Q & A – Careers – Pallet Jacks & Forklifts – Counterbalance & Reach Lift – Order Selection


Hello everyone, Marty with you here at Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  Today I’d like to get caught up on a few questions we’ve received over the last couple of weeks, I love all the interest in our episodes and the thoughts generated here the last couple of months.  I know I’m learning a lot from each of you and like the opportunity to look at things from several different perspectives.  Before we get started today I’d like to welcome a few new listeners into our group, last week we had Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Utah round out our top 5 here in the states and I’d like to thank our new listeners in Germany, Philippines, the United Kingdom and Israel for joining in on the episode and all ya’ll check our feeds on Facebook and Twitter, like our page if you have a moment and follow us on twitter, you can find us at @whseandops.


So, our first question today let’s start with a hard one at least for me. “Why do you feel it’s important I get noticed and want to be a manager”?

Every job in the warehouse and transportation or operations world is an important one.  I feel each of us, as we’ll probably be needing to work the rest of our lives, should love what we’re doing, really enjoy getting up before our shifts each day and look forward to going in and accomplishing our goals and duties.  If our motivation is and our pride comes from keeping the most organized and clean warehouse there is for our inbound and outbound associates, make sure any and all our industry’s regulatory and standards are met and we learn to be the best at Sanitation then I feel that’s the most important position in the building for us.  As I’ve mentioned before some of my closest friends are order selectors and fork lift drivers, been doing it for all their working lives and love what they do.  If you like what you do, live for doing it then you have a Great Career and that’s what us here at WAOC are all about.  Any position can be your career!  I personally think it’s great if you’ve found the perfect position and job that gives you that passion to work towards.  We here at WAOC enjoy talking about every job in our Industry and just kind of discuss to the topics and thoughts we run into or are asked about!  I hope that answers the question and I hope none of us feels we have to take on or do anything Career wise that we don’t enjoy or love to do.

Question 2 – I’ve been driving a counterbalance forklift for over 15 years and my company is redoing the warehouse, changing the aisles up and I’m being told we’ll be using something called a narrow aisle standup reach lift.  Are they hard to learn or that much different than what I’ve done all my life?

Their different, they drive differently and placing product feel’s differently but there’s no reason to stress about it.  I feel 90% of being a forklift operator is Safety practices, you’ve been doing it for 15 years, you know the walkway areas, what and where all the employees will be working and I assume you’ve had no serious accidents or incidences as you’re an operator today.  I had the exact same experience 1992, we went from sit-downs to reach forks.  One thing, I think the biggest thing is Shoes, get a comfortable and supportive pair of steel toe boots or shoes, you’ll be standing on your fork platform, probably on some sort of deadman break and I found standing all day a lot different than sitting most of the day in my equipment department.  When placing a pallet you should learn to use the outriggers, or the toes on your lift.  That’s the two arms that extend from either side of your lift with the load wheels.  In a standard bay you can set them up with the bay or slot on the ground, it’ll give you a good indication of where your forks are when raised.  Also I found the feeling of the load will feel differently, we get use to looking up from our seat and that feeling feels different when we’re standing and looking up.  The reach part is just an additional function like the side to side adjustment we’re used to, it extends the pallet away from the body of our lift out through the outriggers, it’ll feel different lift wise when your stabbing a pallet up on like the 5th or 6th level but it’s not bad.  Oh, and turning into an aisle will take a couple of hours to get use too, just watch the outriggers closely.  And you want to understand the steering, play with it a while, if its reverse steered just go slow for a while, our brain rewires pretty quickly.  It’s change, but you’ll be fine and honestly I enjoyed working with the standup, and the warehouse reconfiguration sounds like it’ll make your job easier too.

Question three, and this one has come up quite a bit recently.  “What if I take a step into management and decide I don’t like it?”

It’s just a job, I look at it as a New Job, and it really is.  We’ll have a lot to learn, and we’ll be trained by someone or maybe it’ll be a bit of a learn as we go situation. In any event we’ll acquire more knowledge about something, and that’s always a good thing.  As with any situation I’d suggest we understand our selves why we don’t like something or why it’s just not working for us.  It could be something that stronger communication either from us or from our Manager could resolve.  It’s so easy to get frustrated and over whelmed in a new position, shoot even just a new task.  A lot of times, and I do this almost weekly at some point for one reason or another, a short break from the scene, a stroll outside or even just walk another department can ease that  frustration, at least kind of reboot us to where we understand it a little better.  Once we identify what’s holding us back or why we don’t like something we can go speak with our boss about it.  Should we not be able to get things resolved and know that our new position is just not for us we can move forward.  We can always go back to what we were doing, maybe even within the same organization, and if not we’re good at what we do and can always go do it someplace else!  Like we’ve discussed in past episodes, communication on the front side, asking questions and educating ourselves properly can help us make these types of decisions too.

Another question, Do you prefer Crown or Raymond Equipment.  Honestly as a warehouseman I don’t have a preference, they both build outstanding products, their electric forklifts and pallet jacks, even all the more specialized equipment are built well, engineered for the Operator and built with our Safety in mind.  I think I prefer whichever I’m working with at the time, I’m kind of loyal that way.  I find myself using the same laundry detergent and dishwashing soap that was used in my home growing up, unless another national brand is on sale and then it can easily become my choice.

I figured who better to explain to us which is better than those responsible for their maintenance and working on them for us right?  I’ve asked two different mechanics for their opinions and I got just that, their opinion.  One liked Raymonds and the Other Liked Crowns, both I think had a preference because of how their companies stocked parts in house.  Both gentlemen held the 2 manufactures in the highest regards and pretty much felt operationally we should be comfortable with whichever we’re on as their both to of the line!

In answering the question I’d say that we do our part by properly recording our pre- and post-trip equipment reports, and help our maintenance depts keep our assigned equipment in great working order oh and never running over wood or pallet pieces or shrink wrap and we’ll be on the best equipment!  I’ll reach out to Raymond and Crown too, maybe we can do an episode on each soon!

And here’s a good one, I get in trouble for not wearing my Steel toes or Vest, can’t it be a personal preference?  I’ve got to go with a flat NO there.  It’s always a good idea to follow any direction given and where Safety is involved it’s going to be for our own good.  If you’re around pallets or any type of equipment at some point in your career you’ll be thankful you have on a good pair of work boots or a pair of steel toe shoes and a Safety Vest is always a good idea, that’s probably why so many companies are requiring their use now.  And it could be for insurance purposes or state or federal regulations as well.  I hope we all understand how important our PPE’s are from boots, vest, eyewear, respirators or even hard hats, wear them, it’s to protect ourselves, our co-workers and our companies!

I think we have time for one more maybe, let me see, oh here’s a good one about order selecting. I’ve been order selecting for about 3 months now and I’m doing ok but I need to go faster, how do those guys pull 80 more cases an hour than I am.  I’m killing myself out there?

Very good question, an order selector has to of course work hard but they could be capitalizing on experience a bit here.  As order selectors we have to remember we’re racing the clock, it’s all about minutes and cases. 60 cases an hour is one case a minute, 120 cases an hour is 2 cases a minute or a case selected every 30 seconds, 180 cases an hour is 3 cases pulled a minute.  We can’t control our travel time between slots or the orders we’re pulling so we have to, in many instances, work smarter not harder! When we’re stacking our pallets properly we’re saving seconds and minutes. If we have to rehandle a case once its placed on our pallet it’ll cost us time, now sometimes that can’t be avoided due to weight or crushability but it will cost us time so we have to learn and remember those cases so we think ahead next time and plan for them.  If we stack poorly and have to stop to pick up a fallen case we’ve lost that time against our productivity.  Knowing our Aisles, how to skip them, or not have to drive down one if we don’t have a pick there saves a tremendous amount of time.  Not socializing during our batch can save us some time and avoiding a bottleneck or blocked aisle will shave time off our clock as well.  Making sure we know where to drop our completed off or stage it and taking the shortest path possible is a time saver as well.  All those points involve planning, not working harder at all.  Many of the top selectors I know look like they’re just coasting when I’m observing them, they’re simply focused on what they’re doing, planning and carrying out that plan!  Remember over working or trying to go fast is unsafe and really not needed.  I know 3 months seems like a long time to you but those numbers will come with experience. Watch the veterans and learn from them, they’re not necessarily working harder, they just have the experience and are working smart!  You’ll get there just stick with it!

I hope I got a few of your questions answered and you enjoyed todays episode.  Send me some more thoughts, we love getting mail at host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com.  Send us in a topic or question in the next two weeks and we’ll have another giveaway, this time for a WAOC Tee-Shirt this time, just put Shirt in the subject field and we’ll have a drawing for the winner!  Until next week, check our Twitter and Facebook feeds @whseandops for job postings & thoughts!  Wear those PPE’s, Think Safe & Be Safe at work and at home with the Family!

2 thoughts on “Q & A – Careers – Pallet Jacks & Forklifts – Counterbalance & Reach Lift – Order Selection”

  1. Blessed day to your office.
    Am Jerry B. Salonga my work here in Tamer Logistics at Jeddah Saudi Arabia is Reach Truck Operator our company is under by Nestle Product our goal is to destriviot the goods to the all city here in Saudi i have also knowledge to SAP and Oracle System how to pick order and put away the items…thanks God bless us

    1. Hi Jerry, sounds like your an Experienced Operations Man! I loved the Reach Lift! We hope you enjoyed the Episode and greatly Appreciate you as a Listener Sir. Have a Blessed Career!!

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