Manufacturers all over the country produce millions of products a year. Somehow these products must progress from raw materials to the finished product itself, and then into the hands of consumers. Depending on the product, this process has variables that are vulnerable to delay or malfunction. Production, planning, and expediting clerks work with manufacturing companies and suppliers to ensure that materials and products are efficiently produced and shipped according to schedule.
In a typical work day, production, planning, and expediting clerks organize and create records/reports on the production process, which may include reading machines and instruments, examining products for defects, and noting the materials used and dates of production. Clerks who focus more on the expediting task regularly contact vendors and shippers to follow up on shipping dates and cargo type.
If you are considering a production, planning, and expediting clerk job, here’s what you need to know:
- You should have a high school education. For most production, planning, and expediting clerk jobs, a high school education is sufficient. If you don’t have a high school diploma, you may want to consider earning your GED, which will open up your job options. In addition to being a requirement for employment, a high school education shows that you’ve learned important organizational and time-management skills necessary for being a production, planning, and expediting clerk. On average, production, planning, and expediting clerks make about $40,000 a year, give or take a little depending on education and experience.
- On-the-job training will be provided. Production, planning, and expediting clerk jobs vary widely in their descriptions. If you work in the vehicle industry, for example, you will monitor and control shipping of vehicle parts and keep a record of that activity. If you work in the service industry, you will have a different set of tasks, such as making sure a product arrives safely and on time for your customers. Because production, planning, and expediting clerk tasks vary across industries and companies, you should plan to spend the first several weeks or more in training. You will likely train under the supervision of a more experienced clerk.
- Computer skills are a plus. Production, planning, and expediting clerks often use computer programs and complex machines to do their jobs. Knowing your way around a computer will help immensely during the training process. To increase your hiring potential, you may want to expand your computer skills by taking a course at the local community college.
What about the job market? The delivery of goods and services is important to our national economy, and many companies will find that they need production, planning, and expediting clerks to keep up with supply and demand. However, decreases in manufacturing will likely temper the job growth somewhat. So while you can still expect to find available production, planning, and expediting clerk jobs in many industries, the overall employment of these jobs is expected to slow down over the next decade, at a rate of about 2 percent. The wholesale trade and warehousing industries would be a good place to look for jobs—these areas are likely to experience better growth than other industries.
What are my options for career advancement? Becoming a production, planning, and expediting clerk can be a great stepping stone to a solid manufacturing career. It will give you the experience and contacts you need for reaching the next level. To advance your career, you will need to fine-tune your communication skills and ability to work with others, and don’t miss out on any opportunity to network with others in the field.