It’s estimated that 1% of product stock is damaged in warehouses every year. This may not sound like much but when you look at this from a global perspective, you’re looking at $50 billion lost every year. No matter your industry, wastage and damaged stock affects your bottom line, so it’s important to have robust practices in place to limit the chance of stock loss.
Reduce waste, costs and damage
While it is true that “accidents happen”, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate the risk of damaged stock in your warehouse. Here are four easy ways to proactively prevent product damage in your warehouse.
1. Use the right tools for the job
Make sure all your logistics assets are in working condition. Check pallets for damage, loose nails and splits and have them replaced as soon as possible. A regular check and rotation of pallets is essential to maintaining a health stock of useable pallets.
You should also make sure that your forklifts are using the right attachments for the job. There is a huge variety of attachments for forklifts that allow them to carry specific shapes and objects safely. So, when considering your products, explore whether there are easier ways to move them than using traditional forks. Finally, make sure your operators are correctly trained in the use of new attachments and lifting procedures.
2. Reorganise your warehouse
A warehouse designed to accommodate lift trucks can dramatically reduce the occurrence of damaged products. Of course, space is a large pain point for a warehouse, so warehouses are often more cramped than would be ideal. The use of Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) trucks can be an excellent answer for safe, efficient product picking in warehouses where space is at a premium.
Intelligently laid out warehouses with clearly marked lanes can help your trucks and staff move around your warehouse without colliding with each other. With a logical, ergonomic layout that promotes productivity, you can really make your warehouse work for you as well as reducing damage to stock. Keep a strict tidying schedule too, as debris and spillages can cause accidents to both your staff and your stock.
3. Work smarter, not faster
A logical warehouse layout is the first step towards smarter working. Orderly schedules and forward planning not only increase staff morale and productivity, but will help eliminate the risk of accidents. When pickers are tired and stiff from working at unnatural angles, they make mistakes and product gets dropped, crushed, or tossed carelessly in a way that can damage it.
Workstations should be set to the correct height. Pallet trucks can lighten and ease the task of dealing with loaded pallets. Using balancers, hoists, and lifts can help reduce physical stresses. In addition to preventing costly injuries, this will help prevent damage to products as they are being picked, packed, or processed.
Remember to consider your operator and picker turnover. If you have a stable, experienced workforce operating your forklifts, your operators will be able to handle a tighter, more challenging warehouse. Finally, think about the pace that you expect of lift truck operators. A high pressure warehouse needs to be easier to navigate when time is a serious factor.
4. Weight Watch
Collapsing shelves and tipping forklifts are a key cause of product damage in the warehouse. Calculate the carrying capacity of your shelves and make sure it is clearly labelled at all levels of your aisles. This will ensure rack stability and avoid shelf breaks or the dreaded “domino effect”.
Make sure your operators are familiar with the limits of the forklifts in your fleet so that they don’t overload them. Two trips can prove to be much less costly than one overambitious pickup.
Streamline Your Operations
At the end of the day, wastage and product damage will never reach 0%. Stock gets dropped, lift trucks break down and machinery goes haywire. But following these few tricks, you can help mitigate the chances of an accident. Experienced staff working smart in a logically designed warehouse with the right tools will keep your products safe and sound. www.phl.co.uk