Whether it's clothes for yourself or a birthday present for your mother - much of what we consume is now ordered online. We browse through masses of websites to find the right product after comparing different suppliers, instead of searching in local shops. Online trade is becoming increasingly important both for the consumer and in B2B business worldwide.
But what actually lies behind it? There will often be a comprehensive product range in huge warehouses. Warehouse logistics specialists ensure that all processes, for example delivery, sorting, storage, and dispatch, run smoothly.
To become a specialist in warehouse logistics you follow a few years of apprenticeship to learn theory at the vocational school and practical implementation in the training company. When you start your career after your training, you could be working in the warehouses or helping out with loading processes, for example.
The arrival of goods must be accompanied. The warehouse logistics specialist helps with the unloading from the truck or container, whereupon the goods are checked for intactness and completeness, and order and delivery lists are checked before the goods are stored. For this purpose, the products are often stored in the warehouse according to a specific system, which is tracked by an EDP system for faster retrieval. For some products, it is important that they are stored with the appropriate temperature, light and air conditions.
Stocks are continuously checked in the warehouse. After all, no mail-order company suddenly wants to be confronted with the fact that it cannot process customer orders because the ordered product is no longer in stock. Inventory control is also the task of the warehouse logistics specialists, who carry it out either with a tour of the warehouse or on the PC in the inventory control or ERP system. In this context, the employees immediately record which products are running less well or which stocks need to be replenished. They can also directly initiate orders for goods from wholesalers or producers.
Warehouse logistics specialists also process incoming orders. They assemble the ordered goods, commission, pack, create the corresponding documents such as delivery notes and invoices, and finally release the orders for dispatch. They manage all these processes in the company's internal IT systems. How shipping takes place is also the responsibility of the employees for warehouse logistics. On the basis of the order parameters (e.g. product group or delivery time), they decide the shipping method.
The job description of specialists for warehouse logistics is much more versatile than one might think. It's not just about filling high shelves and bringing goods into or out of the warehouse. Many interface activities are involved, which require commercial understanding and cooperation with suppliers, customers and internal departments. Warehouse logistics specialists need to know the practical processes within the warehouse as well as the chain of processes in other areas of the company and at transport companies. For internal processes, it is often a prerequisite that warehouse logistics employees have good knowledge of industrial and working safety as well as environmental protection.
It can only be done well with organizational talent, a sense for chain-like processes and a penchant for perfected detail work. It's these many small steps that we usually don't see when the parcel is handed over to us by the delivery service, the day after ordering something online.