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Warehouse Operations Rules That Work

Warehouse Operations Rules That Work

I've spent the last 41 years observing operations in a variety of warehouses. Some of these facilities were well-organized, receiving, storing, and shipping products quickly. Others had significant material handling difficulties. 

One thing that all effective warehouses have in common is that they have written regulations and procedures for every form of material movement, as well as precise standards for staff behavior. 

Here are some general guidelines that our "best of class" clients have followed:

1. All material movements should be correctly recorded in the company's computer system [i.e., enterprise resource planning (ERP) warehouse management system (WMS) software].

2. A material disbursement will be documented on a clipboard hung on the wall at each warehouse exit if it cannot be instantly entered in the organization's computer system. At least once a day, assigned clerical personnel will enter transactions from the clipboard.

3. Material disbursements that are not properly recorded in the organization's computer system or on a clipboard are deemed stolen. All thefts will be vigorously prosecuted by the organization.

4. All warehouse employees are responsible for keeping the facility clean and tidy. Trash should be picked up and deposited in a trash can. If employees uncover misplaced or damaged stock, they should alert management (through notes on a warehouse "white board" or other means).

5. Employees should maintain a tidy appearance at all times. Loose clothes are not authorized due to the risk of injury.

6. Portable entertainment systems or cell phones with headphones may not be used in the warehouse while employees are working due to the risk of injury.

7. All warehouse employees must read and understand all sections of the organization's Policy and Procedure handbook that apply to their job tasks.

8. Management assigns separate aisles in the warehouse to all warehouse staff to examine and clean at the conclusion of each work day. 

The following are some of the tasks that must be completed:

  • Clear the aisle of any rubbish.
  • Any inventory that has to be packed or reworked should be noted (notifications will be sent to warehouse management)

9. Make a note of any primary bins that are short on goods and need to be replenished from alternate bins (notifications will be sent to warehouse management).

The annual review of each warehouse employee will include a discussion of how well they follow the work rules outlined in this manual that apply to their position.

Employees will know what is expected of them if policies and procedures are documented. As a result, warehouse operations become more productive and efficient.

We'll start talking about developing protocols for each form of material transportation next month. Please let us know if you have any questions in the meanwhile.

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