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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… You’re Not Certified!

By Kate Vitasek | 05/02/2011 | 5:00 AM

Transparency is an oft-used buzzword in logistics and supply chain circles that probably is more wished-for than actually implemented.

It’s really tough to have a collaborative, efficient end-to-end supply chain framework without flexibility and transparency on the part of companies, suppliers, service providers and warehousing operations.

The best way to implement and assure real transparency at the warehouse level is to get it certified. Solutions_industrial_warehousing

The WERC Warehouse Certification Program is a voluntary facility certification program that certifies an individual warehouse facility’s capabilities and its ability to perform core warehousing functions.

The program provides an industry standard grading methodology that includes facility inspections and process assessments by independent third parties. Auditors benchmark and grade warehouse operations against a 5-point scale.
What does the WERC audit include? Download a sample of the information included in a WERC audit report here.

For me, getting your warehouse certified means you have nothing to hide, that your operation is transparent and complies with industry best practice.

What is prompting me to emphasize this point is a recent post from author and blogger Seth Godin that talked about a growing anti-transparency movement in the medical profession and in the Iowa and Florida legislatures. Apparently thousands of doctors have signed up with Medical Justice, a company that wants to restrict online patient reviews. Medical Justice sells contracts to doctors that either expressly prohibit patients’ online reviews or permit patients to post online reviews so long as doctors can remove them whenever they want. This is justified in the name of greater patient privacy.

Similar attacks on truth and transparency are occurring in Iowa and Florida, where state legislators are considering bills that would ban the undercover filming of animal agriculture. In mid-March, the Iowa House passed a bill that would prohibit the production of visual or audio records of an agricultural operation without the owners' consent. The Florida Senate was considering a similar bill that would require owner consent, in writing, for recording of agricultural operations.

Certainly there is a delicate balance between fairness, the right to privacy and the public’s right to access information that has a direct impact on health, well-being and buying decisions.

But imagine if a commercial property owner refused to divulge any information about its propertes or was legally enabled to bar the collection of information by independent third parties while restricting any comment about its operations.

In the long run, transparency and accountability increase product and service quality, value and profits far beyond the costs of building and maintaining barriers around the truth or shoddy behavior.

As buyers increasingly understand that there are good warehouses—because they expect and ask providers to get certified—you will see bad warehouses disappear.

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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