What Does a Shipping and Receiving Clerk Do? (With How-To)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 19, 2023

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to work in a warehouse position, you may want to know the answer to, "What does a shipping and receiving clerk do?" These positions require strong organizational skills and detailed knowledge of the shipment process. Learning about shipping and receiving clerk duties can help you can determine whether this is the right profession to help you achieve your goals. In this article, we discuss the duties of shipping and receiving clerks, explain how to become a shipping and receiving clerk, and explore alternative career opportunities.

What does a shipping and receiving clerk do?

If you're wondering, "What does a shipping and receiving clerk do?" these professionals complete tasks in warehouses to help ensure that their operations function properly. They help with the sending of packages and the acceptance and recording of movement within warehouses and inventory shipments. When necessary, shipping and receiving clerks also help enter inventory data into company systems. Successful clerks may obtain promotions to become warehouse managers, retail managers, supervisors, and buyers. The national average salary for shipping and receiving clerks is $17.92 per hour. Here's a list of additional responsibilities for shipping and receiving clerks:

Inspection

Shipping and receiving clerks insect packages to help ensure their safety and check whether the packaging is appropriate. They may also review those packages to identify whether they have damages or issues. During inspections, shipping and receiving clerks count the number of products within packages to determine the suitable package size.

Reports

When shipping and receiving clerks observe damages or issues with their packages, they may complete reports about those damages. The exact reporting measures depend on the hiring company, but they typically require information about how the clerk first observed the damaged products. They may also write reports about their shifts and various activities within warehouses.

Returns

When professionals identify damaged products, they can arrange the return of those products to the senders and request replacements. They may also request replacements and provide returns when receivers don't accept their packages. This requires knowledge of the company's inventory system, and they repeatedly update that system when they return products.

How to become a shipping and receiving clerk

Here's a guide for those who want to become a shipping and receiving clerk:

1. Obtain an education

Shipping and receiving clerks typically require a high school education or GED. Some professionals also complete additional courses or education for heavy machinery or to obtain career advancement opportunities. For example, those who complete a bachelor's degree in management or business administration may work in management positions or in higher-level roles.

2. Gain experience

Shipping and receiving clerks may not require extensive experience to work in these positions. If you want to obtain experience in this career, you can work or volunteer in positions that require manipulation of heavy machinery or heavy lifting. This is because shipping and receiving clerks often lift machinery or shipments that weigh up to 50 lbs.

3. Develop skills

Here's a list of important skills for those who want to become shipping and receiving clerks:

Mathematics skills

Shipping and receiving clerks can also benefit from having strong mathematics skills because they typically count products throughout their shifts while tracking the number of damaged ones. Shipping and inventory clerks also use mathematics skills when they enter data and inventory information into spreadsheets and use programs to perform calculations. This typically requires them to monitor both the number of products and their relative value.

Physical strength and endurance

Shipping and receiving clerks use physical strength and endurance when they lift heavy objects. They also spend a significant amount of time standing and walking, which both require endurance. These professionals can benefit from these skills by providing clients and customers with consistency in quality despite working while standing for extensive hours.

Organizational skills

Shipping and receiving clerks also benefit from having strong organizational skills because they organize various shipping containers and packages. They typically know where to place all packages, along with how to organize them within inventory spaces and warehouses. Shipping and receiving clerks also use their organizational skills when they organize data into spreadsheets and analyze warehouse information.

Related: How to Answer Interview Questions About Organizational Skills

4. Apply for jobs

When you complete your education and gain skills to work in this profession, you can start applying for jobs and developing application materials. You may first decide between writing a functional or chronological resume. Functional resumes benefit those with a lack of experience, along with recent graduates. This is because you can list skills more extensively to show your ability to complete tasks in exchange for shortening the educational and career sections.

Chronological resumes shorten the skills section instead to provide you with more space for the career and experience sections. This resume style is useful for more experienced candidates because it allows them to detail their accomplishments and responsibilities in previous roles. When applying for jobs, it's also beneficial to research the job position and posting. This can provide you with information to include in the application materials because the posting typically details various skills that the hiring manager prioritizes in candidates. You can include them in your resume and cover letter to increase your chances of being hired.

Related: What Is a Warehouse Clerk Resume? (With Tips and Example)

Similar jobs in shipping and receiving

Here's a list of careers available for those in shipping and receiving:

1. Logistics manager

National average salary: $67,819 per year

Primary duties: Logistics managers specialize in the supervision and scheduling of companies. They also conduct performance management and deliver metrics like defects and deliveries. These professionals review budgets and process shipments for their clients. They also help with the development of delivery routes. Logistics managers also navigate the supply chain within organizations by overseeing the storage and transportation of both inventory and goods.

2. Expediting clerk

National average salary: $39,776 per year

Primary duties: Expediting clerks manage a company's information, along with the workflow and materials used. These professionals oversee the schedules of team members and estimate the necessary costs, along with potential issues. Expediting clerks collect information about the production rates of the company, along with the progress made. They focus on the management of materials and inventory, along with the arrangement of delivery and assembly. These professionals help with the maintenance of assembly lines.

3. Operations manager

National average salary: $69,129 per year

Primary duties: Operations managers develop strategies and improve the performance of companies. These professionals obtain materials and resources while securing compliance. They also mentor teams and provide them with leadership. Operations managers oversee activities within organizations, along with businesses and government agencies and nonprofit groups. These professionals manage quality assurance programs and strategize improvements. They help with the increase of efficiency within organizations and their processes, along with the management of staffing requirements.

Related: 8 Common Operations Management Interview Questions

4. Supply chain manager

National average salary: $60,780 per year

Primary duties: Supply chain managers develop a company's supply chain strategy and analyze both data and performance. These professionals also maintain inventories for their employers and provide both supervision and training for team members and employees. They also evaluate and report on the company's key performance indicators (KPIs). Professionals help maintain records of their inventories and supplies. Supply chain managers also collaborate with various departments to develop plans for increased growth. They help provide solutions for issues with the company's supply chain. These professionals ensure that the company meets legal guidelines and requirements.

Related: 9 Supply Chain Management Degree Jobs (With Salaries)

5. Logistics analyst

National average salary: $24.10 per hour

Primary duties: Logistics analysts review processes and operations within the supply chain. These professionals recommend adjustments that help improve efficiency. They also oversee the invoicing, along with electronic bills and shipment tracking. Logistics analysts develop plans for warehouses and distribution centres regarding their operations and capacity. These professionals oversee the organization of transportation activities, like the storage of goods, information management, and service arrangement. Logistics analysts review freight rates and coordinate the movement of goods. They often work with truck drivers and warehouse managers.

Related: What is Warehouse Logistics, and Why Should You Use It?

6. Logistician

National average salary: $24.10 per hour

Primary duties: Logisticians manage the purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing. These professionals also plan and manage the logistics of warehouses. They manage the life cycle of products from the beginning of their production to their disposal. Logisticians also direct the allocation of materials, along with supplies and products. These professionals review logistical functions and propose business strategies that reduce the costs required for the transportation of goods. Logisticians manage software and their functions, like procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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