Warehouse & Storage
Warehouse and storage requires people who are able to think logically and quickly to accommodate the supply of goods entering and leaving a warehouse: companies need to have the right products in the right place at the right time, or prospective clients will use alternatives.
The operations of a warehouse can be broadly divided between goods coming in and goods going out. It is essential that the warehouse inventory is managed properly, so that there is enough space to store inbound goods and to ensure that shops, restaurants or production facilities are supplied with outbound goods at the right time in the correct quantity. Get it wrong and there are going to be losses to the retailer, whether it is customers choosing alternatives or escalating transport costs. Worse still, it can halt production in other areas of the business.
Most warehouses use complex inventory systems that allow managers to see exactly what is in the warehouse, exactly where it is, where it needs to go and when it needs to be shifted. Many are connected to national and international networks. They can track goods across the globe and so can react to factors, such as strikes in France or bad weather in the Atlantic, which may cause a delay in the supply of goods. This allows contingencies to be put in place, which prevent interruptions in the supply chain.
A warehouse operative is responsible for a range of duties: taking delivery of goods and supplies; checking for damaged or missing items; storing goods; moving stock around by hand, using lifting gear or a forklift truck; picking and packing orders; loading goods for dispatch; keeping records of stock; keeping paperwork up to date; cleaning work areas. They could be based in a distribution depot, retail superstore or a manufacturing plant.
There are a wide range of different people involved in the storage process, from pickers, packers and forklift drivers processing orders in the warehouse, to office staff and managers taking new orders and overseeing the efficiency of the facility, customer service staff, not to mention the array of maintenance staff that often work 24 hours a day to make sure everything keeps moving.
Warehouse & storage apprenticeships
School leavers can access this industry via apprenticeships. On an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) you could train for a warehouse operative role. On an Advanced Apprenticeship you could train for a senior warehouse-person/ream leader role.