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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If... Your Forklift Driver Brings Down the House Part Deux

By Kate Vitasek | 01/04/2010 | 10:14 AM
Back in December I talked about the forklift driver in a Russian warehouse who brought the house down, possibly after sampling some of the facility’s alcoholic beverage inventory.

Well in the spirit of there never being too much of a good thing, visually speaking, here’s another shocking example of really bad warehouse layout management and questionable forklift antics.

This short video was provided to us by Jason Morin, which was forwarded to him by a colleague. Neither have any idea where or when this incident occurred.

It’s yet another example of things set up to go way wrong, and of course they almost always do.

The forklift driver had no business trying to squeeze that oversized box through such a narrow aisle opening. What was he thinking? He did show some remarkable speed and agility in getting out of harms way but not a lot of either when it comes to handling inventory.

The layout situation here is also a textbook example of how to create a dangerous and ultimately costly bottleneck on the warehouse floor.

Our WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide has quite a lot to say about good housekeeping and safety: It’s a crucial element for any best-in-class warehouse. “Product damage can be reduced by setting up separate receiving and putaway staging areas,” the Guide says. “This helps to reduce congestion and traffic flow in receiving, staging and warehouse areas.”

A good idea is to store product as much as possible off the floor, and using pallet flow rails “reduces damage from fork trucks and helps keep staged product organized,” The WERC Guide continues.

The video also illustrates the absence of a slotting strategy, or rules that control how product is placed in an optimum warehouse location. “The goal of slotting is to optimize the use of the building’s cube space and to reduce travel time for putaway, replenishment and picking.”

In this case the narrow aisle slot and the careless driver produced exactly the opposite.

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 [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 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).

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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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