Be smart when making pallet jack purchases for your warehouse

Knowing about your pallet capacity can help with inventory organization.

Knowing about your pallet capacity can help with inventory organization.

If you’re planning to reorganize your warehouse, chances are you’ve begun exploring pallet options and what makes the most sense for your space. This gives you the opportunity to map out exactly how much space you’ll need to conveniently move around pallet jacks, how high you can stack the racks and determine your purchase size.

One of the benefits about buying new pallets is you get to determine their capacity, according to the Global Dispatch. Coming into a warehouse with old pallets, you may not be aware exactly how much they can hold, but as with anytime you order new equipment, you get the specifications with delivery. This can help you determine your needs and what inventory should go on which pallets.

As always when working in a warehouse, your organization methods should meet your demand needs. According to the Small Business Chronicle, you should be ordering your inventory in such a way that the items with the highest demand are closest to the distribution area. This space should also be reserved for seasonal items that will eventually be moved to the back of the warehouse once the hype dies down and you’re unable to sell the inventory until the next time.

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Get a plan in place for returns during the busy shopping season

Do you understand the inventory that's coming back?

Do you understand the inventory that’s coming back?

Many warehouse managers may feel they have organizing for the holiday season down to a science. They know exactly what comes in on pallet racks and where to place the hot-ticket items and have a strong inventory management system that lets them know where a product is at any given time. However, a major aspect many managers are struggling with is the reverse.

According to DC Velocity, warehouse managers, particularly in omnichannel operations, are struggling to put a system in place to seamlessly deal with returns. Because it requires extra steps, like sorting, assessing the quality and ultimately determining whether it can be resold or considered lost revenue, and having to process individual items. The news provider notes that because companies are typically equipped to process large quantities of inventory rather than one-off products, it can get tricky with returns.

However, it’s important to still offer a return policy that will help drive in the customers. Forbes reports that more customers are choosing to purchase online based on how seamless the return policy is. With an expected 13 percent of customers making returns this holiday season, many will be looking to retailers that have better return policies than their competitors.

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Make order fulfillment a priority this holiday season

Be strategic when fulfilling orders.

Be strategic when fulfilling orders.

The holidays are a bustling time of year for retailers around the world, and warehouse managers have little room for error when it comes to fulfilling customer orders and meeting demand. This means all inventory on pallet racks needs to be appropriately tracked so managers can keep the pulse on how sales are doing and what needs work.

Multichannel Merchant reports the average cost to a business in an order fulfillment error is between $35 and $50. If you add that up based on all the errors you have when fulfilling deliveries, it can ultimately be a hinderance to your company’s bottom line. The news provider reports that all inventory, when organized and stacked on pallet racks, should be facing the front so workers can scan inventory as it moves in and out of the warehouse.

There are other ways to optimize your operations as well, including packaging. According to Material Handling and Logistics News, selecting the right type of box can help companies run more efficiently. Try and group orders together and keep packaging to a minimum so you’re being both efficient on space and shipping costs. This will also help reduce the chance of a piece of an order getting lost during delivery.

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Retailers are strategic with their holiday inventory this year

Be smart about what inventory you bring in.

Be smart about what inventory you bring in.

Retailers are being more selective with the kinds of inventory they’re putting on pallet racks and rolling into the back stockroom. The holiday season is the busiest shopping time of year, but if retailers aren’t strategic in their stock ordering, then they could be setting themselves up for having a lot of excess inventory.

Reuters reports that retailers have been monitoring the decline of foot traffic in the store, and as a result have not been taking on as much inventory in the backroom. The source suggests that retail managers have taken on big inventory orders past holiday seasons, only to have to mark down all of their excess inventory, ultimately cutting into their potential profits.

The news provider suggests that keeping inventory costs low help manage overall costs, which can allow you to better manage your finances.

Business 2 Community suggests retail managers should always look at previous years’ trends in order to better predict what the demand will be for specific products. Historical trends can be a great indicator as to what you should be loading your pallet racks with. Additionally, if you have a multi-service operation, both online and in-store, then you can keep more inventory in the warehouse and move accordingly.

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When setting up a ladder, making sure your path is clear

Keep a path to the ladder clear.

Keep a path to the ladder clear.

It can be difficult in a packed warehouse to make a clear path, but it’s important that you keep a clear path whenever you plan to roll out the ladder. Sometimes, it can seem like you’re able to set up a ladder near a lot of items, as long as the ladder isn’t on top. However, not having a clear path could put employee safety in jeopardy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says you should never place a ladder near unstable bases such as boxes or barrels, as these can cause the ladder to tip over and potentially injure the worker. You should also make sure that boxes and other inventory do not get in the way of placing the ladder near where you’re trying to reach. If you’re too far away, it could cause the ladder to tip over.

Safety and Health Magazine suggests that managers should make workplace housekeeping a priority in order to keep employees safe. Clutter can increase instances of tripping while on the job. The news provider reports if you keep a cluttered workplace, you run the risk of hiding potential hazards that could put employees in danger. Have a designated time to clear any clutter at least once a week.

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Be smart when using a stepladder at work

Stepladder safety is important, too.

Stepladder safety is important, too.

A stepladder can be a useful tool when trying to reach heights at work. Rather than relying on furniture or trying to balance while climbing on counters, stepladders are a great way to safely reach whatever items you’re trying to. Plus, they’re easy to store, which is beneficial particularly to small office spaces.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Training Toolbox Talk suggests employees should take precautions before each stepladder use. For starters, workers should inspect the stepladder before each use to make sure it was stored properly and everything is still in working order. Open the stepladder and make sure all four feet of the stepladder are even on the floor, and it hasn’t become warped. Otherwise, this could cause the person to fall when in use.

The Department of Labor reports that even when just trying to grab something from a high shelf, you should plan ahead and dedicate time to read the ladder’s manufacturing instructions. Taking the time to inspect the ladder will help keep employees safe. The news provider also suggests that anyone who uses a stepladder should follow the three points of contact rule, meaning two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot should be on the ladder at all times.

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Use the fall to get your building ready for winter

The fall is the perfect time to prepare the building.

The fall is the perfect time to prepare the building.

The winter season can sometimes mean paying a lot more in energy costs, as you’re forced to kick your systems into high gear so you can keep your building heated. However, you can make some adjustments to your building and its ventilation system to keep costs down while still providing warmth this season.

Small Business Trends suggests you may want to get on a safety ladder and inspect your building for cracks. Whether in the ceiling, doorways or windows, cracks can cause cold air to leak in, making your heating system go into overdrive trying to keep the temperature controlled.

The news provider also suggests having a professional crew check out your heating system to make sure everything is in working order and is in efficient working order. Professionals can make recommendations if they notice that your system is not operating in an efficient manner.

The Buildings Blog reports you’ll also want to pay attention to the insulation systems while the weather is still relatively warm and make any adjustments as needed. Be sure to also look at the roof’s drainage system, as backup could spell trouble once ice begins to form in the winter. This can prevent costly repairs from being needed down the line.

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Fall protection can still mean hazards even with the help of a harness

Harnesses can help, but you still need a rescue plan.

Harnesses can help, but you still need a rescue plan.

When needing to climb a ladder at work, employees could be putting themselves at risk for a deadly fall. Managers have been working in recent years to ramp up their fall prevention strategies, but it’s also important to be aware of other issues that could come from those precautions.

Safety and Health Magazine writes that while harnesses for fall protection can be helpful when climbing to new heights, if someone is left suspended in the air for too long before they’re rescued, they could experience a different kind of trauma. In most severe cases, suspension trauma can lead to death if the lack of movement and gravity cause the blood to flow to the legs of the worker, unable to pump back into the heart and putting them at risk.

According to Occupational Health and Safety, there are straps available for the harness that will help employees regain their weight and shift themselves upwards while they’re suspended, returning blood flow. However, if they are unable to use the straps it’s important to have a rescue plan in place for all workers, so employees can spring into action and get their peer out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.

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Keep power lines in mind when working on a ladder outdoors

Have a safety plan in place even when working outdoors.

Have a safety plan in place even when working outdoors.

When working outside, it may be easy to forget about some of the hazards that are typically associated with indoor sites such as warehouses or buildings. You don’t need to worry about a roof limit, and you aren’t pulling large items off pallet racks. However, there are still some hazards associated with the outdoors that all managers should be aware of when training.

According to Safety and Health Magazine, being aware of power lines when working outdoors is essential, as it could lead to accidental electrocution if workers get too close to them while on a job. The news provider suggests all outdoor worksites should be assessed for power lines, and supervisors should make workers aware of the hazards and try to set them up away from the lines. The news provider also advises against using metal ladders when in a very close situation, as it could increase the risk for an electric effect.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that electrocution is the third most common reason for construction-related deaths, but they are able to be prevented. Always make sure that the ladder is stable, so even if you are working away from the lines, you don’t run a risk of falling into them due to instability.

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Put a fall protection plan in place to help keep your employees safe

Have you made a fall protection plan?

Have you made a fall protection plan?

When you’re working at new heights on the job, there is a level of risk that comes with it. It’s important that all employees are properly trained on the various components of ladder safety, so when they set foot on a platform ladder, they know how to safely mount and dismount, as well as keep their fellow employees safe.

According to Safety and Health Magazine, one of the biggest hazards on the job comes from falls, so it’s important that managers are holding regular training sessions on the dangers of working at a height and what it could mean for employees below as well. The news provider reports that there are a number of employers who do not have a fall protection processes in place.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sample plans that it suggests managers use to make adjustments to their specific scenarios. This way, employers have a template they can work off of if they don’t know how to put a proper plan in place. Safety should be top priority for employers everywhere, and a plan can help ensure workers are fully trained on the potential hazards of the job.

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