Order Clerks

The work of order clerks is to process and receive orders for a number of services and goods such as customer appliances, spare parts, film rentals, electrical power connections, articles of clothing, and gas. Sometimes, they are called order-entry clerks, order takers, or order processors.

Nature of Work
Orders for merchandise, materials, and services may come from outside or inside of an organization. An inside clerk receives orders from other workers hired by the same company or from salespersons in the field. Clerks who work in large companies such as automobile manufacturers require ordering equipments and parts from the company's warehouses.

Some clerks are called outside order clerks. These clerks receive orders from outside companies as well as directly from customers. Order clerks who work in wholesale businesses, for example, receive orders from retail companies for merchandise that retailers sell to the public.

Many clerks who work for online retailers and catalog companies receive orders from individual consumers by fax, telephone, e-mail, regular mail, etc. The arrival of computer has made their work easier. With the help of computers, clerks access to information such as prices, stock numbers, and inventory. The filling of an order frequently depends upon availability of the right products in stock. Order clerks who work in industrial settings should be able to give price estimates for whole jobs and no just single parts. Some order clerks should be able to give expected arrival dates, take special orders, and handle complaints, and prepare contracts.

Some order clerks receive orders directly by phone or registering required information as the consumer places the order. Nonetheless, the increasing number of orders is received through faxes, computer, internet, e-mail, etc. Sometimes, these orders are placed from customer's desk to the order clerk's desk. Orders received by mail are, at times, scanned into a database so that clerks access it instantly.

Subsequently, clerks evaluate orders for clarity and completeness. In case the information is missing, order clerks have to fill it or contact the customer to get the information about him/her. Clerks have to contact customers when the customer requires additional information such as shipping or prices dates. A clerk who receives orders by regular mail removes money orders or checks, sort them out, and forward them for processing.

A customer's final cost is calculated when an order is entered and verified. Consequently, clerks send the order to the concerning department like the warehouse. In some large establishments, clerks use advanced computer systems. With the help of this system, clerks manage inventory records as sales are made. In some less automated organizations, order clerks may verify or adjust inventory records.

Order clerks have to set up priorities in filling orders. For instance, an order clerk in a blood bank may receive a request from a hospital for a particular type of blood. A clerk should find out whether a request is an emergency or routine and then take the right action.

Work Environment
Generally, order clerks work in areas that are clean, spacious, and relatively quiet. These clerks have to sit for a log period of time where they work in front of computer terminals. This working situation may cause headaches and eye strain. Usually, order clerks work forty hours a week. Clerks who are in retail companies, normally, work overtime during peak holiday seasons. Some organizations offer shifts round-the-clock to accommodate customer's time. Order clerks have to carry out following responsibilities.


Educational Qualification
Some order clerks are trained on the job while others acquire this knowledge in a high school. Candidates who wish to get into this field need to have passed a high school diploma or GED with related experience.

Candidates must have knowledge of computers and will be comfortable with spreadsheet software and word-processing software. Computer proficiency is progressively more important as most orders are filed and filled electronically.

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