The duties of a material handler are centered on manual and clerical work related to shopping, receiving, inspecting, storing, issuing, and delivering a variety of materials, equipment and supplies. The material handler assists in the distribution as well as in the processing of parts within an organization.
The major duty of a material handler is handling and managing all stock items, receiving deliveries into the warehouse, filling orders given to him by the different departments, and handling highly confidential information or items such as money. It is the material handler’s responsibility to ensure the stable flow of materials in the supply chain.
Duties and Responsibilities
Material handlers are frequently employed by manufacturing companies, warehouses, retail stores, and wholesalers to move merchandise and materials from shipment to production floor. They load and unload materials in warehouses and storage facilities. Some materials are moved by transport equipment like trucks and trains. Material handlers are the ones who load and unload these shipments. When materials are delivered, it is the handler’s task to ensure accuracy of the delivery through comparing the invoice and the actual items.
Material handlers also prepare the materials for shipping. They weigh, pack, and stamp them and choose the shipment method as according to shipping procedures, routes, and rates. Material handlers participate in routing, counting, and inspecting items while loading and unloading trucks. They also prepare necessary shipping forms such as bills of lading.
Other duties may include providing on the job training to lower level employees and resolving problems regarding shipping, receiving, and stock operations. Material handlers also transport high technology, high dollar cost equipment, laboratory supplies, office supplies, furniture, and hazardous materials to customers.
Education and Skills
This position does not require an elaborate educational background. It is often considered an entry-level position. Most employers only require a high school diploma.
Candidates for this position should have concrete knowledge of automated or computerized system operation. He should also be familiar with safety practices and record keeping. He should have the physical ability to lift heavy packages and objects. He should be able to operate a forklift and other materials handling equipment or any large vehicles in tight and congested areas. Basic knowledge of math and computers is certainly an advantage. He must have knowledge on basic computer programs since the job requires creating reports and record keeping. Communication skills are also a must.
The position of material handler requires candidates who have high integrity, honesty, and capable of handling situations discreetly and calmly. He should have a keen eye for details and must be able to accomplish work on a set deadline. He should be able to work in a physically demanding environment.
Work Conditions and Salary
Material handlers are generally stationed at the company’s warehouse. Their salary / compensation depends on the company, size of production, location, and amount of duty. Hence, the average salary for a material handler is $26,975 per year. Work experience can also affect a material handler’s salary rate.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/