Real Stories of Manufacturing Careers: The Position of Material Handler

Jul 11, 2017

Can you operate a forklift? Are you a motivated team player who can also work alone on time-sensitive tasks? Do you have experience in ensuring inventory is in the right place at the right time? If so, you may be interested in one of the open material handler positions offered through Friday Services. This is one of the many types of industrial jobs available now in Western North Carolina factories and warehouses.

Last year, we published advice on what you need to know to get hired in our post “How to Get a Job as a Material Handler.” We recently talked with Michael Franklin about his job as a material handler at a local automotive manufacturer. He shared with us his day-to-day duties, how he gets to work with his hands, and how his job lines up with his interests.

Hands-on Work

Although Michael has been in his current position of material handler for a little over a month now, he is no stranger to manufacturing. A licensed welder for about five years now, Michael has fixed rock crushers at rock quarries, and operated forklifts in factory settings. He first worked with our team at Friday’s Staffing in 2012, and really enjoys his job.

In describing a day on the clock, Michael says that he moves inventory to help the assembly line whose goal is to manufacture disc brakes calipers. Disc brakes are super important in helping stop the wheel and vehicle.

“You have to keep the lines stocked with parts because they have to have these parts to put the calipers together. If they run out, the line shuts down and that puts them behind,” explains Michael. He retrieves the parts needed for the assembly line, using numbers as his guide.

Teamwork is an important component in this line of work. “You’re by yourself the majority of the time, but other folks also work with you. If you get behind, they’ll help you. If they get behind, you stop and help them if you’re caught up.”

Movers & Shakers

“I like using my hands,” he says. At work, Michael operates a tugger, which looks a bit like a train in that it pulls carts across the floor. It consumes less energy than a forklift and can handle more load volume per move. Part of the fun challenge at work is figuring out how to be more efficient. “If you know a better way of getting parts around quicker, they want to know about it,” he adds. Halfway through his first day of training, Michael felt very comfortable with the requirements of the job.

From performing physical activities that may require considerable use of your arms and legs, to loading shipments and inventory, the role of material handler will definitely keep you on your steel toes. In most cases, previous forklift experience is required.

“Material handlers move all over the warehouse,” says Michael. “You’re not just in one spot.” He likes the varied environments.

For more qualifications, visit O*NET, a resource for occupational information sponsored by the US Department of Labor.

Hot Rods, Heating & Cooling

Michael’s interest in cars started at a young age. “When I was little, my dad used to work on them. I’d sit down with him and watch him work on them.” Today, Michael gets enjoyment out of working on hot rods. A self-described “car nut,” Michael owns an ‘89 pick-up with a ‘92 bed, powered by a 454. In addition to welding and mechanics, Michael is also trained on universal heating and air.

With attention to detail and an interest in how things work, Michael takes pride in a job well done.

Apply Today!

Material handlers move quickly around the factory while always maintaining a safe environment. If you’re looking to exercise your industrial skills and forklift experience, we’d love to help! Search all of our job postings here. Don’t quite see what you’re looking for? Submit your application here and one of our staffing professionals will be in touch with you soon!


If you see a lot of potential in yourself – so do we! Start your job search and learn about the opportunities and benefits offered.


Friday Services is independent and locally owned. We offer Western North Carolina employers strategic flexibility with greater attention to detail.