Warehouse Consultants

June 10, 2017

The Benefits of Finishing and Starting Right for Warehouse Management

Our warehouse consultants recently wrote that no job should be considered done until the clean-up is finished. It was one of our tips for helping keep your warehouse clean. But this tip goes well beyond cleanliness when it comes to making your warehouse efficient. It should be an extension of a policy of finishing clean and starting clean each day. Putting this idea firmly into the process of your warehouse can eliminate a lot of wasted time and help your workforce become more efficient about getting their work done. So how does it work?

Finishing Clean

Set aside time at the end of each shift for tidying up. Most warehouses find that the last 30 minutes of the workday is the perfect time for getting this done. Your workforce is likely anxious to get off the clock anyway, so giving them something out-of-the-ordinary to do can help keep them focused and working. Encourage them to finish the day clean by doing things such as:

  • Sweeping the floor around their workstations
  • Emptying the trash cans and recycling bins
  • Restocking office and warehouse supplies
  • Finishing the processing of broken or damaged items
  • Setting out paperwork that will be needed for the next shift
  • Setting up anything they need for the next shift

This helps your team focus on looking for anything they might have missed and getting all those last minute items taken care of before they head out the door. It also sets up the next shift for success.

Starting Clean

When you finish the workday clean, you’ll have a clean start the next day or for the next shift. That’s because there are no miscellaneous bits to worry about and no loose ends to tie up. The next team starts with a clean slate of projects and knows exactly what needs to be done. They don’t have to sort through the mess left by the last team or on their last shift to get started. Instead, they can dive right in and get to work. This can be a huge increase in your productivity and eliminate that first thirty minutes of the shift that’s often spent just trying to figure out what needs to happen next.

Other Ways to Keep the Flow Going

Both of these tips are simple ways to keep the flow going in your warehouse. It can help eliminate the dip in productivity that you often experience at the beginning and end of every shift. Starting clean and finishing clean aren’t the only way to help with the shift change, though. Here are some more tips:

  • Overlap start and stop times. Have managers come in about 30 minutes before the end of the other shift so they can get a run down on the day. That way when the other shift ends, they will be up to speed and ready to get going.
  • Keep a communication notebook. This can be a quick way to jot down notes about reordering or other issues on the warehouse floor that people should be aware of. This isn’t for inventory or human resources issues; instead, it can be for notes about equipment or letting the new team know why there is a box half-filled in the corner.
  • Set a good example. Don’t start your own work day by sipping a cup of coffee and surveying the warehouse floor for 30 minutes. When you clock on, get right to work. That example will show your team what you expect of them, too.

Of course, these aren’t the only ways to increase the productivity of your warehouse. Our warehouse consultants know that it’s often the layout and design of a warehouse that can make or break it’s productivity. If you are concerned about the efficiency of your warehouse and your workers, it’s time to look at warehouse optimization with the help of the best consultants in the business. DAK Equipment & Engineering has been hard at work making warehouses in the United States more efficient and more profitable for decades. We’re ready to help you, too. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about all of our warehouse optimization options including layout, design, automation, and planning. Give us a call or contact us through our website to get started today!

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May 30, 2017

Making Your Warehouse More Ergonomically Correct

How much attention are you giving ergonomics in your warehouse? Ergonomics is the process of making sure the environment your employees are working in is working for and with them, instead of against them. You hear a lot about ergonomics when it comes to office workers, particularly when it comes to their chairs and how computers are positioned. But ergonomics is just as–or maybe even more–important for warehouse workers. That’s because an ergonomic workplace is one that’s going to help prevent injuries and assist workers to be more efficient in their tasks. That can help lower your operating costs and increase your production, both very good reasons for paying a little more attention to ergonomics.

Not sure where to begin? The warehouse consultants at DAK Equipment & Engineering have some tips to help you start improving your ergonomics!

Tips for Improving Ergonomics in the Warehouse

Eliminate repetitive movements where you can.

Encourage warehouse managers and supervisors to watch for repetitive movements on the job. When they see it, look for ways to either eliminate it or change it to be more ergonomic. Many on-the-job injuries are due to repetitive injuries and eliminating them is a primary focus for ergonomics. If you see team members using repetitive movements to get products from one area to another, look for ways to automate that process so it relies on the repetitive motion of a robot and not on human power.

Get the right equipment for the job.

Having the right equipment for the job can stop a lot of workplace injuries. For instance, if workers are climbing up on ladders a lot to get to products that are way up high very often, consider investing in a lift instead. It’s safer for your team as well as your products. Your team won’t have to worry about their safety climbing up and down a ladder, and you don’t have to be concerned that they are following correct protocol when bringing down merchandise.

Automate where possible.

The more automation you use, the less you are relying on manpower to get the job done. The less you rely on human power, the less chance there is for injury. Automation such as conveyor systems, forklifts, and automated pickers are all ways that you can automate your warehouse and put a stop to repetitive injuries.

Train your team on proper lifting techniques.

Make sure your team knows how to lift. Back injuries are some of the most common in the warehouse, due to the large loads that are often being moved throughout the warehouse. Make lifting training a common part of your training regimen, during employee meetings and for all new hires. Training it once isn’t enough, either. Train on this again and again, even for your experienced employees.

Correct mistakes when you see them.

Encourage managers to make corrections when they see them. The best time to fix a mistake is right after it happens. If employees know that managers are watching, they are going to be more careful about taking care of themselves, too. Empower managers to make changes to the working environment if it’s going to make the warehouse safer for your workers!

There are many other ways you can make a warehouse safer for your team. If you are looking for suggestions, talk to our warehouse consultants! They can help you make your warehouse more efficient and safer for your employees. Get in touch with us today to talk about a problem you are having with your warehouse and we’ll find the right solution. Give us a call or contact us through our website to get started with a warehouse consultant today!

 

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May 15, 2017

Getting to the Bottom of Employee Theft

Our warehouse consultants recently wrote about how to reduce theft in your warehouse. It’s a huge problem for a lot of warehouses and distribution centers and ends up costing American businesses billions of dollars every year. One strategy that we didn’t cover in our previous blog involves taking a more personal approach to theft reduction. It involves getting to know more about why your employees are stealing and the motivation behind their actions. In many cases, understanding why the theft is happening will help you put a stop to the problem. Let’s take a look at some of the primary motivators for employee theft in the warehouse setting.

Why Employees Steal From Your Warehouse

They feel underappreciated.

A lot of theft happens because the employee feels that they aren’t getting the financial compensation or recognition that they deserve at work. They consider it a little bonus to themselves and justify it by feeling they deserve it. Make sure you are doing enough to recognize the hard work of your employees. Sure, some people are never going to be satisfied with their pay or other efforts to reward them, but if you are really lacking in this area you are likely to experience more theft.

They feel they have been wronged.

Employee theft can be used as a way to pay back the company for a perceived wrong or slight. Maybe the employee was passed over for a promotion or they are angry about having to work over a weekend. They justify the theft by rationalizing that you did something to hurt them, so they are going to do something to hurt you back. There is no way to prevent hurt feelings in the warehouse–it’s just going to happen no matter how careful you are–so you’ll need to rely on extra precautions like bag checks and secure storage to reduce it.

The opportunity is there.

It’s tough for even the most morally upstanding person to walk away from a theft when they know it’s going to be easy and undetected. When the opportunity presents itself, you’d be surprised at how many of your employees would take it. The only way to prevent opportunity thefts is to take away the opportunity. You can do this by making sure employees know about security measures like cameras, bag checks, metal detectors, and random audits so they know it’s going to be tough to walk out with the goods.

They are experiencing financial distress.

This is actually less common than you might initially think, but it does happen. Some theft in warehouses and distribuation centers occurs because employees are trying to overcome some kind of financial distress. Maybe they have a gambling or drug problem or there is some other reason they need to increase their income in a hurry. In these cases, employees are more likely to steal things that have a high resale value on the street, primarily electronics. You can combat this kind of theft by locking up tempting items in secure storage and limiting access to them. You can also do thorough background checks on employees before you hire them to ensure they don’t have a criminal history of this kind of behavior.

They don’t think they’ll be caught or punished.

If employees don’t think you’ll be able to detect the theft they are more likely to steal. They are also more likely to steal if they think you’ll shrug off the theft or give them the proverbial slap on the wrist. You’ll need to make it clear to employees in training and in employee meetings that you take theft very seriously, safeguard against it, and if an employee is caught that they will be immediately terminated. If it does happen, make sure you follow through with it.

What Issues Are Plaguing Your Warehouse?

Need more advice on preventing employee theft in your warehouse? Facing another warehouse issue that needs your attention? Our warehouse consultants can help. Get in touch with our team to learn more about theft prevention and solutions to other warehouse issues. We can help you find the right equipment and solutions to make your warehouse a safer, more efficient, and more profitable business. Give us a call or contact us through our website to speak with an experienced consultant about all of your warehouse needs today.

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