7 Habits of Highly Effective Warehouse Practitioners
14 April 2022
An effective warehouse practitioner calls the warehouse their second home: it is a place of work and a place to advance their career. Effective warehouse practitioners are the most sought-after employees in a warehouse because they apply their minds to finding ways to do things better, constantly seeking ways to improve operations with the warehouse. To strive to be a highly effective warehouse practitioner, here are 7 habits to incorporate into your daily routine:
- Ensure Accuracy
Accuracy in the warehouse is critical to the success of all downstream operations. This means that every physical movement of inventory is recorded AT THE SAME TIME on the system used to control inventory: whether it be receiving, put-away, bulk pick transfer, staging, or any other movement with into the warehouse environment. To achieve this, strong processes need to be in place, and the warehouse practitioner must be a stickler for ensuring all warehouse personnel adhere to these processes. Failure to do so can result in returns from customers due to incorrect deliveries, variances in the stock take, slowing down of operations as pickers cannot find the correct stock. All documents must be accurately recorded, the system updated correctly, and physical movement and systems movement always match.
- Good Housekeeping
Good housekeeping may sound like a simple thing to manage but it extends to all areas of the warehouse. Good housekeeping means no empty packaging in the aisles or on the racks, no sharp edges on any racks, aisles and racks are correctly labelled, no cowboys on forklifts and the correct use of PPE at all times. A daily inspection will identify any parts of the warehouse which needs attention. Every person in the warehouse is responsible to correct poor housekeeping, or to report incidents which need attention. Good housekeeping will create a safe environment for all warehouse personnel and smooth operation without any hiccups. This must become a non-negotiable habit.
- Security of Inventory
Theft in a warehouse creates a negative undertone for all warehouse personnel. Theft should never go unpunished; it should be really difficult for anyone to steal anything from the warehouse. Be vigilant for opportunities for stealing and put barriers in place to prevent this. Create a zero-tolerance policy, you don’t have to be everyone’s friend when it comes to security of inventory.
- Be a Team Player
Warehouse practitioners have the responsibility of controlling one of the most important assets of the business – the inventory. Being a team player means that you control the inventory as if it were your own, after all this is the responsibility that you are given by your employer. Wear the company hat at all times, be proud of your company and the work that you do. Both internal and external customers will notice!
- Provide Coaching
In a warehouse, all team members must work together. A warehouse is a highly stressful and process orientated environment with pressure to action inventory movements as quickly and efficiently as possible. If team members are not motivated to uphold the highest quality standards, they will not regard the warehouse as a place that they are proud of. Leading by example is an excellent way to coach new warehouse personnel and provide them with the means to be successful. Respect and dignity go a long way to create motivated warehouse personnel.
- Highly Productive
Highly productive warehouse practitioners are never idle. There will always be times during the day when the pressure is off, what do you do with this time? Do you take a break and drink tea? A warehouse practitioner who is effective and productive will look for ways to improve speed of throughput and generate quick turnarounds of activities. Having a detailed knowledge of all activities in the warehouse will help you to initiate better practices.
- Management by Walking Around
MBWA is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of attempting to control the warehouse from an office, walk the floor. Observe the common practices that occur, understand the challenges that warehouse personnel are up against so that they can be addressed. Things that you may identify include opportunities for quicker receiving, unstable or inefficient use of equipment, expired or obsolete inventory, non-adherence to FIFO rules, to name but a few. Make this a habit, you will be rewarded.
Habits are practices which infiltrate our lives, choose the right habits to be an effective Warehouse Practitioner.
Written by Greta Froise. Managing Director |CPIM, CSCP | Bizzco, Supply Chain Smart