We’ve spoken before about how fulfillment is a crucial and time-consuming aspect of ecommerce. It’s a massive problem if you cannot fulfill your orders efficiently and accurately. But nothing goes hand-in-hand with maximum warehouse productivity like a safe facility and well-trained staff! Since 100 percent of our warehouse workers are Speed Commerce employees (some other operations use staffing agencies), we’ve spent countless hours and dollars to make our facilities safe and our workers protected. Here are a few tips for a safe, efficient fulfillment process.
Organization, Storage, and Identification
The starting point of fulfillment safety is creating a well-planned warehouse. Organizing products, labeling hazardous materials, and keeping the aisles free of liquids/wires/cracks are musts. Dangerous materials and equipment need to be stored in a clearly marked area. For example, parking your forklifts in a designated ‘lot’ in the warehouse, keeping a cardboard baler out of busy areas, etc. Make MSDS sheets in an easily accessible place and educate employees on what they are and how to read them. Schedule your cleaning and ‘straightening’ for a particular time every hour and assign one employee for each shift to ensure that everything is tidy and items are in the proper place.
Provide Training, Foster Awareness
Knowledge is power. Your staff needs to know why the warehouse is organized the way it is, how to keep things in order, and what to do if something goes wrong. From handling products to moving around the warehouse, they need to be aware of all safety procedures, names for codes, and safe zones. Frequent training, posted rules, and new-hire orientations are crucial to keeping all employees on the same page. Using a public address system, walkie-talkies, or an overhead ‘chime’ system to alert staff of various hazards (docking trucks, floor sweepers, or even severe weather) can also work.
Do It Periodically
Recruits must be trained in safety principles, but it shouldn’t end at orientation. Continuous training on various aspects of safety guidelines (for your facilities) and regulations (OSHA laws, local ordinances, etc.) will help guarantee adherence to policies. Still, they’ll also make your employees feel safer. Here at Speed Commerce, we make sure staff is trained via Toolbox Talks: Our supervisors are given a safety article each month, which they review with their team at the beginning or end of a shift. The talks cover everything from severe weather conditions to best practices for organizing your station to FAQs about warehouse employment. It’s a hit, and everyone walks away at the end feeling much more prepared to do their jobs!