Warehouse Associate: Job Description and Responsibilities
If you're interested in a career related to manufacturing or the supply chain, consider becoming a warehouse associate. These employees have physically demanding roles that allow them to support the operations of a production facility. Learning more about the position can help you determine whether it matches your qualifications and interests.
In this article, we explain what a warehouse associate is by discussing their key responsibilities and skills and providing an example job description for the role.
What is a warehouse associate?
A warehouse associate is an employee who helps fulfill the logistics of receiving, processing and storing a facility's inventory. They perform tasks like storing products, receiving incoming deliveries, scanning items before logging them on computer systems, managing stock, maintaining a warehouse's cleanliness and inspecting products to detect defects or damages. They also assemble and package products related to orders and ensure proper shipment of goods. Warehouse associates often receive instructions via work orders, which are documents that indicate which tasks have approval from upper management.
Warehouse associate's other responsibilities can include:
Handling customer complaints and questions
Packing and shipping goods to fulfill customer orders
Ensuring the safety of warehouse employees
Making tracking reports
Meeting regulatory compliance requirements
Training associates on warehouse safety procedures
Warehouse associate responsibilities
Here are the key duties of a warehouse associate:
They focus on organizing how items move in and out of the warehouse and storage. They ensure specific inventories remain on shelves and may coordinate reordering when necessary. Stocking duties may involve raw materials, work-in-process goods, consumables or finished products.
A warehouse associate packs products based on customers' preferences and company guidelines. They prepare goods by moving quickly and keeping orders ready for delivery upon receiving purchase orders from their clients. Their goal is to not only prioritize efficiency but also ensure the integrity of the final product by preventing damage.
Warehouse associates often refer to automated work orders when packing items, especially if the warehouse ships various products. Each work order contains the relevant product and customer information, including the product name or number, product description, product quantity and shipment method. If the warehouse has less automation and fewer stock-keeping units (SKUs), warehouse associates may use manually generated work orders or refer to a single set of packing guidelines.
Related: 15 Warehouse Jobs That Pay Well
Providing customer service
A warehouse associate may operate in the company as a clerk. In this position, they liaise between warehouse staff and customers to record and process orders. They also keep records of the company's demands and sales in their computer systems or hard copies. After preparing and packaging orders, warehouse associates can assess orders to ensure the warehouse packs products that match customers' needs. They may also pack and facilitate shipping items for customers.
A warehouse associate uses organizational skills to pack items efficiently and safely into a vehicle or shipping container. They also ensure boxes have a matching brand image of the company and other appropriate details related to the firm. Their primary goal is to load items for the customer who relies on the warehouse for quality delivery services. They may use work orders or a bill of lading (BOL) to ensure the shipments are correct. Other duties include verifying the loading patterns and communicating with warehouse quality assurance personnel.
Related: 60 Physically Demanding Jobs
Performing general warehouse work
Warehouse associates perform miscellaneous duties necessary for processing products, receiving items and shipping items. You may have the responsibility to maintain quality control in the warehouse and oversee inventory. Warehouse associates also use loading machines while packaging, storing or transporting goods and complete the required safety training.
Receiving and shipping items
Warehouse associates work together with warehouse clerks to ensure the successful shipment of goods. They also review orders to ensure they pack and process them correctly by documenting and coordinating shipments depending on how they receive and dispatch orders. They may ship outbound finished products to retailers, distributors and customers. They also ship outbound work-in-process goods and raw materials to manufacturers for production.
If loads require lifting or moving, the warehouse associate can use heavy load equipment to facilitate these processes. They also operate warehouse machines to pack, load and ship items. Warehouse associates with extensive operating machine experience may train and supervise new employees on safely using equipment in the warehouse and performing tasks effectively. Some warehouse associates may hold licenses to legally operate certain equipment such as a forklift.
A warehouse operator checks records to ensure the accuracy of incoming and outgoing deliveries. You may complete basic accounting, calculations and heavy lifting to facilitate this process. Warehouse associates can also organize items in a facility upon receiving them. Another duty is interacting with vendors and customers to ensure they process all orders according to client specifications.
Supervising warehouse staff
Working as a warehouse associate may involve supervising responsibilities, including maintaining efficiency, safety and productivity during daily operations. These duties are more common among associates with several years of experience. Supervisors may train new associates and ensure adherence to company regulations.
Related: 12 Warehouse Job Titles
Warehouse associate skills
Here are some skills that help warehouse associates succeed in their careers:
Communication: Most duties in a warehouse involve interacting with colleagues, employers and customers. During interviews, employers often look for candidates with excellent written and oral communication skills.
Technological literacy: For a warehouse associate position, employers usually expect candidates to understand how to use industry technology like inventory management software.
Teamwork: Teamwork allows you to follow instructions, delegate tasks and collaborate on projects with urgent deadlines. Working as a team can help you interact with junior associates, mid-level employees and executives to progress in your career.
Problem-solving: Warehouse associates may evaluate situations and develop solutions to issues relating to technical issues or incorrect orders.
Flexibility: Flexibility helps warehouse associates adapt to evolving workplace regulations, company policies and technologies.
Work ethic: A good work ethic can help you arrive at work on time and work efficiently to ensure the on-time delivery of customer orders.
Organization: Organizational skills are essential for overseeing inventory, arranging items according to employer standards and identifying inventory inconsistencies.
Related: 13 Types of Warehouse Positions
Warehouse associate job description example
Here's an example of a warehouse associate job description:
Ridgewell Arts Production is hiring a hardworking, reliable and flexible warehouse associate to join our fast-growing organization. This position requires you to perform various warehouse duties, such as sorting, loading, inputting, unloading and receiving materials. Other responsibilities include:
Processing, packing and shipping orders accurately
Inspecting items for defects and reporting as required
Restocking and maintaining an inventory of orders as needed
Preparing items for shipping
Following all warehouse procedures and safety measures
Additionally, we expect the ideal candidate to meet the following requirements:
High school diploma
Two years of experience in a relevant warehouse setting
Experience with pallet jacks, forklifts and hand trucks
Ability to adhere to employer and government safety regulations
Excellent working knowledge of warehouse data systems
Inventory skills and excellent communication skills
Physical stamina and dexterity for the work involving lifting and moving heavy loads
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