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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Your Dock Levelers Aren’t On The Level

By Kate Vitasek | 03/28/2011 | 5:00 AM

The final installment of incredible but true bad warehouse lack-of-common-sense tales from industry veteran Art Liebeskind of Howard Way and Associates includes two sightings that seem so obvious that it’s hard to believe they actually happened.

In the first, Art relates that when he was in another overseas government location—thankfully not the same one with warehouse doors too small to accommodate a forklift!—the receiving dock “was built about 18 inches above the ground. But the dock leveler when lifted to meet the truck bed was at too high an angle for any mechanical equipment to help load or unload a truck.”

DocklevellerSeems like a small thing, a mere matter of inches right? But a look at the picture reveals the problem. A smooth loading or unloading process is simply not possible.

On the same up-lifting topic, but in another location, Art relates “another unbelievable incident” that took place at a brand new warehouse somewhere in Africa. The motor pool was integrated with the warehouse facility and an automobile lift was planned for the new building to replace the old practice of simply working in a pit dug under the auto repair shop. “When we toured the new facility, it was a total shock to see the shiny new automobile lift installed in a room with a 9-foot ceiling!”  That restriction meant a car could be raised just a few feet or risk crashing into the ceiling.

As Art says, some things that seem obvious are often done without thought or even common sense.

While we hope that common sense is present in most warehouse designers, there is hope even if it is not. There are many resources available, including the educational material provided by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC).

“Even if your management does not think ahead, you will be prepared to do so,” Art says.

Again, thanks Art for sharing items from your “common sense” warehousing portfolio of mishaps, proving once again that truth is usually stranger than fiction.

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 WERC Warehouse Certification 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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