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Career Focus: Warehousing and Distribution

There’s never been a better time to explore a career in warehousing and distribution with a growing amount of suppliers and vendors going completely digital with their sales and ordering processes. Often, we overlook the importance of warehouses within the distribution chain and how the majority of items from across sectors spend a portion of their lifecycle within distribution centres and warehouses. 

The convenience of one-click purchases and express delivery means that more and more people are taking to online ordering or click and collect services that fit around busy lives. 

The demand for these skills and roles has never been higher and the reward for working in these sectors mirrors this demand. 

Few environments are as dynamic and varied as distribution. So, if you enjoy different challenges and opportunities to build skills and develop, warehouse roles may be for you. This industry offers many roles, from working in departments in the bustle of the warehouse floor to logistics and management roles. 

Let’s take a closer look at some career opportunities distribution and warehousing can offer: 

Logistics

The logistics team is responsible for plotting and planning the perfect routes that maximise driver hours, achieve successful and timely deliveries, and ensure the convenience customers expect while maintaining compliance throughout. However, there is much more to this than meets the eye; this department can present a challenging and varied working day from one to the next. As a member of the logistics team, you will be expected to factor in costs such as fuel and staffing costs and rely heavily on ever-changing data to determine how traffic, delays, and delivery schedules could potentially compromise these costs or the efficiency of the deliveries themselves. As a result, you will need to be a great problem solver who can think on your feet to overcome hurdles day to day. 

Dispatch

Dispatch work alongside logistics as an organisational arm of distribution. 

While logistics handle driver hours, routes, and staff costs, etc., Dispatch allocates the staff (drivers) and vehicles necessary for the workload. As with Logistics, Dispatch teams rely on data that alerts them to the needs and demands for a certain period or region. This data enables them to forecast the staff and vehicles necessary, liaising with Logistics teams to devise efficient, cost-effective routes and rosters. Effective problem solving and time management are crucial for dispatch roles as hurdles and obstacles must be handled quickly and efficiently to minimise their impact on deliveries.

Operatives 

If you’re keen to explore a career in distribution and warehousing then the warehouse floor itself is a great starting place. As entry-level openings, most of these roles don’t require candidates to have acquired particular skills and no special qualifications are needed. Although these are entry-level roles they often enable employees to sample various elements of the chain within the distribution chain, letting you develop your skills in areas that interest you. From the warehouse floor, you can begin your pursuit of a career in other areas; be this Logistics, Dispatch, Project and Admin Management, or other managerial positions. Developing your understanding and experience in a live environment allows employers to see you develop as an employee and keep you in mind for progression or external vacancies and offer you further qualifications such as forklift licenses, etc. 

Admin & Management 

Warehouses and their distribution chains have multiple moving parts and coordinating these moving parts is no easy task. 

To succeed in Administrative and Managerial roles you either need transferrable experience or must know the industry like the back of your hand. This means that there are great possibilities for people to work their way upwards within the industry once they have experienced many of the different practices themselves. Management positions can see you overseeing Logistics, Operatives, and Dispatch Teams to varying degrees be it streamlining transportation with new roll-outs or tracking the process from order to delivery. The responsibilities of these roles vary, keeping no two days the same but ensuring that you are always working towards one end goal; total efficiency.

Other things to consider

The nature of online sales or e-commerce means that warehouses and distribution centres often operate as 25/7 businesses. This means that you are likely to work shifts, which may alternate between night and day and typically break down into 8-12 hour slots. It is important to remember these commitments before you think of pursuing a career within this sector as it can sometimes become difficult to juggle alongside other commitments. 

Transport links are another thing to consider as due to their size, warehouses tend to be ‘out of the way’ meaning they often have poor transport links. If you do not have transport of your own this may make night shifts or early mornings harder to achieve. 

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in warehousing or distribution or are looking for your next temp role to develop your career progression check our website for active opportunities or speak to one of our Consultants today! 

 


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