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Maintenance Mechanics in our DCs: A Very Particular Set of Skills

The team members in Target’s 40+ distribution centers or “DCs” are on the front lines of getting product to our guests on time, every time. To do it, they rely on material handling equipment (MHE), which includes complex automation and mechanisms like conveyors, sortation, scales and printer applicators.

When something goes wrong with one of these impressive machines, time is of the essence—and the guest experience is at stake.

Maintenance mechanics are key to ensuring that these essential but sometimes tricky machines are working safely and properly. They are experts with a deep and wide-ranging understanding of the mechanical, electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems in play in our DCs. Their specialized skills enable them to pinpoint issues and mitigate them—fast and safely.

Here, three maintenance mechanics give us a peek into their daily routine at a job where you will see that each day can vary! 

Describe your start with Target and your role as a maintenance mechanic in one of our distribution centers.

Miguel: I began my Target career as a team member in 2009, and was awarded the position of maintenance mechanic seven years ago. My main role every day is to provide support and to deliver a safe and productive work environment for my team in our one-million square foot building. I conduct daily preventative maintenance tasks on over six miles of conveyor, and spend time troubleshooting and repairing systematic or mechanical challenges when needed.

Kevin: I started in 1994. My day-to-day responsibilities include addressing and proactively responding to maintenance calls across our facility, proactively maintaining equipment through preventative maintenance, and serving as an expert and liaison to operations teams on all equipment concerns.

Dustin: I have been employed by Target for 16 years and began my role as a maintenance mechanic in 2015. My responsibilities include completing a daily walk of the building’s systems to identify any needed repairs, performing preventive maintenance on conveyors and other machinery inside the distribution center, and identifying any corrective repairs.

What do you enjoy most about your role at Target?

Kevin: I enjoy the challenges that may arise throughout the day, and being the subject matter expert when the team needs my support. I also enjoy getting to learn new things, especially as Target continues to grow.

Miguel: The thing I enjoy most about my role at Target is my team. Every day when I come to work, I know I have a supportive team who has become like a family to me. We have created a tight bond over the years, and it makes coming to work very easy.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?

Dustin: The most challenging aspect of my role is prioritizing repairs that are needed, and working within a small window of time to complete repairs. A majority of the equipment in the building is needed to run on a continuous basis to maximize building efficiency.

Kevin: Understanding how to always tailor my approach, with both my peers and our operations managers, to ensure we’re providing great service and being approachable even in difficult or high stress situations. 

What experience or skillset do you believe best equipped you for this role?

Kevin: I attended technical school during my time as a Utility Attendant to gain troubleshooting and electrical knowledge for my role as a Maintenance Mechanic. I kept an open approach, and was excited to learn more about the role through my education outside of Target in preparation for my move into the mechanic role.

Miguel: When I approached my operations managers about wanting to become a mechanic, they provided me with the internal support and training I needed to understand material handling systems and how to troubleshoot and repair. I was partnered up with a systems engineer and a few different mechanics that took time to train me and gave me guidance where I needed. Eventually, I was able to interview for a mechanic role and was very confident due to the training I received. Every day, I continue to learn something new from my peers. But I have also had an opportunity to lead new mechanics, which is a skill I learned from the great support Target has provided me.

Dustin: I have always been a very hands-on person who likes to have a good understanding of how mechanical things work. I have a background in both the construction and auto repair fields. I coupled that with classes in electro-mechanical engineering to gain a diverse skillset that I believe is needed for the maintenance mechanic role at Target. 

How would you describe the culture at Target?

Dustin: It’s a very fast-paced professional environment.

Miguel: The culture at Target is very positive, and it’s great to see when team members embrace that culture and seem to love what they do. Within my team, the culture is very strong. My peers and my leader have created a culture that is trusting, and although we have very different backgrounds, we are a very inclusive team—truly my family away from home.

Kevin: The team is very upbeat, and excited to tackle the work in front of us. Our team mentality makes it easy to solve hard problems.

What has surprised you most about your career with Target?

Miguel: I have always stayed at jobs for long periods of time, but at Target, I have been able to move up in my role, and I am very committed to give my all every day when I am here. Every shift, every call and every situation is different, so my job is always stimulating both technically and mentally. The supportive culture here gives me the chance to continuously learn from the systems engineers and other mechanics. And it’s great that in return, I am given the opportunity to share my knowledge with them.

Dustin: It has been more mentally stimulating than I had expected. There is always a new challenge depending on repairs needed that day, and no day is the same.

Kevin: I’m surprised every day with how Target continues to grow as an organization, and have seen and been able to lead through exciting change specifically in my building.

Think you might have what it takes to excel in a role as a maintenance mechanic? Explore openings at target.com/careers and search “maintenance mechanic” for opportunities near you.

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