Driving, Transportation & Logistics Opportunities

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Hi there, Marty here, Thanks for joining us today at Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  We’ve mentioned Transportation several times in other Episodes and I’ve had a few questions about the opportunities to move from warehousing into a Driver position so I thought today we’d visit on a few of those positions.  I’m really excited about today’s show, here in a bit we’ll be visiting with an Over The Road Driver and hear how she joined the industry and a few of her thoughts about the profession!

In the world of Distribution I feel there’s really two different jobs to talk about in regards to driving, one being the Delivery Driver, Outbound if you will, & another being the Freight Driver or Long haul driver, let’s call that the Inbound Driver.  A Distribution Center brings product into the facility to ship it out individually to its many Customers or end users.

Let’s start with the Outbound Delivery Drivers today as that’s where many of us will have the quickest opportunity to move into Driving and delivering our companies own products.  The quick advantage here is we’re learning every item the company carries, we see every customers name they sell to & the Company learns us as an employee, that we’re motivated, trust worthy and dependable AND they know what our goal is, they have an opportunity to groom us into a Driver Position.

A Driver position can pay very well, especially these days with activity based compensation, case pay or whatever you want to call it.  Again, there are few if any short cuts to making that money though.  Experience is what your company is looking for, miles, time behind the wheel or in our case, what I’d like to talk about here is product knowledge and time with the company.  I’ve known several people that knew they wanted to be a Driver, only to find that it’s tough to break into the field if you want to stay home every night.  There’s some great opportunities with trucking schools and over the road companies, really some good deals to be had, but as with any pay to learn experiences, wither by time or money, make sure you know what you’re getting, what’s expected and what the overall or real cost is,  and to get the experience needed to make that good money you may have to be away from home quite a bit and or ride as a Team for a while.  More about that in a few minutes, I got side tracked, let’s get focused back to the Delivery Driver.

Like I was saying, I’ve known of several people that set their goal as being a delivery driver only to find that companies were looking for experience.  I mean were asking them to put us out on the road in their Tractor and Trailer loaded with their product making maybe 20 stops to their customers and we have no experience doing it.  I think we’d all admit that’s a lot of faith.

However, and I’ve seen this approach be very successful many times, if we reply to a warehouse position ad, and are willing to start at the bottom if necessary and work our way through a few positions we may just be able to get that education AND get paid for it while we’re doing it.

I actually had this very conversation with a young gentleman once,  He had checked into a driving school, it was reasonably priced and came with an internship to help defray some of that cost but he was puzzled by the contract that said he’d need to do some team driving, across state lines for a period of one year but a good job was in the foreseeable future.  We talked about how it sounded like a great opportunity, I sensed he was a bit hesitant and found that he didn’t really want to be away from the family every day, maybe only being home a couple nights a week.  He really wanted more of a local route or delivery position, a 8 to 10 hour job kind of thing.  I pointed out that you had to put your time in to settle into something like that.  I suggested getting a warehouse position with a local D/C, do a great job for them & maybe he could Drive for them eventually.  We’ll a long, and expensive story later, he decided to sign on with the trucking schools offer, did it for about 6 months and decided he just couldn’t be away from home that much and ended up quitting.  The silver lining is that he did eventually get an entry level Inventory Control position, moved up through several positions, became an order selector for about a year, approached his company for a driving position.  They trained him and today he’s living the life, accomplished his goal & is doing a great job for the company!  Think of the time he could have saved, and the money he wouldn’t have lost had he just planned out his course, really developed a plan instead of shooting from the hip.  We all do it, I wish I had planned much better in my younger years but this is a good example of how to reach for the clouds and grab them right?

A Delivery driver can be a rough job, it’ll probably pay really well but it can be tough.  The hours can be long, you have a lot of responsibility, todays cities can be a pain to get through with like 20 stops and 1500 cases to unload.  At every stop you could encounter an issue, something not on the truck, a case damaged, and it’s always that one case that the customer needed.  The salesman’s promised something that hadn’t been delivered, any number of things can happen and of course the customer has you to vent too & expects you to have the answer lol.  It’s a great job though, I love logistics, you’re really the President of the company when you’re out on the roads, your representing the company at the highest levels, with your customers, and probably being paid well for it.  Freedom at its finest if you will.

The other type of Driver we’ll talk about today is the Inbound driver.  Your company had purchased a truck load of product and we’re driving it in from 2000 miles away.  Talk about being the president of your company, and in many instances, you are the actual president as you could own your own rig & be the decision maker.  If you can be on the road, away from home some & have patience, a lot of patience this can be a great & rewarding career.  It comes with some of the afore mentioned issues or opportunities, brokers & salesmen could sometimes tell us anything to get us on the road only to find our appointment was scheduled too tight or was moved forward to another day.  Oh and trying to schedule our return freight so we’re making money for the ride back may cost us a day here or a day there as well.  And of course, weather can play havoc with your schedule too, again I mention that word patience.  It’s a great life if it’s a life for you and can really pay well too.

Inbound deliveries or over the road driving is thought to be less physical by many, and its true theirs many instances where you may just have to drop and hook, take off again or maybe where your unloading they offer a lumping service or have unloaders but many times you may have to unload your product, it just really depends on your terms and contract.  I feel any driving is physical, very few driving jobs are easy, but it’s a great career choice if you’re interested or yearn in it, many drivers I know call it more of a calling.

And there’s huge growth potential within the transportation worlds, todays logistics use computer software and systems and offer global opportunities. Many of our supply chain specialist and Logistics managers got their start in Transportation, going on to plan, implement, and control freight movement over the roads and oceans.  Couple that experience with a BA in Supply Chain and Logistics Management & you may be able to work anywhere in the world! If you bought something today it was brought there by a truck!

Well that’s some quick thoughts of mine regarding Drivers Positions and we’ll be talking about Transportation more in-depth in upcoming Episodes.  I love the Industry & its Opportunities.

We have a special guest visiting with us today, Ellie is a Long-Haul driver, a professional in the field of transportation.  You can keep up with her travels, as we here at WAOC do, through her Twitter feed @AzureAngel17 or her YouTube Channel Ellie O’Daire.  Her travels are really interesting and you can tell she loves what she does!

Ellie shares a bit of her background and how she found her way into the Trucking Industry.  We discuss the type of freight she carries and the easiest to deliver as well as a few thoughts on Lumper Services.  Ellie loves what she does and shares a few of her thoughts on the Industry!

And thanks again to our listeners, I hope you enjoyed todays show.  Please Email us a comment or a suggestion to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com or @Whse and Op’s on both Twitter and Facebook!  If you’re on a path to driving yourself we’d love hear your story as well.  Till next week, Think Safe & Be Safe, others are waiting on us to come home tonight!

Building Maintenance Positions & Opportunities

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Marty here with Warehouse and Operations as a Career, I hope you’ve had a great & prosperous week so far.  This week let’s look at the Building Maintenance side of warehousing, we’ve mentioned it a couple of times in previous episodes and it’s definitely a strong and stable department and an excellent career path.  In our Production, Distribution and Fleet arenas it takes a strong maintenance department to keep things running, the machinery, warehouse equipment & tractors must stay up so the productivity can be maintained.  I’ve been fortunate to know several people that moved from warehousing, many that started in general labor positions and worked themselves through the tasks to technicians, maintenance leads and Directors and above.  Today we’ll hear from one such gentlemen that started out in the Military, passed through warehousing  to the maintenance world & retired from a National Distribution Center as its Director of Building Maintenance and Fleet Services.

Building Maintenance can cover many positions depending what industry your working in, today we’ll try and talk to several, probably across a few different industries, what you see at your facility may be different of course but the positions are interesting to discuss.

When one hears Building Maintenance you may think of Janitorial, Plumbing, Electrical, Painting, Furniture, Carpets, Cubicles and such?  And all that usually falls under them but several others as well like Security, all the warehouse equipment, HVAC Systems, Heat & Air as well as the warehouse racking, dock doors and any trailer locking devices etc…

In Episode 11 we talked with a gentleman that started with a distribution center as general labor and actually, after working his way through many different warehousing positions ended up in the maintenance dept, something he really enjoyed, and retired actually from!

What I’ve seen, is those individuals that love working with their hands or really like mechanics type things that have been hired in warehousing and notice positions within maintenance that they think they’d like seem to make great technicians.  Now of course, as we’ve learned from others is we’ll need to be doing a great job at our assigned task, not have any kind of attendance problems and be on our bosses radar as the person that communicates well & is looking for advancement so when we bring up our wishes we can be considered for the move!  There are several entry level positions in the field such as Painting, working with Racking, a lot of utility type positions.

Then there’s the bit more skilled positions, which may or may not require some type of training or certifications like working with the electrical warehouse equipment, pallet jacks, forklifts, conveyer machinery etc.. Probably starting off with changing load wheels & tires, maybe switches and working with the equipment batteries and such.  I understand there are several articles, courses and even certifications available on line, many your company may be able to share with you and get you set on the path or curriculum you need.

One thing I learned many years ago was with working on the garage type doors on the docks, if dealing with those springs you’d better have a bit of training before touching them LOL, they can be very dangerous!

Of course, you have the HVAC equipment, heating and air conditioning for the building, that’s a great industry to get into and of course comes with much training and regulatory concerns.  I know one gentleman that did just that, he was a general utility man, doing everything from hanging doors, installing locks, touch up painting and such, enrolled in school, the place he was working actually paid part of his tuition & todays he is a certified HVAC Technician.

One of the best stories I’ve heard of was a gentleman from Bosnia, he started out in warehousing as a loader, he had an old beater car he had purchased to get back and forth to work with and found he really enjoyed working on it all the time.  He’d been taking lunch with and asking the fleet mechanics questions now and then about how to fix his car & discovered he had a passion for the trade.  A long story short he enrolled in a night tech school and became a diesel mechanic, opened his own repair shop and he accomplished all this in the course of like 8 years.  He came to the states, got a General Labor job in warehousing, made some money while attending school & ended up with a Career in our Industry!

Another great success story, I met a gentleman last year that started out a maintenance position, a true Utility man, generally cleaning out the evaporative cooling units at a facility, you may know them as swamp coolers, those water pans can be nasty & pretty smelly at times lol, he worked his way up through several maintenance positions, transferred to the warehouse where he held different positions, gaining experience in the field and today he is the warehouse manager of that very facility!  Another example of getting our foot in the door, taking advantage of every opportunity, Being that Employee that shows up to work every day, eager to learn & is constantly reaching for something else.  Taking a job & turning it into a Career!

As I mentioned earlier we’re fortunate to have a retired Director of Building & Fleet Maintenance visiting with us today, I’ve known David for, gosh I guess like 20 something years.

We discussed how he got started and he shared his thoughts and opinions on several of the departments positions and responsibilities. A very interesting Interview!

And Thank each of you for joining us today as well, If you have any questions about opportunities within the Building Maintenance department please email us at host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and I’ll try and put you in touch with someone that could get them answered. Please leave us a comment or suggestion on our Twitter or Facebook feeds, remember participation is education.  Let’s each wake up in the morning with a Safety Thought and share it with our Teams!

1st Quarterly Roundtable Q&A w/Technology, Safety and Distribution Management

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Today’s show is our 1st Quarterly Roundtable discussion, we’ll be answering a few questions from our audience and sharing some thoughts and opinions from our guests!

Today’s topics include a little on the great strides made regarding Technology in our field, learn a bit about Safety and its importance and talk about advancement in the Production and Distribution segments of Operations!  Please leave us a comment on today’s program and email us with suggestions or topics!  Feel free to participate on Twitter and Facebook as well, you’ll find us @WhseandOps.

Thanks for listening and Be seen, Participate and Be Heard at your Safety Meetings!

Warehouse Training Techniques & advice from a Professional

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Today we talked about a couple of different approaches to warehouse Training, the different methods and how in the end the expectations are the same.  We discuss the Employee or Peer Trainer & the Full-time position of Trainer and how our questions, our input and communication is key to our success.  We really enjoyed our guest Anthony, a full-time Trainer in all Warehouse Positions, Unloading, Lumping, Forklift, Order Selecting etc. Anthony shares his thoughts, opinions and expertise with us, I enjoyed the visit and hope you’ll find it informational and interesting as well!  Please send us any comments or thoughts about today’s show to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and post to our Twitter & Facebook feeds any topics or suggestions you may have.  Have a Safe week & ask those questions!