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Archives for April 2010

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If... Your Warehouse Won!

By Kate Vitasek | 04/26/2010 | 7:32 AM
Since my first post in August of last year, I have been looking for those really horrible warehousing practices that continue to take place in the industry. My goal was a lofty one; to help eliminate bad warehouse practices!  For each blog I set out to explain a real story of a bad warehouse practice in action, why it was hurting the company, and provide resources and best practices to help the industry move forward.  The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) joined forces and together we decided to offer prizes for the most bizarre, hilarious, and downright horrible practices we could find.

The result was that dozens of individuals submitted their own bad warehouse practices - many with photos to prove it!  We uncovered warehouses that could live up to the reputation as a "Bad Warehouse."

The winners were selected from those stories that have been submitted and posted on the blog since August of 2009. A team from DC Velocity, Supply Chain Visions and WERC read each of the blogs and voted on their favorites.

The winner of our grand prize, the warehousing assessment from Supply Chain Visions, is John Craig. John contributed two bad warehouse practices. You may recall the posts about Carlos and Joe and their cross-docking and replenishment adventures. As you could easily tell from the pictures in both posts, it was indeed the same warehouse and always an adventure.    The real twist on this one is that when we contacted John he was pleased to give us an update that his bad warehouse, a Coca-Cola Enterprises warehouse, was so bad it went out of business!  It seems they discovered their bad warehouse was beyond hope and the best fix was to simply close up shop and consolidate the work with another warehouse in the region.   

I had said my goal was to eliminate bad warehouses....and that is indeed what happened to our winner!   The good news is that John reports he was liberated from working in the bad warehouse and has joined PetSmart where he is pleased to report he has escaped the perils and adventures from his warehouse.   The moral of the story?  Even big, well known companies can have bad warehouses.  And I am glad to see that this one realized it and did something about it!   And we are glad to see John is happy at work in his new warehouse!

The runner-up was Noreen Ryan CLP, Vice President of First Logistics, LLC, for her story about the witty and quick thinking manager who uses the ALTO system for locating inventory in their warehouse.  Maybe you haven’t heard about the ALTO system… It stands for “Ask Lift Truck Operator” and may have been an industry best practice during the dark ages of warehousing. However, not anymore!   Noreen wins the conference registration to the WERC Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

To everyone that has contributed a bad warehouse story, thank you!  If you have submitted a bad warehouse story and it has not been featured on the blog, do not worry. You are still in the competition for next year.  Every other week I pick the best ones to blog on. 

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to Kate@scvisions.com. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free warehouse assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If... Forklift Driver Klaus Works For You!

By Kate Vitasek | 04/12/2010 | 4:04 PM

Sometimes it is not the warehouse that is the problem, but the people in the warehouse that do not use their top noggin when making decisions. Since the beginning of the blog, we have showcased several incidences where the people working in the warehouse have made bad decisions.

You may recall the forklift driver in Moscow who couldn’t help but test the product. Then there was the other forklift driver, who should have been an Olympic athlete. Either way they made poor choices while at work.

In the spirit of there never being too much of a good thing, visually speaking, here‘s another video on making bad decisions. This time it is courtesy of German film makers who created a parody of 1980’s work safety videos. The video, title “Forklift Driver Klaus – The First Day on the Job” (in German, GabelStaplerfahrer Klaus – Der erste Arbeitstag), is about a forklift driver named Klaus. The video walks the viewer through all the potential pitfalls a forklift driver has to watch for while operating in the warehouse.

Please be advised the film is rather graphic and may not be for those with a weak stomach!


Making bad decisions do not happen just in German warehouses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OHSA, records show that about 100 employees are killed and 95,000 are injured every year in forklift accidents in the United States.  According to Martin Murray, OSHA issues more citations for bad forklift practices within the warehouse than for any other area. For best practices, we will defer to the OSHA guidelines for forklift training, as outlined by Mr. Murray:

  • Train, evaluate and certify all operators to ensure that they can operate forklifts safely, follow safe procedures for picking up, putting down and stacking loads
  • Drive safely and never exceeding 5 mph and slow down in congested areas,
  • Maintain sufficiently safe clearances for aisles and at loading docks or passages where forklifts are used
  • Train employees on the hazards associated with the combustion byproducts of forklift operation, such as carbon monoxide.

Just in case you are wondering how they use forklifts in exotic locales around the world, maybe this picture will give you a clue. The picture was sent to us by Paul Delp, President of Lansdale Warehouse Company.

Forklift Pick up

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to Kate@scvisions.com. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free warehouse assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Kate Vitasek

Kate Vitasek

Kate Vitasek is a nationally recognized innovator in the practice of supply chain management. Vitasek is founder of Supply Chain Visions—a boutique consulting firm specializing in supply chain management. She is also a faculty member at the University of Tennessee's Center for Executive Education. A prolific writer, Vitasek has authored the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' best-selling mini-book series, Supply Chain Process Standards, and has contributed to other management books as well. Along with Karl Manrodt of Georgia Southern University, she co-leads WERC's popular annual benchmarking study.



About Steve Murray

Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a Principal Consultant and Chief of Research for Supply Chain Visions, a boutique consulting firm specializing in supply chain management. Prior to joining Supply Chain Visions he held a variety of functional and management roles in the distribution and manufacturing sectors, including 15 year managing an IT consulting firm. Steve has been instrumental in development of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional's "Supply Chain Management Process Standards", the Warehousing Education and Research Council's Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmarking & Best Practice Guide" and the WERC "Warehouse Certification Program". He is lead auditor for the WERC's Certification Program.



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