“We run the control of all the inward goods and outward goods and their storage on the shelves. We look after goods locally, shipped stuff, stuff overseas, the packing of goods and the documentation.” Says Geoff Smith, Warehouse Storeperson for Parker Hannifin. “We mainly deal with hydraulics, hoses, pumps, valves and cylinders. All the stuff is manufactured on site here, so we’re just making sure it’s packaged properly, making sure it can get to the customer in one piece, loading the trucks, organising which freight company the goods go with.”
And it’s a job he needs to be organised and on top of at all times – as they move between $60,000 – 100,000 worth of stock a day!
Geoff laughs about the fact that most of his family has been involved in working in storage. “Between my father, my brother and I we, all worked in storage. Either in the army, or outside of it.” But that didn’t influence Geoff’s career choice. He just ended up there. “Subconsciously, I think we [were influenced, but] I didn’t go out of my way to do the job my Father did! Maybe it’s just built into us!”
He ended up in the industry in a bit of a roundabout way, he shares. “I started in the company a few years ago in the manufacturing plant, I realised I didn’t like that work, so I became a storeman and worked my way up.”
“Back when I was originally a storeman, everyone was doing a Cert III in Warehousing, as the company likes to train up their staff. I also did a Cert IV in Business Management. The actual course I did related to people skills, problem solving, time management and that kind of thing.”
“I just did a lot of production jobs over my life. I wanted a thinking role [when I worked] in the Stores – just to use your brain a little bit more. Every day is a different challenge. I thought I wanted to head there.”
Geoff’s typical workday would begin with him looking over the orders which are printed overnight, then they have set things they need to do. For example, the hose plant will create a certain amount of products that needs to be packed and shipped. “Whatever gets made on site, we organise all those things. We also answer enquires from customers.”
He also likes to savour his early afternoons! “We try to keep our work hours from 8am to 4.30pm, and we may need to do a little bit of work on the weekend. When I worked at the stores 3 years ago, we finished at 6 - I said we’d like to get everyone out a little earlier. So we have the freight companies pick up the products a little earlier.”
The courses in Warehousing at training institutions like TAFE cover a wide range of skills needed for the job. It could cover planning and prioritising transport routes and delivery options, applying quality processes and procedures, using IT and computer hardware and applications, preparing and processing financial and administrative documents, the environment, pallet operations, and working in a socially diverse environment.
With this wide variety of skills behind him, Geoff plans to just keep building on them. “I think I will hopefully back to TAFE to get a Diploma in Business Management. From there, I’m not sure, I’m comfortable where I am, and I’d like to stick around for a few years. Especially in this area where we’re in a logistics hub between Melbourne and Sydney.”
The Best Part?
We need to interact with every cell – which is, manufacturing area. I need to liaise with them all day to know what’s coming out, where it’s being shipped. It’s liaising with every [person] in the organisation.
What personal qualities are needed for the job?
People skills would need to be the main thing, be a team player and have a pretty good memory. Also, have some numeracy skills.
Advice for people entering the industry?
I suppose just get as much training as you can. The training that you do will come back to help you to help you step up later on.
[Statistics sourced from: Tafe NSW - http://www.tafensw.edu.au/howex/servlet/Course?Command=GetCourse&CourseNo=9341
The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council - http://www.tlisc.com.au/index.php?menuID=266]