If you’re looking for distribution center work, and you can handle the heavy-lifting, then perhaps one of the Office Depot Distribution Center jobs might suit you very well. Let’s take a closer look.
Office Depot was founded in 1986 by three partners who had all worked at Home-owner’s Warehouse, one of the early contenders in the big-store home improvement market that is today dominated by Lowe’s and Home Depot. The three partners had the idea of bringing this same high-volume, low-margin, big-store retailing to the world of office supplies, and so Office Depot was born. As is the case with many successful retail chains, Office Depot accomplished much of its growth by absorbing smaller rivals, notably Office Club and Great Canadian Office Supplies.
Today Office Depot has 42,000 employees, over 1600 stores and annual revenues of 12 Billion US dollars.
Office Depot Distribution Center Jobs
You will need to be 18 to work at an Office Depot distribution center job. Office Depot says for all of these jobs “you need to be able to lift 75 pounds regularly and 150 pounds occasionally”, but I’m not sure how seriously they mean that. After all, 150 pounds is a lot of weight, double the highest amount listed by any other distribution center chain that we have reviewed.
You will need a high school diploma or GED, good math and reading skills, and a general knowledge of warehouse procedures. They also ask that you be able to use a pallet jack. Then again, if you can tie your own shoes, you can use a pallet jack.
Happily, location is far less of an issue, since Office Depot has 34 distribution centers and crossdock facilities. A crossdock facility is essentially a distribution center with little or no storage capacity. Obviously, this requires very good timing and coordination. Note also that crossdocking can be used in both directions. It can handle outflow just like a distribution center, with goods coming in by the trailer or boxcar load and being broken down into smaller units for distribution to retail locations. Or, in the other direction, it can handle inflow of goods, being used to receive small shipments from many small vendors, and combine them into one large shipment, which then enters the distribution system.
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.
So, let’s look at the job categories in an Office Depot distribution center or crossdock facility. You will note that all of them, except the Label Applier, have the CDC designation, which stands for Crossdock/Distribution Center.
Associate, CDC, Small Cart Sort – Your job will involve a variety of tasks; you load, unload, and move goods. You fill the smaller outgoing orders, pulling goods from opened cartons or shelves, and packing them for shipment as listed on the invoice. You keep the pallet racks in good condition, making sure there is room for incoming merchandise, and you keep an eye open for inventory errors as you are doing your other work.
Associate, CDC, Batch/Mainpick – The job description for this position is almost identical to the Small Cart Sort position listed just above. The only real difference is that you’ll be handling mostly larger orders consisting of full pallets of goods, rather than the hand-counted smaller quantities in the orders handled by the Small Cart Sort position.
Associate, CDC, Inventory Control – You check incoming goods against the receiving documents, confirming that the right item has been received, the quantity matches the receiving documents, and that the items are in good condition. You also check outgoing shipments against the Office Depot invoice, to verify that the right goods, in the right quantities and in good condition, are being sent to the customer. You take a lead role in quarterly and annual warehouse inventories. And, of course, you may be assigned to help with orders during busy periods.
Associate, Label Apply – While you may be assigned to help with orders, receiving, or any other task, your primary duty is making, applying, and maintaining proper labels on things. Mostly, you will be labeling pallets of goods, boxes, or other odd-shaped items, (like Christmas trees), but the labels on the pallet racks are also your responsibility. In addition, you are responsible for maintaining all safety stickers, warning notices, and other label-related items of the type, and notifying your superiors of problems as needed.
Associate, CDC, Shipping – You load outgoing merchandise into trailers for shipment to retail stores. Most of the goods you load will be palletized, and loaded with either fork and pallet jack, but some orders will involve loose boxes which must be stacked by hand. In loading the trailers, you must take care both to distribute the weight properly, and to minimize the chance of load shifting or damage.
Anonymous feedback from current and former Office Depot employees reveals something of a puzzling contrast. On the one hand, the employee satisfaction rating is very respectable, being quite a bit above average. On the other hand, only a rather dismal 40% indicate that they “approve of” CEO Neil R. Austrian.
Getting That Office Depot Distribution Center Job
When you arrive at the Office Depot career site, (http://www.officedepot.jobs/), you’ll see the usual corporate diversity pictures. Click on “Locations” at the top right, and then the red “Apply Now” button on the next page. By the way, if you click “Search Jobs” on the first page, it leads you to a page with a different picture, but with the same red “Apply Now” button, which leads to the same place. It’s that sort of a website.
Now, you want Advanced Search, but the first appearance of those words in blue, near the top of the page, isn’t actually a clickable link. Scroll down a bit to the text entry boxes, and you’ll find a live link to Advanced Search.
Once you’re on the Advanced Search page, look at the Job Categories window. Things are listed alphabetically, and you want to select “Stores Distribution Center”. Once you have that highlighted, you can leave the rest blank and just hit the “Search” button. If you need to go back and restrict your search by state, you can do that. Just look at the topmost of the beige horizontal bars, near the top of the page, and click the tiny white triangle at the far left end.
Now that you see a list of the available jobs, (Jackson, MS is hiring like crazy), you can click on any one you like to see a detail page, and there will be a yellow “Apply Now” button that will take you to an online application.
In closing, here are a few useful odds and ends that may help you get hired –
- Average wage for a Shipping Associate is $10.10 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $8.00 per hour to a high of $12.00 per hour.
- Average wage for the Batch/Mainpick and Small Cart Sort positions is $9.85 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $7.50 per hour to a high of $12.00 per hour.
- Most applicants report a fairly casual, low-pressure hiring process, consisting of a single face-to-face interview.
- All applicants should be prepared to take a drug test and undergo a background check.
- Unfortunately, Office Depot appears to start most CDC employees at minimum wage, although there is definitely a series of raises after the initial 90-day probation period. Top end wage for all CDC employees appears to be $12.00 per hour.
- Sample interview question – “Who was your least favorite boss of all time?”
- Sample interview question – “Name a situation when you had a problem at work, and the steps you took to solve it.”
- Sample interview question – “What is your biggest weakness?”
- Sample interview question – “What do you expect from your leadership team?”
- Sample interview question – “Describe a time you had a problem with management.”
And there you have an good overview of what you need to know to get that Office Depot Distribution Center job. The fact that Office Depot has twice as many distribution centers as any other distribution chain we’ve reviewed makes these jobs available to a far larger group of people; chances are, if you live in a city of any major size, there’s one near you. So why are you still reading this? Go apply!