Warehouses are an important part of many businesses, and as such, it is essential that they operate in a safe and productive manner. To ensure this, warehouse managers should follow some best practices for safety and productivity:
1. Conducting a Safety Audit
A safety audit should be conducted as often as possible, ideally at least once a year. This allows the warehouse manager to identify where corrective actions need to be taken and prioritize those tasks accordingly.
An effective way to conduct a safety audit is to ask employees questions like “What are the most frequently missed opportunities for improvement?”
2. Implementing OSHA Best Practices
One OSHA best practice that should be implemented in warehouses includes ensuring that the warehouse is safe for workers. All warehouses should be equipped with reflective tape, striping, handrails, and other necessary safety equipment to ensure that the warehouse remains safe for employees.
For example, industrial insulation of pipes and tanks should be done because it is required (by OSHA, for example) and may result in severe injury or death if not implemented.
3. Maintaining Inventory Accuracy
Accurate inventory records help avoid overstocking and understocking issues that can lead to lost revenue and product damage, respectively. It also helps employees quickly find what is needed and reduces or eliminates the need for slow and difficult physical searches.
To ensure this happens, many warehouses use software-based solutions, so they can track inventory accurately no matter where it is stored. Another way warehouses maintain accuracy is by keeping stock rotation schedules up-to-date, so they know which products are due for restocking next based on when they were received.
4. Implementing Safe Use of Equipment
Warehouses often have specialized equipment that must be properly maintained for optimal performance. Some of these include narrow-aisle reach trucks, pick-to-light systems, order fulfillment robots, three-dimensional scanners, ergonomic sit/stand workstations, etc.
All of these types of equipment should be tested to ensure that they are safe, reliable, and easy to use.
5. Exceeding Productivity Standards
Warehouses need to be productive. The best way to achieve this is by eliminating unnecessary delays and downtime, which can be caused by poor communication, lack of information, or incorrect orders. To do this, warehouses should establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each department.
Having these in place helps everyone know who is responsible for what task, how it needs to be performed, and the steps required to complete the job. Regular checks and re-evaluations ensure that SOPs remain accurate and relevant to the warehouse’s current needs.
6. Providing Continuous Training
Warehouse employees must keep their skills sharp if they want to operate efficiently and safely at all times. They can do this through regular training on new equipment and policies as well as special programs that focus on maintaining existing skills.
7. Fostering a Safety-First Culture
An effective safety-first culture is created when everyone from the warehouse manager to each individual employee understands that safety is everybody’s responsibility.
This type of culture is gained by having regular safety training, holding employees accountable for their actions, and ensuring workers appreciate its importance. Maintaining this mindset throughout the organization helps to have one department in charge of all aspects of safe working practices.
8. Employing a Well-Organized Warehouse Layout
The layout of a warehouse can greatly affect productivity and efficiency levels. To ensure the most productive one is chosen, many warehouses use a method called process mapping, which involves drawing a map of what happens at every stage in a warehouse operation, from receiving an order through to shipment.
9. Implementing Best-in-Class Technology
Best-in-class technology helps warehouses operate more safely, efficiently, productively, and profitably. It also allows them to meet changing customer needs faster while maintaining or reducing costs.
Today’s best warehouse management systems are designed for workflows that easily adapt to new market conditions by allowing managers to change how they do business without spending a lot of time or money on upgrades.
For example, suppose a warehouse identifies that it is receiving too many orders in the early morning hours when its employees are at their lowest productivity levels. In that case, it can have the system automatically push back estimated delivery times, so customers receive their products later in the day when employees are more alert and able to process them quickly, resulting in an increase in customer satisfaction.
10. Implementing a Succession Planning Strategy
Succession planning helps warehouse managers develop individuals who are equipped with the right skills to take on higher responsibilities as they become available.
Doing so can help ensure that the entire operation continues running smoothly even if the manager leaves the company or is unable to perform their duties for some reason.
Warehouses are an important part of many businesses, and as such, it is essential that they operate in a safe and productive manner. To ensure this, warehouse managers should follow some best practices for safety and productivity.