Be sure to have considerations when looking at suppliers

Look into not only the suppliers, but also their employee satisfaction.

Look into not only the suppliers, but also their employee satisfaction.

Looking for a supplier to partner with in a warehouse can bring a lot of challenges that managers may not expect. A supplier can make or break your warehouse’s reputation, so it’s important to do your homework and make sure the partnership is not only mutually beneficial economically, but also from a business perspective.

You can’t just bring in any team to transport goods on hand trucks, they need to be properly vetted. Supply and Demand Chain Executive reports you want to look at every report you can find – online or news reports. Also, by looking at their credit report, you can get a sense of whether they’re smart about running the business. The news provider also suggests asking the supplier’s employees about their overall satisfaction, if there is a high turnover, not only could this be a bad sign, but it could mean a drop in reliability in your own dealings.

CBS News reports a common oversight when choosing a supplier is thinking about the alignment. You’ve put in a lot of work into researching your suppliers – are they doing the same for you? The source reports if the supplier is taking the time to do their own research on whether the partnership can be beneficial, it means they’re going to extra step to make sure the relationship is an effective one.

Connect with on Google+.

Don’t fall short when thinking about inventory management

Do you have an inventory management strategy?

Do you have an inventory management strategy?

When you bring in inventory into the warehouse on pallet trucks, do you have a sound distribution strategy? Sometimes warehouse managers can get caught up in efficiently putting inventory away without thinking about the best ways to manage it.

Multichannel Merchant reports you want to think about the organization of your staff and what makes the most sense. The source suggests focusing on skilled workers who have backgrounds in inventory management can bring better organization and can add to brainstorming when certain inventory isn’t selling as predicted.

Additionally, the source says you can improve inventory management by thinking of customer demand. Study trends in customer orders and allocate your inventory accordingly based on demand. For example, ordering more units of a popular product and placing it in an easy-to-distribute spot in the warehouse can help boost the efficiency of order fulfillment, benefiting both the customer and ultimately the business.

Entrepreneur also reports putting a better system in place for tracking the hottest items. The source recommends taking stock of the most popular inventory and marking the boxes with a specific color to make them easier to identify. This means you’ll be able to clearly see when is the best time to make a new order.

Connect with on Google+.

Make material handling equipment safety a focus in your warehouse

Are your employees trained on safety?

Are your employees trained on safety?

If warehouse employees are not properly trained on how to use material handling equipment, they could be setting themselves up for injury on the job, affecting overall production and driving up costs of worker compensation. Before handling something like a hand truck or a lift, an employee should be well-versed in all the safety precautions not only for themselves but also their surroundings.

According to DC Velocity, particularly if you have employees who have to operate on forklifts, it is imperative that you take your time and train them appropriately. Because June 13 is National Forklift Safety Day, a greater importance is placed on properly using the machinery. However, this line of thinking should be happening year-round, as managers place an emphasis on safety on the warehouse floor.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that it’s the law to ensure workers are guaranteed a safe work environment, and employers must do their part to ensure safety on the job. The source reports that different kinds of hazards can be presented depending on the kind of machinery being used. It’s imperative that not only operators are trained on all safety precautions, but also any workers in the surrounding vicinity so they can exercise their best judgment.

Connect with on Google+.

The manufacturing sector grows again in May

Have you seen growth in your manufacturing operation?

Have you seen growth in your manufacturing operation?

Workers continued to move manufacturing goods on hand trucks in warehouses throughout the month of May, as the latest report indicates that the industry continues to experience growth.

Modern Materials Handling reports that growth in the manufacturing sector has happened for nine months in a row, indicating that it could be on the mend following significant downturn during the recession. The news provider points out that any reading on the Institute of Supply Management’s Manufacturing Report that is above a 50 is considered growth. In May, the reading clocked in at a 54.9.

Growth in the manufacturing sector means that warehouse managers need to be at the top of their games when it comes to productivity. With 15 out of the 18 manufacturing sectors contributing to the growth last month, managers in everything from chemical to electrical to retail need to be able to keep up with demand.

Industry Week reports whenever you experience a spike in demand, you should try and have your best workers on-hand to help. This means employees who are well-versed in using material handling equipment and have a strong knowledge of all of their tasks. This can help you boost production levels even when you’re already performing strong.

Connect with on Google+.

Keep dock safety and inspection a warehouse priority

Is safety a priority on your loading dock?

Is safety a priority on your loading dock?

Do you have workers moving inventory on hand trucks to and from the loading dock at an efficient pace? In the warehouse game, being productive is what sets you apart from your competitors, and companies are putting an emphasis on meeting consumer demand in a timely manner.

But what happens if you’ve noticed gaps in efficiencies on the loading dock? They can happen, according to DC Velocity. There could be basic problems, such as not having a clear access point to the loading dock, making it difficult for trucks to line up easily. The news provider also reports that the dock’s door could be too narrow or short, causing a bottleneck issue that means inventory may not be handled with the care that it should be.

The news provider also suggests dock safety should be a priority, so employees aren’t injured on the job, which could make it more difficult to be efficient.

EHS Daily Advisor reports having a professional on-hand to inspect the dock and make sure the dock plate is properly in place and studying the capacity it can hold can help prevent any accidents from happening during the inventory transfer. The news provider reports moving the boards in position can keep them from slipping while inventory is being moved.

Connect with on Google+.

Handle the warehouse floor with extra care

Be careful not to scuff the floor with material handling equipment.

Be careful not to scuff the floor with material handling equipment.

When you’re rolling hand trucks around the warehouse floor, you may not realize just how much damage you’re doing. Despite a warehouse’s setting, the structure needs to be kept clean and free of damage, which means the floor should be cleaned regularly. However, your crew needs to be sure they’re cleaning the floors properly.

According to Modern Material Handling, one of the most common mistakes when cleaning warehouse is just going right to scrubbing the floor. The news provider reports you need to sweep any moveable dust, grime or other buildup, as a precursor to the deep clean. The source reports that about 80 percent of the buildup on a warehouse floor is due to dry particles.

The news provider says forgetting to sweep beforehand can lead to excess buildup on a cleaning machine, causing it to have issues over time.

DIY reports that it is possible for concrete to stain overtime, which is why it’s so essential to do a routine floor clean. You’ll also want to make sure to train your employees on how to properly use material handling equipment, so they avoid damaging the floor due to misuse. If one of the wheels of a hand truck scuffs the floor, for example, try and address the problem immediately and buffer it out.

Connect with on Google+.

Can you handle a worker shortage in your warehouse?

Do you have the right workers to fill roles?

Do you have the right workers to fill roles?

Having a full staff at your warehouse ready to move hand trucks around and get inventory where it needs to be is a critical aspect of staying productive. In an effort to stay competitive, companies are placing an even greater importance on being efficient to ensure they’re meeting the needs of consumers.

However, you should be prepared for any possible lapse in workforce. When employees give two weeks notice, sometimes it can take longer to find the right person to replace them. According to the Flathead Beacon, you need to take your time when hiring on new warehouse staff. The news provider reports if you do not take the time to properly vet potential employees, you could risk hiring someone who may not fit with the culture, and therefore may not last as long.

Forbes reports that warehouses are experiencing a shortage in skilled workers. You need to look at the requirements you need for your employee and properly vet an applicant pool that way. While some training can happen on the job, it’s imperative that they have some familiarity with what’s required for their new roles. The news provider also reports that this shortage has caused companies to be much more competitive with offered wages.

Connect with on Google+.

Be smart when talking safety with employees

Are employees getting lax when it comes to safety?

Are employees getting lax when it comes to safety?

Are you having the important safety talk with your warehouse staff? You need to ensure they’re handling material handling equipment safely and also being cognizant of talking about safety in the workplace to ensure everyone is on the same page.

According to Safety and Health Magazine, it’s imperative to make sure you communicate your safety plans with your workers. The news provider suggests being proactive when discussing safety can go a long way in making the message stick, as opposed to having it go in one ear and out the other.

The news provider reports it can sometimes be difficult to have a safety conversation with someone if he or she may be unknowingly acting in an unsafe manner. The source suggests trying to think of their motivations and tailoring the conversation accordingly. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to having those kinds of talks.

According to EHS Daily Advisor, you may also want to hold a safety pep talk whenever you notice employees are starting to slip in their safety care. If you’ve been noticing a lot of near miss accidents, work areas filled with clutter, employees taking shortcuts during their tasks or failure to report hazards, it may be the ideal time to hold a talk.

Connect with on Google+.

When managing a warehouse, keep communication open and resolve conflict

Is there open communication in your warehouse?

Is there open communication in your warehouse?

When working in a warehouse, there can be a lot of different backgrounds and preferences for doing things. However, to keep operations running smooth, it’s important that everyone is on the same page and communication is a priority throughout the supply chain. You should be communicating with workers handling the hand trucks just as much as you’re working with your fellow managers, and proper oversight is critical.

According to Manufacturing Business Technology, there can be significant consequences to a business if leaders are not on the same page about how to do things. It’s imperative to have a collaborative environment, and if it cannot be achieved by working together, the news provider suggests bringing in outside help like a manage to help see the consequences if the communication issues aren’t resolved.

Communication is key for success in warehouse management. According to Reliable Plant, everyone on staff should be kept in the loop on any communications that pertain to the warehouse as a whole. Additionally, you want to be sure to approach any situation with a human component, so you seem more approachable and staff are more comfortable coming to you with any concerns they may have that pertain to business.

Connect with on Google+.

Non-manufacturing activity ticks up for the month of April

Non-manufacturing goods continued to climb last month.

Non-manufacturing goods continued to climb last month.

There has been a lot of focus on how the manufacturing sector has been faring as the economy continues to face tests. However, there are other aspects of material handling that don’t include manufacturing that analysts continue to monitor as they try to come up with a comprehensive picture of the economy. Finished products on hand trucks in wholesale trade or retail continue to get pushed from warehouse to point of sale.

According to Modern Materials Handling, non-manufacturing growth ticked up in April by 3.5 percent to a 57.5 reading, which is growing for the 93rd consecutive month. Only one aspect of this group decreased, while 17 industries experienced growth, making for an overall positive report. Analysts tell the news provider that this news bodes well for business activity and for what managers have in store for the future.

This figure also beat analysts’ predictions. According to Economic Calendar, the original consensus for April had clocked in at a reading of 55.8. New orders of non-manufacturing materials also increased to a 62.4 reading in April, up from 58.9 in March. The source reports that mirroring what was seen in the manufacturing report for April, exports also strengthened in the non-manufacturing space.

Connect with on Google+.