When talking about warehouse safety, businesses turn to the basics. They often talk about OSHA rules and regulations, proper training and equipment usage, the latest technology that helps to prevent injuries; the list goes on. What we don’t often hear businesses discussing is one of the top causes of warehouse injuries and hazards: inefficiencies that lead to rushed operations.
Warehouse employees move quickly, sometimes quicker than they need to. This isn’t always the result of increased demand for products. It can often be the result of warehouse inefficiencies, and addressing this root cause can go a long way towards creating a safer place to work.
Today, we’re diving into how you can make your warehouse safer by creating efficiency in these areas.
Warehouse loading docks are one of the top places for slowdowns, which creates bottlenecks that can be dangerous in multiple ways:
- Carriers are forced to navigate crowded areas and tight spaces
- Staging areas are packed with freight that needs to be moved
- Employees are forced to work quickly to clear or load trailers and make room for other trucks to get in and out
This congestion in the dock area is a hazard for everyone, which is why keeping docks clear can be one of the best ways to prevent injuries and dangerous situations in your warehouse. The best practices for reducing dock congestion in your warehouse include:
- Stay in communication with carriers to confirm their ETA for delivery. Ask carriers to share ELD data with facilities, which allows facilities to identify times where congestion will be the most severe. This allows warehouse teams to react and make a plan to relieve congestion where it’s hurting them the most.
- Analyze data to recognize peak times for delivery and allocate resources and manpower to reduce unload time.
- Create a pattern flow: get trucks in and out of your facility quicker and prevent jams by making sure signs are clearly posted. Carriers should be able to understand the flow of traffic easily.
- Optimize loading and unloading procedures: review your current procedures to decrease time spent with trailers at the dock.
Read our case study to see how King reduced dock congestion with this client!
Optimize Warehouse Layout and Picking Speed
The very layout of your warehouse can be creating inefficiencies that cause hazardous conditions. Proper organization is a necessary step all warehouses must take to streamline their operations. How can you better utilize the space in your warehouse in order to increase efficiency and create safer operations? Steps to take include:
- Think vertically: warehouses have a great amount of cubic volume. Stacking inventory vertically clears aisles, allowing workers to move more efficiently. It also increases the number of products you can keep closer to loading bays, reducing travel time when loading/unloading trailers.
- Focusing on fulfillment and pick speed: optimizing pick speed relies heavily on four aspects of travel (the starting point, the item’s location, the location of the packing station, and where the loading bay is located). There are many other factors to consider. Take a look at our fulfillment speed guide here.
Pick a Safety Focused Partner
Whether you are looking for complete outsourced warehouse management solutions or need to optimize your in-house warehouse for efficiency and safety, choose a 3PL partner who can help you achieve your goals. At King Solutions, we specialize in warehouse efficiency and safety. We provide custom tailored solutions that include just-in-time delivery management, warehouse distribution, and everything in between. We partner with you to streamline the process at your facility, or take on your whole operation at our Minneapolis or Chicago location.
Ready to talk warehousing solutions? Get in touch with our team for a free consultation today.