Stock clerks and order fillers receive, unpack, check, store,
and track merchandise or materials. They keep records of items entering or
leaving the stockroom and inspect damaged or spoiled goods. They sort,
organize, and mark items with identifying codes, such as price, stock, or
inventory control codes, so that inventories can be located quickly and
easily. They also may be required to lift cartons of various sizes. In
larger establishments, where they may be responsible for only one task, they
may be called stock-control clerks, merchandise distributors, or property
custodians. In smaller firms, they also may perform tasks usually handled by
shipping and receiving clerks.
In many firms, stock clerks and order fillers use hand-held
scanners connected to computers to keep inventories up to date. In retail
stores, stock clerks bring merchandise to the sales floor and stock shelves
and racks. In stockrooms and warehouses, stock clerks store materials in
bins, on floors, or on shelves. Instead of putting the merchandise on the
sales floor or on shelves, order fillers take customers’ orders and either
hold the merchandise until the customers can pick it up or send it to them.
The growing use of computers for inventory control and the
installation of new, automated equipment are expected to inhibit growth in
demand for stock clerks and order fillers, especially in manufacturing and
wholesale trade industries whose operations are most easily automated. In
addition to utilizing computerized inventory control systems, firms in these
industries are relying more on sophisticated conveyor belts and automatic
high stackers to store and retrieve goods. Also, expanded use of
battery-powered, driverless, automatically guided vehicles can be expected.
Inventory work is done manually and is difficult to automate.