Questions & Answers with a Few Thoughts Tossed In


Warehouse and Operations as a Career back with you again, it’s been a great week, I’m certain we’ve all been productive and made great headways with our careers this week! I’m Marty and I have to say I’m excited about a few of the episodes we’re working on and planning for the next few weeks.  I won’t spoil the surprises, but we have some great topics and guests lined up.  Keep those topics coming in, we love hearing from you and we’re receiving some great suggestions and questions each week!  Today we’d like to explore a few of them and see if we can gather up some answers for ya.  If you don’t follow WAOC on Twitter or Facebook we’d appreciate you checking out those feeds, where we can be found @whseandops and of course any missed episodes can be streamed or downloaded on our website


Ok, now that all that’s all out of the way let’s try and get caught up on a few questions we’re behind on.  Let’s start off with this one, it usually goes something like this:  I want to make more money should I quit and get a warehouse job?  Usually we hear it from someone in the restaurant or retail industry or maybe from someone in the fast food world.  My Career choice was Operations, so I’d cautiously say yes of course.  A Chef is probably going to say No Way, keep honing your skills here and the Retail Manager is going to talk with you about all the advancement opportunities available.  Oh, and your Fast Food boss will share all the Managerial positions and franchise or business opportunities you can grow into.  Remember, as managers we’re all doing what we love, our choices have been great choices for us.  We’ve probably had mentors pay attention to us, teach us and helped us grow in the chosen fields.  I saw a quote on Facebook just today from Herb Health Happiness that said The 3 C’s of Life – Choices, Chances, Changes.  You must make the choice, to take a chance, if you want anything in life to change.  Make you think doesn’t it!  My point is, and you’ve probably heard me talk to it before, we have to work the rest of our lives.  I feel one has to enjoy their work to be successful at it.  If we change jobs for a little more money but we don’t love what we do, not only will we not enjoy our days there but we will not succeed at it.  We’ll just be wasting our time.  I believe we can grow in any field or industry.  We’ll need to get started, learn our job and the task of others working around us, get noticed by our management team, accept more responsibility every time its offered, be on time for every shift offered to us and learn, many times on our own, about our Industry and we’re guaranteed success.  If we enjoy what we’re doing.  Myself, in my senior year of high school, I worked part time at a mall for a major Retail store in the backroom of their catalogue department.  There were 3 dock doors at the docks and I would occasionally be tasked with working out there as our catalogue orders would be delivered.  I found I loved the physical workout and being around the equipment.  Eventually I got to operate the forklift and I was hooked.  I worked several jobs throughout the college years but always wound up back on the docks.  So to answer the question “:  I want to make more money should I quit and get a warehouse job I’m going to say if you’re asking yourself the question you need to make a choice, do your research on it, step out there and take a chance, that will lead to your change.  There’s no law that says you can’t do that over and over again.  If you find you love warehousing I can assure you the opportunities are there, and you can be as successful and make as much money as you’d like within the industry.  The more you learn and the more responsibilities your willing to take on the more you’ll earn!

I rambled a bit, but you know by now I kind of preach Op’s every chance I get!

Here’s another one we see from time to time and we’ve talked to it a couple of times and probably should dive in a little deeper: I’ve been a warehouseman for 2 years, I think I’d like to be a Driver, I’d make more money.  Maybe not really a question, but I see a variation of that sentence at least once a month.  Transportation is a huge part of Operations and the Supply Chain.  And yes, there’s money to be made in the field and I find it to be a Great Career choice.  My first thought is if we’ve worked in the warehouse for 1, 2 or 3 years you must be enjoying the work.  If we’re working hard, showing up on time every day and doing things to get noticed by our managers we’ve probably seen at least an increase or two and may be on our way to that first promotion of some type.  Maybe changed tasks or been trained at another position or two, started climbing the ladder if you will.  If you’ve been speaking with a few drivers, another word doing your research, and we believe we’d enjoy that job the transition is pretty easy and can be a huge opportunity for us!  In earlier episodes we’ve talked about the different ways to break into the field, basically theirs two avenues to pursue.  And I guess we should look at the two different types of Driving also, Over The Road or driving for a vendor & the Delivery or Route Driver. The Driving Schools out there can be one choice and coming up from the bottom or taking a position within transportation like on the fuel island or a driver helper within our present employer is another avenue.  If one has the money for the schooling and don’t mind spending some time over the road I think that’s a great route to take.  You’ll be exposed to the Common Carrier role and it’s a great way to see the country. Most of the delivery or route driver opportunities are going to want us to have several miles under the belt before they turn us loose in the city with something like 20 stops on their tractor and trailer.  They’ve got 10’s of thousands of dollars tied up in that equipment.  And add in the cost of the freight you can understand they’d like to know we can get the product delivered safely and without incident, right?  I feel you have to be a patient person to go over the road.  I once thought I’d make a great driver, signed on with an outfit and went out as a junior driver with an instructor.  My first 3 trips as a Team driver, well really it was 1 trip, a 3.5-week trip with 3 pickups and 3 deliveries was enough to show me I wasn’t going to enjoy the life and there was no way I would succeed at it.  I ended up being stuck in Florida for 2.5 days while our broker found us another load to head home with.  Remember, as a driver your paid for hauling freight, rolling empty cost money.  When I got back home I went back to the warehouse.  I think that’s when I realized how much I loved the job and started planning my career and reaching for my goals.  The other way to give transportation a try is by working in a non-driving compacity like a driver helper.  Here we’ll be traveling with a driver and responsible for stacking down the freight, properly unloading it and if we’re in the distribution or route delivery side of things, two wheeling the product into our customers place of business, shelving the product and working with the invoicing even.  Many companies will work with us, let us practice in their truck yards, help us learn to back up and bump docks.  A lot of times they’ll help us get our learners permits, sometimes even let us use their equipment to take our driving tests and of course give us a driving job as soon as we receive our Commercial License and Endorsements.  I mean we already know all their product, customers and procedures because we’ve been helping the driver all along.  I believe Driving is a great Career, rewarding and lucrative profession.  I hope my thoughts kind of helps, if you’d like to discuss it a bit further with us shoot us an email to and we’d be happy to offer up an opinion on your particular situation.

Let’s see, what’s another one we see kind of often, PPE’s.  Here’s one, I’m not sure why we as Associates question PPE’s so much but here’s a question from 2 weeks ago: Why is a Safety Vest so important, it’s hot and it doesn’t help me when I’m unloading a trailer.  I hear something like this all the time in my travels.  Last August I was in Arizona, I was observing the 3rd shift and it was still 107 degrees at 10pm, I had been there earlier in the day and it was 121.  That’s really warm even to a Texan.  I of course was wearing a vest over my tee-shirt.  Does our light weight vest, many vests that are worn in our warehouse environments can be a mesh material even, does our light weight vest really hold in any heat anyway?  I personally wear a vest anytime I’m out on the floor, no matter if the company I’m walking requires it or not.  I don’t think any of us would deny we’re going to be seen better by any equipment operator.  I’ve never talked to a fork driver of pallet jack operator that didn’t appreciate the crew wearing a vest, it’s just easier to see people in the aisles or on the front docks.  Shoes and boots, our steel toe PPE’s comes up quite a bit too.  I know many facilities don’t require steel toes, but I strongly suggest and encourage that anyone that works around pallets and warehouse equipment wears them at all times on the floor.  I’ve seen several incidents where people injure their toes by dropping a pallet on their feet and toes.  Pallets are heavy, drop one on the bridge of your foot or on your toes and it’s going to hurt you.  Why risk getting hurt, missing work or having an accident when it’s something that can be prevented?  Just recently we had a good discussion on the Facebook Group Warehouse Equipment Operators Community about which are better Steel Toe Shoes or Boots.  Myself I prefer boots that cover my ankle when I’m working around pallets, but I do just wear a shoe style when walking a warehouse and observing.  There’s some really nice ones in both styles, even some designer style tennis shoe types are out there.  Don’t argue about any required PPE’s, your company is trying to protect you, wear them.  Many PPE’s may be required, things like respirators, fall protection devices and hard hats even.  Many times, it’s the law, our jobs require them, respect that and follow the rules.  PPE’s are there for a reason, at some point the task has been identified, maybe through a Job Hazzard Analysis, as having a danger, respect it and let’s be thankful to our employer for thinking of us or enforcing the regulatory rules.

I think we have time for one more, lets get to this one, I actually missed it or we would have started with this one or I can say we saved the best for last right .  You talk about being certified and on-sited, never get on a pallet jack until you’ve been trained, what do you mean?

Here in the states our governing body OSHA or the dept of Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set guidelines, rules and regulations and standards. Congress created OSHA to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.  I’ll add a link to the show notes but you can find them at  in your browser, a lot of interesting information there.  Anyway 29cfr1910.178 is the section regarding Powered Industrial Trucks.  I’ll add the link here as well, its actually a very interesting read and I’d use the word educational too, check it out, you’ll enjoy several parts or sections of it.

In a nut shell it states to never get on, touch, move or operate a piece of powered industrial equipment that you haven’t been trained on. If your employer has not certified you to operate your equipment on their docks mention it to them, I assure you they’ll appreciate it or should.  The classes are inexpensive, and any fines incurred are can be very expensive.  The class it self is informative about 3 or 4 hours long and consist of a bunch of videos, instructional information and a test at the end.  There’s an on-site required which is usually a small obstacle course like area where we can demonstrate to our instructor that we can operate the equipment.

Let me take one more minute and get to this one, this question came in about a month ago, I of course replied but I just saw it here and thought I’d share with the group:  Do you have any forklift jobs, is this a company?  Well no WAOC is not a company and we don’t have any jobs to offer.  We’re just a group of old Operations people sharing our experiences, thoughts and opinions about an Industry that we feel provides opportunities with long lasting careers.  We have a couple of mics and a recorder that we carry with us sometimes on the road or too events and job fairs but most of the time the show is recorded out of a room in the house and sometimes in a closet when its raining to hard and the mic picks up the sounds.  So please don’t be to harsh with us on the audio, we’re learning ourselves, some of that self-education I’m always talking about! WAOC isn’t monetized at all, meaning theirs no money, no one receives pay or compensation for visiting with us, we truly just like talking about Operations and sharing our experiences and yep the occasional opinions! Do be sure to check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds though, sometimes staffing companies post positions there and we try and retweet as many job postings as we can there.

Well, I hope we hit on a question today that brings you some value. We appreciate you checking in with us this week.  Until next week, Be Productive and please work smart which means Safe!

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