How to get warehouse experience; male warehouse Manager shaking hand with a male warehouse operative

How to get good warehouse experience

Getting a good cross section of warehouse experience is really important if you want to be in with a chance of landing a great position, especially when the competition is so fierce.

If you want to stand out from the other people working alongside you when it comes time to apply for a permanent position you need to start thinking about your long-term game plan and start deploying a bit of strategy into the mix. While everyone else is thinking about working their way up through a role, you need to be thinking about working your way around a role instead.

Taking a side step throughout the various warehouse environments available could be one of the best strategic moves you could make for your career. Additional training, new specialisms, increased rates of pay, new skills, networking and varying opportunities are just a handful of reasons to consider strategically switching locations.

Warehouses come in all shapes and sizes and each tends to fulfil a specific purpose depending on the industry they serve. Whether you work in a Distribution Centre or a Temperature Controlled Warehouse, a Fulfilment Centre or at an Automated Site, each one provides opportunities to learn something new and add an extra element of experience to your CV.

Distribution Centres

Generally, these warehouses serve the retail industry, shipping out goods to replenish the stock in stores. They can feature a few different environments depending on the type of goods they are storing such as ambient, chilled or frozen.

These centres are busy and fast moving with an emphasis on getting the goods out of the warehouse and in to stores fast.

Distribution centres are an excellent place to be if you want to gain valuable experience in a busy environment where targets are everything and the area you work can change day to day. If you have your sights set on moving into logistics and distribution, perhaps getting a forklift license or an LGV/HGV Truck Driving license should be your next goal which means a distribution centre is the place to be.

Fulfilment Centres

These warehouses ship goods direct to consumers on a supply and demand basis. A good example would be an Amazon Warehouse: you place your order on the website, that then goes directly to the warehouse for the staff to pick, pack and ship the item straight out to you.

Fulfilment Centres are a great way to bolster your knowledge in picking systems, processes and efficiency but can also really hone your attention to detail skills as you work your way around the racks selecting items for shipping. Picking the item quickly and accurately is the name of the game.

Automated Warehouses

While many warehouses are embracing technology to automate some of their processes, the warehouses that handle a fast moving consistent flow of goods in and out have been much quicker off the mark with introducing technology than others.

A great example of an automation in a warehouse environment would be a DHL warehouse that processes and ships parcels so quickly that they don’t spend any time on racks; they move in cages, trolleys and on conveyor belts throughout the warehouse, in and out in one swift process.

The goods that pass through a mostly automated warehouse require very little human contact as the machines do the bulk of the heavy lifting but, that doesn’t mean that human workers are not needed. It is quite the opposite, an automated machine allows a human workers role to change, it doesn’t take it away.

Warehouses like these are work experience gold for anyone wanting to add machine maintenance, systems, safety and operation to their CV.

Climate Controlled Warehouses

Goods such as pharmaceuticals, botanicals, fine arts and paintings, fabrics, papers, and electronics need to be kept in very specific environments to keep them in tip top condition, so when it comes to storage, not just any warehouse will do. Items like these need a specialist warehouse that is set up to control the temperature, moisture and overall humidity of the internal environment.

As a warehouse operative in a specialist climate-controlled warehouse, you will be in an excellent position to learn how to understand and monitor the internal environment to ensure it doesn’t move away from the specific parameters required. Being able to show experience in a climate-controlled warehouse on your CV opens up many more opportunities for you to work in some of the most diverse and interesting warehouse environments out there. 

As you can see, each type of warehouse can provide a different career path or specialism. So, try them all! Career progression isn’t always about promotions and pay rises, sometimes it is about strategic side steps that add a breadth and depth of skills to your CV.

Moving between working environments helps you to build up the experience section of your CV, show that you can learn quickly, adapt to change and absorb knowledge so that when you have decided on where you want to be or what you want to achieve, you will stand out, head and shoulders above the crowd.

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