Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.

Duties

Material recording clerks typically do the following:

  • Keep records of items shipped, received, or transferred to another location
  • Compile reports on various aspects of changes in production or inventory
  • Find, sort, or move goods between different parts of the business
  • Check inventory records for accuracy

Material recording clerks use computers, tablets, or hand-held devices to keep track of inventory. Sensors and tags enable these computers to automatically detect when and where products are moved, allowing clerks to keep updated reports without manually counting items.

The following are examples of types of material recording clerks:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks manage the flow of information, work, and materials within or among offices in a business. They compile reports on the progress of work and on any production problems that arise. These clerks set workers’ schedules, estimate costs, keep track of materials, and write special orders for new materials. They perform general office tasks, such as entering data or distributing mail. Expediting clerks maintain contact with vendors to ensure that supplies and equipment are shipped on time.

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks keep track of and record outgoing and incoming shipments. Clerks may scan barcodes with handheld devices or use radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners to keep track of inventory. They check to see whether shipment orders were correctly processed in their company’s computer system. They also compute freight costs and prepare invoices. Some clerks move goods from the warehouse to the loading dock.

Stock clerks and order fillers receive, unpack, and track merchandise. Stock clerks move products from a warehouse to store shelves. They keep a record of items that enter or leave the stockroom and inspect for damaged goods. These clerks also use handheld RFID scanners to keep track of merchandise. Order fillers retrieve customer orders and prepare them to be shipped.

Material and product inspecting clerks weigh, measure, check, sample, and keep records on materials, supplies, and equipment that enters a warehouse. They verify the quantity and quality of items they are assigned to examine, checking for defects and recording what they find. They use scales, counting devices, and calculators. Some decide what to do about a defective product, such as to scrap it or send it back to the factory to be repaired. Some clerks also prepare reports, such as reports about warehouse inventory levels.

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Work Environment

Material recording clerks held about 3.1 million jobs in 2018. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up material recording clerks was distributed as follows:

Stock clerks and order fillers 2,056,600
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 662,600
Production, planning, and expediting clerks 358,700
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping                               66,300

The largest employers of material recording clerks were as follows:

Food and beverage stores                                           18%
Manufacturing 13
Wholesale trade 13

Stock clerks and order fillers usually work in retail settings and sometimes help customers. Production, planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; and material and product inspecting clerks usually work in an office inside a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

Although shipping clerks and material inspecting clerks prepare reports in an office, they also spend time in the warehouse, where they sometimes handle packages or automatic equipment such as conveyor systems.

Injuries and Illnesses

Some material recording clerks may need to lift heavy items and bend frequently, which can lead to injury. Using proper lifting techniques can help to reduce the risk of harm.

Work Schedules

Production, planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; and material and product inspecting clerks usually work full time. Some clerks work nights and weekends or holidays when large shipments arrive.

Stock clerks and order fillers, the largest occupation within this profile, usually work part time. Evening and weekend work is common because they work when retail stores are open. They sometimes work overnight shifts when large shipments arrive or when it is time to take inventory.

Education and Training

Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and are trained on the job.

Education

Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Production, planning, and expediting clerks need to have basic knowledge of computer applications such as spreadsheet software.

Training

Material recording clerks usually learn to do their work on the job. Training for most material recording clerks may last less than a month. Production, planning, and expediting clerks’ training can take several months.

Typically, a supervisor or more experienced worker trains new clerks.

Material recording clerks first learn to count stock and mark inventory, and then move onto more difficult tasks, such as recordkeeping. Production clerks need to learn how their company operates before they can write production and work schedules.

Advancement

With additional training or education, material recording clerks may advance to other positions within their firm, such as purchasing agent. Clerks in retail establishments can move into the sales department.

Personality and Interests

Material recording clerks typically have an interest in the Building, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a material recording clerk, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Material recording clerks should also possess the following specific qualities:

Clerical skills. Typing, filing, and recordkeeping are common tasks for most material recording clerks.

Communication skills. Production, planning, and expediting clerks are frequently in contact with suppliers, vendors, and production managers and need to be able to communicate the firm’s scheduling needs effectively..

Customer-service skills. Stock clerks sometimes interact with customers in retail stores and may have to get the item the customer is looking for from the storeroom.

Detail oriented. Material inspectors check items for defects, some of which are small and difficult to spot.

Math skills. Some types of material recording clerks are required to have basic math skills. For example, they might use math to calculate shipping costs or take measurements.  

Pay

The median annual wage for material recording clerks was $30,010 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,840.

Median annual wages for material recording clerks in May 2019 were as follows:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks $48,260
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping                              35,040
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 34,190
Stock clerks and order fillers 27,380

In May 2019, the median annual wages for material recording clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $37,840
Wholesale trade 33,200
Food and beverage stores                                  25,730

Production, planning, and expediting clerks; shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks; and material and product inspecting clerks usually work full time. Some clerks work nights and weekends or holidays when large shipments arrive.

Stock clerks and order fillers, the largest occupation within this profile, usually work part time. Evening and weekend work is common because they work when retail stores are open. They sometimes work overnight shifts when large shipments arrive or when it is time to take inventory.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of material recording clerks is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028. Employment growth will vary by occupation (see table below).

Although increased use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags should allow stock clerks to more quickly locate an item or count inventory in some retail stores, stocking shelves and filling orders will still require these workers.

In warehouses, both RFID tags and increased use of other technology, such as hand-held devices that read barcodes automatically, allow fewer clerks to do the same amount of work. In addition, use of barcodes, electronic and optical readers, and RFID tags is expected to increase accuracy in shipping, thereby reducing the number of times a product needs to be weighed, checked, or measured.

As retail continues to move from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online commerce, retailers will seek to automate warehouse operations, including using what are known as “collaborative robots.” These new robots can help workers perform tasks and increase efficiency. However, this increased efficiency may reduce the demand for some material recording clerks.

Production, planning, and expediting clerks plan and schedule production and shipment processes, functions that remain difficult to substitute with technology.

For More Information

For more information about material recording clerks, visit

MHI

Warehousing Education and Research Council

CareerOneStop

For a career video on stock clerks, sales floor, visit

Stock clerk, sales floor

 

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The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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