Ranging from distribution centres to cold storage facilities and dry goods stores, warehousing caters for the temporary storage of goods before being distributed to the end user in the supply chain cycle.
Logistics is the management of the supply chain, controlling the movement of goods from the point of origin to the point of destination using the most efficient, cost effective methods.
More automated and semi-automated systems are being introduced to warehouses in varying degrees to assist with the monitoring and controlling of stock levels.
The economic benefits of vertical integration has resulted in greater control and more efficient streamlining of warehouse operations. More companies are opting for single user supply chain solutions that minimise errors and improve turnaround times.
As some online retailers do not have their own physical stores/warehouses, there will be a growing need to utilise third-party logistics to manage and complete tasks on behalf of clients. This includes the packing, shipping and distribution of stock. Activity in this area is expected to increase.
Warehouses that have tailored services to the mining sector have had to diversify and spread their risk. This is due to the resources sector activities being scaled back and transitioned from construction to operational phases.
Major investments have been made in machinery and technology which will lead to the need for training in new skill sets and computer skills.
Although there still remains a high level of demand for both skilled and semi-skilled labour, industry has indicated that pressure has eased since the last peak period of sustained economic growth.
Men make up approximately 74 per cent of the workforce and females account for 26 per cent.
The average age of workers is 40.2 years.
It has been estimated that an additional 2,600 store persons will be required in the period to 2014-15, listed as No 8 in the top ten jobs identified by the DTWD.
Migrant workers accounted for approximately 30 per cent of workers in this sector.
Warehousing has suffered from a poor image. It has often been viewed as a career with limited options and therefore has not generated a lot of interest from prospective job seekers.
This industry, like many other transport sectors is faced with the challenge of an ageing workforce.
The lack of Language Literacy and Numeracy skills is preventing further career progression of some workers and as technology is incorporated into operations, there are concerns that some workers may fall further behind. The skills and aptitude required of workers has risen as the duties are becoming more complex.
With the growing need for technology within businesses to deliver real time information for analysis, companies are further investigating how to integrate items such as tablet computers into their day-to-day operations. Some of the challenges associated with this include the durability of devices in high impact environments and implications of downtime during maintenance.
As the number of workers from culturally diverse backgrounds is increasing, a greater level of sensitivity is needed from management when engaging and communicating with workers.
A greater level of investment is needed to train people at higher levels eg managers, but industry is faced with the challenge of not being able to release key members of staff for prolonged periods of time.