The Warehouse Manager’s Complete Warehouse Traffic Management Checklist
Warehouse managers have plenty of responsibilities. They oversee the general operation of the warehouse, including maintenance, order processing, packaging, shipping, replenishment, loading and unloading, employee scheduling and complaints, returns management, warehouse traffic and much more. While each of these topics can involve countless tasks, few carry the risk inherent in warehouse traffic. To reduce risk, managers should use this warehouse traffic management checklist.
Address Loadshifting Warehouse Traffic Management
Loadshifting equipment includes manual pallet lifts, forklifts and other equipment that could cause great bodily harm or injury to the people within a warehouse or damage to products, other equipment or the facility itself. Consequently, warehouse managers should prioritize load-shifting equipment use and storage. As explained by Damian Pederick of Cerasis, some of the more effective means of managing load-shifting warehouse traffic include the following:
- Designate lanes for warehouse traffic management. Designated lanes prevent unnecessary crossover between pedestrian and equipment paths. In addition, workers know where to expect equipment in the facility.
- Limit warehouse traffic intersections between forklifts and pedestrians. In addition to knowing where crossovers exist, an effective warehouse should limit the number of intersections between load-shifting equipment and pedestrians.
- Identify and prevent violations of lane use. Anyone found to violate designated lanes or who knowingly use unauthorized lanes should be penalized or otherwise subject to your company’s disciplinary policies and retrained.
Consider Employee Safety
Employees also play a role in reducing risk and managing warehouse traffic. Warehouse managers should solicit employee feedback about safety, and no repercussions to should exist for such feedback. A no-retaliation policy helps create an open-door policy, which improves safety and reduces risk.
Managers should also look for and correct safety problems. Furthermore, follow-through of correcting issues is critical to increasing employee safety. Additional ways to improve safety include making the warehouse pedestrian-friendly. In other words, avoid using load-shifting equipment unless it would result in the use of improper body mechanics.
Encouraging employees to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) will further drive risk down. However, wearing PPE may only be necessary when handling hazardous materials or when exposed to aerosolized solids, like excess dust from moving pallets.
Managers must take another step to ensure adherence to the measures taken to reduce employee risk and increase safety, implementing strict policies, procedures and training requirements for all employees.
The most thorough, effective policies are insufficient without the right signage. All lanes, zones and general rules should be reiterated on signs throughout your warehouse. This helps prevent violations of company policies and reduces risk.
Put up signs for the following areas:
- Exclusion zones.
- Loadshifting equipment storage zones.
- Reasonable speed requirements.
- Pedestrian crossings.
- Loadshifting crossings.
- Changes in gradient.
- Exposure to the elements.
- Blind corners, zones or spots.
Use Technology to Proactively Manage Warehouse Traffic
Modern warehouses can easily rival the largest shopping malls, so warehouse managers need to have a way of overseeing all activities simultaneously. They must use warehouse management technology. Managers should use motion sensors and cameras to prevent and document employees from incorrectly using lanes, and GPS-enabled wearables can automatically report such violations as well.
An Effective Checklist Increases Productivity, Safety, and Efficiency
The warehouse manager is responsible for everything that happens within the facility, including accidents. Rather than increasing risk, warehouse managers should proactively manage warehouse traffic to increase productivity, safety, and efficiency.