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You Might Have a Bad Warehouse If... Your Cross Docking Involves Crossing the Street

By Kate Vitasek | 11/09/2009 | 9:46 AM

This bad warehouse item was brought to us by someone wanting to remain anonymous - we will call him Joe Receiving. Joe works for a Fortune 100 company's "local sales center." The company has more than 100 local DCs around the country that distribute their product in major metropolitan cities and Joe's warehouse does about 2.5 million cases per year.

Joe reports, "Our ancient warehouse is in a residential area. We have a main warehouse for picking and an CCE 2972(smudge)overflow warehouse where we put most of our putaways into primary storage. The problem is that the warehouses are separated by a public roadway and forklift operators have to cross the street to put product away. Now this would not be bad if it was an "exception" - but we do it hundreds of times a day!"

I concur with Joe Receiving - he indeed does have a bad warehouse! It takes the definition of cross-docking to a sublime new level I had never seen.

Other words that come to mind are dangerous and downright embarrassing. Poor Joe and his forklift driver have to be on the lookout for traffic while maneuvering the pallets in what is obviously a small space with poor sight lines.

Joe Receiving - we will be sending you a copy of the Warehousing Education and Research Council's Best Practice Guides so that you can share your bad warehouse story with your management team! We recommend that you take it to your boss and point out the section on The alley(smudge)Material Handling. It begins with valuable insight on good (ware)housekeeping: "Poor workplace conditions lead to waste, product damage and safety issues; such as extra motion to obstacles, time spent searching for things, delays to defects, machine failures, or accidents. Establishing basic workplace conditions is an essential first step in creating a safe and productive warehouse environment."

Thanks for this revealing and surprising example of a bad warehouse operation that is happening right now!

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 perhaps 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 [email protected].

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 submissions can be anonymous if you like so you don't have to 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, $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).

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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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