If you’re thinking about distribution jobs, and you live in one of the right places, then perhaps a CVS Distribution Center Job might be a good choice for you.
CVS Pharmacy was originally founded in Massachusetts in 1963. Over the last 50 years, the company’s growth has consisted in large part of buying up smaller competing chains. Longs Drugs, Peoples Drugs, Arbor Drugs, Sav-On Drugs, Osco Drugs, Eckerd Drug Stores, and the in-store pharmacy of most Albertson’s have all been swallowed up by CVS, as well as the Revco chain of 2,500 stores which was acquired in 1997.
Today CVS is the second-largest pharmacy chain in the USA, (after Walgreens), and has over 7000 stores, almost 300,000 employees, and (take a deep breath) about 110 Billion US dollars in annual revenue.
CVS Distribution Center Jobs
You will need to be 18 to work at almost any distribution center job, simply because of the hazards in such a warehouse environment, and the requirements of the insurance companies that provide liability coverage. Most employers are just not willing to risk the liability of employing a minor in such an environment. CVS does not specifically list a requirement that you be 18, but you can be almost certain that such a requirement exists.
CVS distribution center jobs require that you be able to “frequently lift 20 to 45 pounds, and occasionally lift 45 to 75 pounds”. These jobs involve frequent lifting, bending, and reaching, and also spending long periods of time on your feet. CVS cautions you that you will be working in a warehouse environment “which includes seasonal temperature changes”.
You will need a high school diploma or GED equivalent, good reading and writing skills, and basic math skills. There are no experience requirements listed for any of the jobs we’ll be discussing.
CVS has seventeen distribution centers in fifteen states. The locations are as follows -
- Bessemer, AL
- Phoenix, AZ
- La Habra, CA
- Orlando, FL
- Vero Beach, FL
- Kapolei, HI
- Evanston, IL
- Indianapolis, IN
- Novi, MI
- Lumberton, NJ
- Chemung, NY
- Somerset, PA
- Woonsocket, RI
- North Augusta, SC
- Knoxville, TN
- Conroe, TX
- Ennis, TX
Now would be a good time for you to go and read the general article on Distribution Center Jobs, (provide link here when article is published), if you have not already done so.
Unlike some companies, CVS actually assigns seven fairly specific job titles to its distribution center employees. Four of these are open to entry level applicants, so let’s have a closer look at those -
Distribution Center Case Picker – First thing every morning, you check your equipment for safety issues; for example, is one of the forklifts leaking hydraulic fluid? Next you’re given an store invoice, which is a list of items to be shipped to one store. You use the forklifts, pallet jacks, and/or your own hands to pick the items needed from stock, and load them onto an empty pallet. If you notice any out-of-stock situations, you report them to your supervisor. When the order is complete, you wrap and strap the pallets you’ve loaded, fill out the paperwork, attach one copy to the order, and return the rest to the office. Other than keeping the area clean, and “other related duties as assigned by supervisor”, that’s it.
Distribution Center Piece Picker / Order Selector – This position is very similar to the Case Picker above, but you will be handling orders for smaller items which must be loaded manually into boxes or totes. Most of your work will be by hand, something like, “Go count out 37 widgets from that big case over there, seal them into this bag, and label it”. Your orders, being smaller, will generally be stacked for the loader to load by hand, rather than being loaded on pallets. Again, you will have an invoice to work from, and you’ll need to be alert to out-of-stock situations. Again, there will be some clean-up tasks and “other related duties as assigned by supervisor”.
Distribution Center Loader – This is a very straightforward job. First thing every morning, you check your equipment for safety issues. After that, your day consists of taking the orders prepared by the Pickers and loading them into trailers. Most items will be on pallets, but some orders may involve loose or odd-shaped items which you must load by hand. You must be very careful to load the trailers in such a way as to balance the load, while minimizing the risk of load shifting or damage in transit. When the trailer is full, you seal it and record the seal number. Last of all, you fill out the inevitable paperwork, and return it to the office. Other than keeping the area clean, and “other related duties as assigned by supervisor”, that is all there is to it.
Distribution Center Stocker – Your duties are a mixture. You handle all damaged goods, documenting them and placing them in an area for return or credit. You pull cases down off the pallet racks, open them, and place them for the Piece Pickers to pick their orders from. You rotate stock by expiration date to maintain freshness. And you coordinate out-of-stock reports from your co-workers. Of course, there are the usual keep-the-area-clean tasks and “other related duties as assigned by supervisor”.
And now a word about that phrase, “other related duties as assigned by supervisor”. Each of the job descriptions above is a summary in my own words of the job descriptions posted on the CVS career site. And these four, plus two mechanic jobs and one semi-truck driver position are the only seven jobs at a distribution center that CVS has. But if you read the above, you’ll quickly notice that it’s all about goods leaving the distribution center, with not a word said about how those goods get into the distribution center. So what is going on? Obviously, those “other related duties as assigned by supervisor” must include the inflow of goods to the distribution center. It would seem that whoever wrote the original job descriptions on the CVS site, (probably someone in Human Resources who wouldn’t know a forklift from a backhoe), wasn’t working from a personal knowledge of distribution.
Anonymous feedback from current and former CVS employees shows a level of employee satisfaction just barely above average. Only 46% indicate that they “approve of” CEO Larry J. Merlo. Before you let that discourage you, let me point out that this data applies to CVS as a whole, not specifically to the distribution centers.
Getting That CVS Distribution Center Job
When you first arrive at the CVS career site, (http://info.cvscaremark.com/careers), the first thing you’ll see is a notice that they are “transitioning to a new Talent Acquisition system that manages our career opportunities and candidate data”. Translated from corporate double-speak into Plain English, this means they’re re-doing their career site soon. Given that, for some corporations, “soon” can mean some time in the next 10 years, let’s go ahead and walk through the current set-up. Hopefully, after the changes, we’ll have a chance to re-visit the subject and update this section.
When you arrive at the site, scroll down until you see a yellow box on the right side labeled “Search Jobs”. In the first pull-down, labeled “By Category”, choose “Distribution Center Jobs”. Be sure you don’t choose “Distribution Jobs” by accident; you want the one with the word “Center” in it, which is the lower of the two. When you arrive at the next page, scroll down until you see the big blue bar labeled “Search Jobs”. Use the pull-down for “Search By Groups” and look for a listing for “Yourstate Distribution Jobs”, where, obviously, the name of your state is the first word. That will take you to a page where you’ll see the seven distribution center job titles listed. Click on the one you want to apply for, and that will take you to a detailed job description page. From there you use the orange “Apply Now” button, and an online application will pop up. And by now, you’re probably thinking that a re-vamp of this system can’t possibly be a bad idea.
Here is a selection of useful facts that may be helpful in getting hired at CVS -
- Average wage for a Picker is $9.61 per hour, with reports ranging from a low of $9.00 per hour to a high of $11.00 per hour.
- Average wage for a Loader is $12.47 per hour, with reports ranging from a low of $12.00 per hour to a high of $13.00 per hour.
- Applicants report a simple interview process, generally consisting of an online application, a single face-to-face interview, a background check and sometimes a drug test.
- Most applicants reported a prompt callback in response to their online application.
- Sample interview question – “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
- Sample interview question – “What do you know about CVS?”
- Sample interview question – “How do you deal with drama in your life?”
- Sample interview question – “Are you aware that we drug test?”
- Sample interview question – “How good are you at picking up new things?”
And there you have a quick report on the things you need to know to get a CVS Distribution Center Job. If you live near one of the 17 distribution centers, this is potentially a good start to your career, or even just a good job to get you through the next few years.