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Warehouse Operative – Much more than Driving a Forklift

Some ill-informed people might think that there is nothing much to working in a warehouse or storage depot. It’s brawn over brains, isn’t it? Well they would be wrong – it’s not just lugging boxes and sticking labels on things. A warehouse operative is both a self-starter and a team player and is a key part of the logistics chain. Employed to act on information and move goods to customers, they are seen as invaluable.

Such roles are found in a variety of environments and activities include taking deliveries, checking for missing or damaged items, storing goods, picking and packing orders, moving stock by various methods, loading goods for dispatch, staking and taking inventory, maintaining stock records and documentation, and cleaning.

A warehouse operative takes and a warehouse operative gives.

Therefore roles within this industry require a good deal of organisational ability, not to mention skill, to coordinate the demand and supply of goods and ultimately meet customer needs. And as we know, a customer is the most important person in the company, because they are the people upon whom the company depends. No customer, no business. If you can’t get it out of the door – the customer will go elsewhere.

The office people may shuffle papers, but warehouse operatives move the very core of what each business is about and that’s literally the stock in trade. They are also key players in stock control because they are on the warehouse floor and can identify when products are running low or are damaged.


A warehouse and storage operative’s key competencies are organisation; time management; and self-motivation. Organised, because it’s about juggling several tasks; time management, rather than a ‘clock watcher’, because the role is busy and three hours checking one box in won’t cut it; motivated, because it’s a team role and therefore reliability is fundamental.

Warehouse operatives also communicate with a wide range of people and customers and it’s incumbent on them to meet expectations and provide a quality service that encourages future business.

Core Skills

In addition to these behaviours, core skills and knowledge that will be needed are, but not limited to, safe and efficient use of equipment and machinery; use of warehouse systems and processes relating to packaging, moving and receiving stock; safe driving and/or operating techniques for everything from powered pallet trucks to narrow aisle pickers, from mechanical racking systems to forklift trucks. IT skills are also ever more essential and it’s important to keep up to date with relevant technology as well as regulations. Other desk work includes ordering and managing stock as well as organising lead time and delivery.

People in this role are highly competent in using industry-recognised systems and associated services and will be able to work under pressure to tight deadlines. A warehouse operative will also often be required to be flexible and often work shifts across nights, evenings and weekends.


It’s necessarily an all-encompassing course, because this is a key role in any organisation that sells products. All the tasks involved can greatly affect productivity and quality. Handling is a very important part of logistics, and losses in handling directly increase logistics costs.

The benefits of this course are multiple – a nationally recognised Level 2 qualification; evidence of competency to prospective employers; understanding the issues around storage and the purpose of stock check – all of which improve personal and professional development. With it being a distance learning course anyone can learn at a time that suits them.

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