Shipping, Receiving, and Inventory Clerks

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Also known as:
Freight Clerk, Incoming Freight Clerk, Receiving Clerk, Reconsignment Clerk, Route Delivery Clerk, Shipping and Receiving Clerk, Shipping Order Clerk, Store Receiving Clerk

ABOUT SHIPPING, RECEIVING, AND INVENTORY CLERK CAREERS
Video transcript

Without shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks, many businesses would grind to a halt. That's because these specialists make sure that products get packed, shipped, and delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. Shipping clerks ensure that orders are filled correctly. They keep accurate records of all outgoing shipments, and may be responsible for determining the best method of transportation to use.

Receiving clerks have similar duties regarding deliveries of merchandise or raw materials that a company or store has ordered. They make sure the shipment is correct and in good condition.

When a company is too small to have separate shipping and receiving departments, a traffic clerk typically handles both incoming and outgoing shipments. In all such jobs, the ability to keep clear, accurate records is crucial. So too, is some familiarity with computers, since computer programs are often used to keep data organized and accessible.

A good thing to remember about taking a job as a shipping, receiving, or traffic clerk is that it provides you with an excellent way to become familiar with a company's products and services, so you can position yourself for future advancement.

SNAPSHOT
Verify and maintain records on incoming and outgoing shipments involving inventory. Duties include verifying and recording incoming merchandise or material and arranging for the transportation of products. May prepare items for shipment.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Confer or correspond with establishment representatives to rectify problems, such as damages, shortages, or nonconformance to specifications.

Contact carrier representatives to make arrangements or to issue instructions for shipping and delivery of materials.

Requisition and store shipping materials and supplies to maintain inventory of stock.

Record shipment data, such as weight, charges, space availability, damages, or discrepancies, for reporting, accounting, or recordkeeping purposes.

Determine shipping methods, routes, or rates for materials to be shipped.

Prepare documents, such as work orders, bills of lading, or shipping orders, to route materials.

Examine shipment contents and compare with records, such as manifests, invoices, or orders, to verify accuracy.

Pack, seal, label, or affix postage to prepare materials for shipping, using hand tools, power tools, or postage meter.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.