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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Junked Pallets Fill The Building

By Kate Vitasek | 05/16/2011 | 5:00 AM

Sometimes even the briefest of stories reveals huge warehouse problems as this one related by Tim Feemster, SVP, Director Global Logistics at Grubb & Ellis, when I talked to him at the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

Let’s listen to what Tim said:


Thanks Tim for sharing that really bad pallet practice. One really has to wonder what they were thinking! No good can come from a stack of useless pallets that almost certainly will delay or prevent efficient picking and packing operations, induce congestion and impede warehouse efficiency. It’s also a safety issue.

As the WERC Best Practices guide says: “Good housekeeping must be part of any best-in-class warehouse. Best-in-class processes cannot succeed in a workplace that is cluttered, disorganized, or dirty. Poor workplace conditions lead to waste, product damage and safety issues; such as extra motion to avoid obstacles, time spent searching for things, delays due to defects, machine failures, or accidents.” Establishing basic workplace conditions is an essential first step in creating a safe and productive warehouse environment.

Paying attention to warehouse layout is a process of avoiding clutter and maximizing productivity on a daily basis. Most companies put great effort into the initial layout and storage scheme of their warehouses but industry surveys indicate that as many as half the companies do not have an ongoing process in place to review their layouts.

Yes, dealing with empty pallets—junk or not—is a continuing problem, but storing them in the middle of the warehouse floor is not the answer. How about recycling them?

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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