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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Your Forklift Can’t Even Get Inside

By Kate Vitasek | 03/14/2011 | 5:00 AM

The next edition of incredible but true bad warehouse cautionary tales is also courtesy of industry veteran Art Liebeskind of Howard Way and Associates who shared a bad lighting practice with us last time.

Art writes that when he was a kid he had a neighbor who built a boat in his garage and had to tear down the walls to get it out of the workshop. Apparently this kind of thing isn’t an urban myth and doesn’t just happen in cheesy movies.

“I actually ran into this situation again while evaluating some government overseas warehouses,” Art says.

Government facilities overseas have a fairly extensive warehouse operation for supplies and furniture for the many U.S. nationals living abroad. One facility—no countries are identified in order to protect the guilty—had purchased a new narrow aisle fork truck with a high-reach capacity. “Unfortunately the facility did not purchase a multi-stage mast that would allow the collapsed height to fit through any door in the warehouse!”  Lifttruck

As a result, they had to disassemble the truck to get it into the main warehouse but when reassembled, it could not pass through any of the doors to other rooms inside the warehouse. In addition it could not be used either to load a truck or to stage loads on the outside docks.

Needless to say this situation “made for tough sailing in the warehouse.”

It almost seems absurd to have to say this but a little foresight and planning, a look at equipment and performance specifications and maybe a tape measure would have saved a lot of heartburn, time and money.

Both the vendor and the obviously less sophisticated purchaser were at fault but a few pertinent questions from the vendor would have gone a long way to avoiding yet another example of wasted tax dollars at work.

Art suggested that forklift drivers might benefit from a computer simulation game, Forklift Truck Simulator 2009, which features the problem of driving a fork truck where it just doesn’t fit. “This may be a new form of training that the drivers actually enjoy,” he says.

Thanks Art for sharing another from your “common sense” warehousing portfolio of mishaps.

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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