion for organization. The ideal candidate works well with different personality types, has strong logistical skills, and has an eye for detail. Employers prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Communication skills – warehouse operators interact with many people, such as suppliers, supervisors, and employees. They must be strong communicators to keep operations running smoothly
- Attention to detail – most warehouse operators work in fast-paced environments, and they must remain composed and focused on a variety of shipment, record, and invoice details even when working under pressure
- Team management – warehouse operators train, manage, and motivate their staff, providing feedback and delegating tasks, all of which requires strong leadership and management
- Problem-solving skills – warehouse operators are natural problem-solvers who are able to troubleshoot and resolve issues effectively
Tools of the Trade
Warehouse operators often use the following tools in their work:
- Transaction software
- Warehouse tools and equipment (forklifts, pallet jacks, hand carts)
- Microsoft Office programs (particularly Excel)
Warehouse Operator Education and Training
Employers prefer warehouse operators to have a high school diploma or GED as well as previous experience working in a warehouse. Forklift certification may be required. Hands-on training, especially in the hiring company’s specific processes and software, is typically offered by employers.
Warehouse Operator Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual wage for warehouse operators as $15.29 per hour, or $31,810 per year. This can vary based on what industry, state, or country one works in. Employment of warehouse operators and similar professionals is projected to grow 7 percent through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in careers as warehouse operators. Please review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news:
Essentials of Inventory Management – this book provides warehouse operators and other inventory professionals with key information regarding physical stock issues, problem identification and resolution, RFID technology, and automated inventory mechanisms
Supply Chain Management for Dummies – this easy-to-understand guide helps readers connect the dots between topics like purchasing, logistics, and operations to see how the big picture is affected by seemingly isolated inefficiencies
The Definitive Guide to Warehousing – the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals issues this guide, which a great overview of how to run an efficient and successful warehouse operation
Forklift Certification Training Kit – this resource provides everything you need to achieve forklift certification, including info about OSHA standards, handouts, evaluation checklists, and more
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