Opening a warehouse or similar facility? Maybe you’re renovating your current warehouse? Perhaps you just want to brush up on your warehouse management knowledge. You’ve come to the right place.
There are many things that come into play when building a warehouse checklist. This checklist (scroll down to download the PDF) focuses on four major factors: equipment, safety, ergonomics and inventory storage.
“What type of equipment do I need in my warehouse?”
The answer to this question may seem fairly simple, but you may be surprised to know that many companies don’t plan properly when selecting warehouse equipment. Poorly choosing equipment can lead to unused equipment, the need to rent more equipment than necessary, and other activities that waste money.
In order to answer the question above, you first must answer a few other questions:
- What inventory do I have to move?
- How much does it weigh?
- How much space does it consume?
- Where do I have to move the inventory?
- Indoors, outdoors, or both?
- On the ground, 50 feet in the air, or somewhere in between?
- How fast do I have to move my inventory?
Those questions can help a warehouse manager determine not if he/she needs a forklift, but what type of forklift is a perfect fit. Warehouse managers should also consider every area of the warehouse chain – from packaging to docking – to ensure equipment needs are met across the board. Perhaps a pallet truck or lift table satisfies your material handling needs. Be sure to vet out all of your options before blindly purchasing heavy equipment.
You can’t create a warehouse checklist without incorporating safety. Following safety guidelines in a warehouse, especially when using heavy equipment, isn’t a choice.
OSHA has strict guidelines and regulations in place. Contrary to popular belief, these regulations aren’t simply in place so you can be fined – they’re actually designed to save you money and protect your facility, staff, and equipment. Without proper OSHA certification, your forklift operators are more likely to cause accidents that can lead to employee injury, inventory damage or loss, equipment damage and more.
All of your employees, not just forklift operators, should adhere to a custom safety checklist that was designed specifically for your warehouse. They’ll become more efficient by following rules and appreciate you caring about their safety and wellbeing.
A safe warehouse is an efficient warehouse. No matter how much time is dedicated to improving warehouse safety, it likely outweighs the consequences of ignoring warehouse hazards. Invest in your facility and employees to ensure a safer work environment. You’ll be rewarded in the long haul.
Things to include in your warehouse safety checklist can include a proper dress code, lifting guidelines, details on safety checks, the protocol for emergencies, and more.
One way to ensure all safety regulations are followed is to reward or incentivize employees. Throw a pizza party or hand out gift cards periodically to show your employees that you care.
The idea of improving ergonomics in the workplace has been around for a while.
However, warehouses have fallen behind the curve when it comes to introducing more ergonomic processes. Improving ergonomics can mean purchasing new equipment (or replacing older models or parts), adopting new processes, or anything else that makes your employees’ lives easier and increases efficiency.
There are a few telltale signs when ergonomics need to be improved. They could when employees experience:
- Awkward posture or stance during a work activity
- Manually holding or transporting too much weight
- Repetitive motions
- Lack of movement throughout the day
- Poor environmental conditions
Simple procedural changes, such as purchasing a new dolly, fixing the air conditioning system, manual lift training, or installing new lighting may seem small but can make a huge difference in production. Asking your employees for thoughts or ideas is definitely a good place to start when it comes to improving ergonomics. Remember, the happier they are (due to being more efficient and less strained), the more productive they’ll be.
Remember those questions from the warehouse equipment section? Many of those factor into deciding the best warehouse inventory management system. In most cases, a pallet racking system is ideal. However, like a forklift, there are many different variations of pallet racks.
Are you moving 1,000-pound barrels of liquid or tons of steel? How high are you stacking inventory? Understanding your inventory will help you select the best pallet racking system.
Don’t forget about equipment management, either. Do you have adequate space to store tools and other equipment safely and according to OSHA regulations? Cabinets, drawers, shelving, and more can help turn a haphazard mess of items into a well-organized system.
A disorganized warehouse is not only unpleasant to the eye, but it can create many potential safety hazards. When inventory or equipment isn’t stored properly, the risk for damage and employee injury increases.
Now that you’ve learned some of what it takes to manage your warehouse most effectively, download our handy PDF for quick reference, below!
While this checklist is broken down into different sections, it’s important to remember that everything is related. A proper inventory management system is going to increase efficiency and safety. Purchasing new warehouse equipment ties into improving your ergonomics, safety, and inventory management. Implementing ergonomic practices will create a safer work environment.
A lot of companies don’t understand or value the true potential their warehouses provide. A safer, more efficient warehouse is going to lead to a more productive warehouse and minimize downtime – allowing your employees to process more orders than ever before.