JONESVILLE — Dollar General is growing and so are the demands for the services of the Dollar General Distribution Center in Jonesville which is looking to meet those demands by increasing the size of its workforce.
Located at 1451 Spartanburg Highway, Jonesville, the Dollar General Distribution Center has been in operation for 12 years supplying Dollar General stores in South Carolina with most of the products the stores sell. The products the center distributes includes bottled water and soft drinks, paper products, canned goods, candy and cookies, makeup and personal care items such as shampoo and deodorant, pet food, toys, etc. The only items the center does not distribute are bread, tobacco products, alcohol, and refrigerated items.
If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is, and that’s why the facility is as large as it is.
“It’s 1.2 million square feet with four buildings in one,” Outbound Manager Doug Willis said Thursday. “There are three different areas that pack products: full case, conventional pick, and repack.”
Willis said that in the full case area, the center’s personnel pick full cases of items out of the “mods,” the four-level structures where the items to be distributed are stored. The employee picks the needed cases of items out of their respective mods, places the appropriate shipping label on them, and then places them on one of the conveyor belts that carry the items to the shipping area to be loaded onto trucks and shipped out to the stores that need them.
Full cases account for approximately 60 percent of all the items shipped out by the distribution center.
Willis said in the conventional pick area employees load the items to be shipped onto “rolltainers,” carts used to transport items to shipping that cannot be placed onto the conveyor belts.
“This is for items that are too big, too small, or too fragile to go on the conveyor belt,” Willis said. “We keep liquids off the conveyor belt because if the package busts you have liquid all over it. We keep glass items off because if they break you get glass everywhere. You can’t put an item that’s too small on the conveyor because the conveyor will eat it. The items also have to be a certain weight to be on the conveyor as well.”
Conventional picks account for approximately 35 percent of all the items shipped out by the distribution center.
Willis said the repack area is where the items in the mods are picked out of their cases and placed into a “tote.” When full, each tote is closed and has a sticker with its destination placed on it and sent down the conveyor belt to be shipped.
Repacks account for approximately 5 percent of all the items shipped out by the distribution center.
One thing you’ll notice about the employees working in those area picking out the merchandise to be shipped out are the headsets they are wearing. Willis said the headsets allow the employees to receive directions on what type of merchandise they are having to pick out for shipping. Those directions, he said, are coming from a computer the employees are in constant contact with.
“Everybody that picks uses a headset to talk to the computer all day,” Willis said. “The computer tells you where and what to pick and where it is to go. Once you are done picking those items you say confirmed. You can pick out the word you want to tell the computer when you confirm that you are finished picking the items. It knows you personally with your confirmation word and you are the only one who can use that headset.”
The distribution center, of course, receives the merchandise it distributes, but is also receives something else, something the stores send back.
Used cardboard and plastic.
“All cardboard and plastic we use here is recycled,” Willis said. “The stores send back their cardboard and plastic and we recycle it here as well.”
The center uses a great many wooden pallets and Willis said that whenever any of them gets broken the wood is also recycled.
The Dollar General Distribution Center is obviously a busy place, so busy, in fact, that Willis says on average it ships out 1.3 million cartons a week.
That’s a lot of cartons to be shipping out in a week, so much in fact that the Dollar General Distribution Center is looking to hire some more personnel to help it keep up the pace and even, as needed, acclerate it.
Human Resources Representative Victoria Torres said Thursday that while the distribution center currenly employs 600 full- and part-time employees — the majority of them full-time — it needs more.
“It’s not enough,” Torres said of the distribution center’s current workforce. “Dollar General is growing rapidly, meaning more stores are opening and that means more people are needed to get the product out.
“We are currently looking to fill 40 positions,” she said. “All of them are full-time.”
Torres said that the distribution center has two day shifts, one Sunday-Wednesday and the other Monday-Thursday, both of them 10-12 hour shifts that begin at 5 a.m. each day. She said there is one night shift, Monday-Thursday, also 10-12 hours, but beginning at 5 p.m. each day.
Full-time and part-time employees who work on the day shifts are $13.25 an hour while those who work on the night shift are paid $14.25 an hour. While they are paid the same as full-time employees, part-time employees do not receive any benefits and may work no more than 30 hours a week. Full-time employees, however, receive medical and dental coverage as well as other plans they can purchase and can also get what Torres called a “good 401K plan” and are eligible for what she said are “perfect attendance bonuses.”
As part of its efforts to hire the needed additional staff, Dollar General will hold a recruitment event at the SCWorks Spartanburg office, 220 East Kennedy Street, Spartanburg on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For those who cannot make Wednesday’s recruitment event, they can apply online at dollargeneral.com. Once you are on the site, click on careers then click on distribution center. The registration number for the Dollar General Distribution Center in Jonesville is 2016-63959.
Torres said that no experience is required and there are no educational requirements to work at the distribution center but applicants must be 18 or over.