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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!