A loader must face daily challenges and changes to move light or heavy items in a warehouse in preparation for shipping the items. You will have a major impact on the success or failure of logistics operations regarding storage and transportation. Your work as a loader involves consistently inspecting and moving hundreds or thousands of different products. The most important part of the job is verifying and preparing the right items for delivery by a specific deadline.
The average mean annual salary for tank car, truck, and ship loaders in May 2021 was $55,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean hourly wage was $26.60. Wages range from $33,090 to $79,860 per year, which translates to hourly wages of $15.91 to $38.39.
Loaders work with pickers. A picker moves through aisles and pulls inventory items from shelves, and then places them on carts or pallets, which are wooden crate-like platforms. A loader makes sure that the right pallets are loaded on the appropriate trucks in preparation for delivery. During much of a regular workday, a loader manually wraps product bundles and arranges them safely on pallets so that they can be moved easily.
Different warehouses use their own selection of machinery for picking, packing, and loading. The most common machines for moving items are forklifts, pallet jacks, and cranes. A pallet jack is like a wagon for manual transport, while cranes are used to move items too heavy for humans to lift by hand. Operating a crane requires certification as it is a very delicate process. As a picker, you also use handheld scanners to log the items that you load and possibly a computer system to track them.
Loaders must always be eager to learn new skills in a warehouse environment where new internal and external challenges constantly appear. You must be able to work in a fast-paced environment with tight pickup and delivery deadlines. The job requires critical thinking and math skills for moving a number of items in a limited amount of time.
Logistics employers want employees who share the goal of providing accurate services for major manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Loader performance is vital to the reputation of a logistics firm. Logistics employers want loaders who pay close attention to details and safety standards. Ultimately, they want to hire dependable workers who are highly organized.
Loaders need to know how the distribution industry works and have a deep awareness of measurements. If you want to pursue logistics management, you'll need at least an associate degree in logistics and an understanding of inventory management. Since logistics is an extremely competitive field, it helps to have a college education in logistics. Logistics is an industry in which experience and the ability to deliver results often matter more than formal education.