Lulls mean efficiency matters, even when there is less help

Be sure to compensate for lulls.

Be sure to compensate for lulls.

While the holiday retail season is in high-gear, the manufacturing sector may be experiencing a lull. This means there may not be as much work to go around, causing managers to improve their overall efficiency without the help of having excess workers.

A lot of it takes planning. According to Supply House Times, forecasting and equations can help give warehouse managers the knowledge they need to properly plan for inventory lulls. Look at previous sales trends to make estimates. They need to take stock of all the inventory coming in on pallet jacks and make sure they aren’t overspending on equipment or other manufacturing goods that won’t move quickly. With less manpower on the team, navigating the warehouse can take longer, and in order to continue to fulfill orders while being down extra help.

This means the warehouse needs to be organized and easy to navigate, so workers can complete tasks quickly. According to Entrepreneur, having too much inventory can not only delay your workers, it can also shrink profit margins. If you have massive quantities of inventory that you’re unable to sell, that eventually turns into a sunk cost, because you’ve already paid for it and are unable to turn it for a profit.

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The holiday season could mean lighter inventories

How do you predict optimal inventory?

How do you predict optimal inventory?

Bringing in pallet jacks filled with inventory is nothing new for the holiday season. However, warehouse managers are trying to be more strategic about the level of goods they’re bringing in to the stockroom.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more retailers are looking to lighter inventory, rather than stocking up on extra goods that they may not sell during the holidays. The news provider reports this can help companies protect themselves from having to deeply discount inventory they can’t sell.

However, there is a gamble with light inventory. The news provider reports that companies could be putting themselves at risk for selling out of popular items and missing out on potential sales.

Managers need to be smart about sales predictability in order to keep inventory levels low but ensure that customers will have their orders fulfilled. According to National Business Data Systems, there’s no direct way to determine the optimum inventory level for an item. However, it’s important to look at both historical demand and ordering lead time. If you notice two items are really popular, but one takes two more weeks to be shipped than the other, you might want to order more of it up front in order to account for the lag in delivery.

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More offices being turned into warehouses

The warehouse industry is seeing great demand.

The warehouse industry is seeing great demand.

More offices are forgoing supplies in favor of pallet jacks, as there is a rise in the number of offices being sold and turned into warehouse spaces. With the rise in ecommerce, warehouse space is more in-demand than ever, and office managers that are looking to sell their space might consider promoting the conversion to a warehouse.

According to Supply Chain Dive, the rise of on-demand shopping has caused a lot of businesses to rethink their operations. In an effort to stay competitive with companies that are offering quick delivery, businesses need to rethink their warehouse operations to ensure they’re able to execute a delivery seamlessly. As a result, warehouse space is in demand as companies look to have multiple areas to deliver quickly.

The news provider reports this marks a shift toward making all inventory just-in-time, meaning that rather than having a stockroom with lots of items that are there year-round, these warehouses are filled with the inventory that’s most in-demand and only there to fulfill orders.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the warehouse real estate market is in high demand, and real estate analysts have noted that there has been an even greater drive for warehouses that are located in the city, since that’s where the great ecommerce demand is.

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Improve inventory fulfillment in time for the holidays

How efficiently is your inventory coming in?

How efficiently is your inventory coming in?

Are you planning to expedite the process of fulfilling each order during the holiday season? Retailers are under high demand as the holidays are a few weeks away, and it is more apparent than ever that a clear strategy needs to be in place when it comes to moving pallet racks in and out of the warehouse.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, inventory deliveries are on a tight turnaround this time of year, with bigger stores setting in place a “must arrive by” date in order to ensure that their shelves are always stocked. This means that pallet racks filled with specific holiday merchandise are prepared for in advance, so they can be moved quickly from the warehouse to the stockroom. Managers should take the time to look at their most popular items and figure out how often they should be restocked in order to get a calendar of must arrive by dates down.

It seems like customers will be out and ready to spend. According to Nasdaq, the average shopper will spend more than $930 this coming holiday season. This will cause overall retail sales to climb by 3.6 percent from last year, up to $655.8 billion.

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Does oil supply have a positive or negative effect on price?

Analysts have differing feelings on oil's effect on the economy.

Analysts have differing feelings on oil’s effect on the economy.

How much oil moved into storage by way of drum handlers can be telling when it comes to price strategy. The oil industry has been fluctuating its value in recent months, particularly as analysts feel there is a lot more oil in storage than previously reported. However, how much effect does the price of oil have on markets? It depends on who you ask.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some analysts suggest that low oil prices can actually benefit the economy, because it encourages consumers to buy more of it and the cost of manufacturing materials tends to drop. However, the news report also states that other schools of thought believe that it has damaging effects to the oil industry. Additionally, as an economist points out, just because some suppliers are seeing a drop in cost does not necessarily mean that they will lower the prices to benefit consumers.

The New York Times reports that because there is such a surplus, supply and demand of oil will remain pretty stagnant, leading many to wonder whether or not the industry will be able to get back the strength it once had. However, there is a greater demand from outside countries, which could help the global levels.

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Could night shift workers be at a higher risk of other issues?

Are you keeping track of the health of your night shift workers?

Are you keeping track of the health of your night shift workers?

If you’re working with drum handling equipment on the night shift, you may notice it’s sometimes hard to stay focused and fight feelings of tiredness. Working the night shift is common in the warehouse world, but those who are on the schedule know that it can be difficult.

According to the Atlantic, health professionals recommend that people don’t try and work multiple night shifts in a row if they can help it. However, for some employees, the ability to pick and choose is not an option. According to the news provider, there is a condition known as Shift Work Disorder, which shows that those who are frequently on the night shift may find themselves prone to making errors on the job, suffering from irritability or can be moody.

Working night shift hours can also bring long-term health issues if not properly treated. The Huffington Post reports that diabetes, breast cancer and obesity are all issues that people who work the night shift have a higher risk of getting. It’s important for managers of night shift workers to know the dangers and make sure that employees who are at risk are getting the proper treatment to ensure health is a top priority.

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Drum equipment can help reduce injury

Reduce stress to the body.

Reduce stress to the body.

Warehouse employees who have to deal with heavy drums could accidentally cause injury to themselves if they’re lifting something large and awkward. This could cause unintended strain to the muscles, ultimately affecting workplace performance and could have longstanding effects if left untreated. Using drum lifts can help reduce the burden of doing the physical lifting.

According to Reliable Plant, managers should provide the proper material handling equipment, such as lifts, in order to handle all heavy inventory. Additionally, should workers be handling any hazardous materials, they should be given the proper protective gear to ensure that they’re kept safe while on the job.

It can be in your company’s best interest to keep a safe work environment. Not only does it keep costs down, but the news provider reports that safe workers have a higher employee loyalty, as safety precautions help generate trust.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are many benefits to making the upfront investment for reducing injury. It can help lower healthcare costs, avoid fees and reduce the amount of money spent on injury claims and out-of-work employees, ultimately saving you more from your bottom line in the long run. Additionally, having healthy workers can help improve overall productivity.

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Proper hazmat understanding can help with response, training

Do you know how to model training for every worker?

Do you know how to model training for every worker?

Working with drum handling equipment means that employees can sometimes be putting themselves in danger with hazardous materials. Depending on the contents, a spill from a drum can put a facility’s structure and employees in danger. Due to this issue, managers should make sure that their workers are properly trained in response should an accident occur.

According to Occupational Health & Safety, keeping items like absorbents, squeegees, mops and other materials all around the warehouse help employees respond to a spill much quicker, ultimately preventing hazardous materials from spreading and affecting more people.

It starts with knowledge. The news provider reports managers should have stock of what chemical hazards they have in their warehouse and the specific dangers they present. This can help determine what training needs to be done. As the news provider points out, someone who is taking liquid out of a drum should be trained differently than a worker who is using the drum handling equipment to transfer it.

According to the EHS Daily Advisor, with each drum that comes into the warehouse, managers should read the labels to determine all the contents and then look up any responses for hazards, so they’re able to effectively communicate the precautions the team should take.

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Surge in oil inventory causes prices to drop

Oil inventories surge.

Oil inventories surge.

Those working in the oil industry have been wondering about the unaccounted for inventories of crude oils. While drum handlers take the materials in and out of storage facilities, there was concern among analysts that there was a significant amount of inventory that was unchecked.

Despite forecasts suggesting the reserves would be much lower, MarketWatch reports that the U.S. crude stockpiles increased by 9.3 million barrels last week, causing prices to drop significantly with the surplus. The news provider reports that if the U.S. Energy Information Administration can confirm the increase, it will be the largest growth in the country since March. Additionally, the news provider reports that this figure would put the country above where it was at this time last year with its oil inventory count.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the heads of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries met in order to try and decrease the amount of production made by its members. However, certain countries are asking to be left out of the agreement because they face other disruptions that could affect their supplies. Analysts are concerned that with this latest surge in inventory, the deal would weaken and less people will be on board.

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Training is critical for dealing with flammable liquids

A manager should be able to properly train his or her employees.

A manager should be able to properly train his or her employees.

Working with drum handling materials means workers can come into contact with potentially harmful contents. It is important that every employee who handles drums is properly trained on how to deal with the contents and can spring into action should an accident occur.

Drums can sometimes contain flammable liquids that not only put employees in danger, but could also affect the entire warehouse if not properly handled. According to EHS Today, there are approximately 1,400 fires each year that are caused by flammable liquids. The news provider reports that flammable liquids won’t be going away, as they’re necessary in a variety of industries, but training is paramount for ensuring that everyone handling the contents, as well as their peers, stays safe.

The news provider reports that in order to have a proper training, you need to have a strong understanding of what liquids could be hazardous, as well as what needs to be done in the event of an emergency. Once you’re able to properly convey this to an audience, build a training program around the rules and regulations.

Organizations such as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration provide explicit guidelines on what to think about when handling hazardous materials. If you ever seen unsure as a manager, be sure to read up on the regulations so you can train your team properly.

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