Materials handlers work in shipping, receiving, stocking and delivery of parts, supplies and products in an organization. The materials department in an organization ensures the flow of materials through the supply chain. Manufacturing companies, warehouses, retail stores and wholesalers all use materials handlers to move merchandise and materials through the company from shipments into the company to the production floor and shipments on its way to customers.
The function of the materials handlers is to process parts through the organization. Workers in this area handle a variety of materials and products. Parts and materials may be expensive or hazardous in some cases.
Materials handlers load and unload materials in warehouses and storage facilities. Materials may be moved from trucks, trains and other transport equipment. They also receive materials into an organization and verify materials against invoices to ensure the accuracy of the delivery. Materials handlers count or weigh parts to check quantity accuracy. Workers contact the vendor when shipment is inaccurate to rectify the discrepancy.
Handlers pick parts for shipment and package according to shipping procedures. They fill out the appropriate paperwork to ship the product. Materials handlers perform transactions in the inventory system to enter new quantities and, during shipping transactions, to remove inventory from stock.
Workers may use material moving equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts and dollies to bring products and materials to an appropriate location. Stockroom workers issue materials to departments in the organization upon request. This involves transacting inventory quantities to the department and delivering the parts to the work area. The worker monitors the stockroom inventory and reports discrepancies in quantities to supervisors.
Materials handlers must be able to work in a physically demanding role. The work involves long hours standing and bending. Heavy lifting is also required in some materials handlers positions. Basic math and computer skills are necessary for the position of materials handlers. Knowledge of the inventory database used in an organization is helpful, but workers may learn on the job.
Employers require a high school education for an entry-level materials handler position. Workers can advance to a supervisory role with an advanced education. Employers may certify materials handlers on the safe use of forklifts and other material moving equipment.
Job site Indeed.com lists the median salary for a material handler at $22,000 as of May 2014. That average is 62 percent lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide, according to Indeed.