Shipping and Receiving Clerk  What They Do

Just the Facts

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks Career Video

Insider Info

dotShipping and receiving clerks prepare shipping documents and mailing labels and ensure that orders are filled correctly. Some may be required to obtain merchandise from the stockrooms and note when orders were filled, keep track of inventory and wrap or package the items.

They must be familiar with postal rates and must be able to record the weight and cost of each shipment. Some provide other departments with invoices. Shipping clerks may be required to move the shipment to the loading dock (possibly using a forklift) and ensure that it is loaded properly.

They also verify incoming shipments against the original order and the bill to ensure that the order has been filled correctly. They make a record of the shipment and the condition of its contents. They may be required to enter the information into computers, or use hand-held scanners that read bar codes. The data is then transferred to various departments.

They also check the shipment for any problems in pricing, quality or quantity. They may move shipments to various departments or stockrooms. Often, they arrange for adjustments with shippers when merchandise is damaged or lost. In larger operations, shippers and receivers may be responsible for scheduling trucks, recording shipments and handling damaged goods.

The work that shippers and receivers do varies somewhat, depending on the nature of the establishment and the level of automation that is used. The larger the company, the more likely that clerks will use computers to keep track of the records. Also in larger companies, there may be two separate departments or job classifications to cover shipping and receiving. In smaller establishments, one person or one department may do both.

dotJoe Chand, a shipper, says that in many establishments, shippers and receivers must be familiar with regulations regarding the handling of dangerous goods, customs and duty regulations for international shipments, the handling of perishable goods and fragile materials, and workers' health and safety regulations.

dotShipper and receiver positions are most commonly found in urban centers where factories and wholesale establishments are located.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Keep records of what comes in and goes out

  • Work varies somewhat, depending on the establishment and the level of automation
  • Applicants with computer skills are in higher demand
  • Strength, stamina and good eyesight are important traits