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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If…It Has A Dirt Floor

By Kate Vitasek | 06/27/2011 | 5:00 AM

This weeks bad warehouse story comes courtesy of Tom Freese, principal of Tom Freese & Associates Inc., and involves a dirt floor in a "clean room."


I’d add to what Tom said about it being “a little hard to reconcile a dirt floor with a clean warehouse”: It’s impossible to reconcile a dirt floor with a warehouse, most especially any facility that handles food, perishables and in this instance, pharmaceuticals.

Job No. 1 at any warehouse, no matter what goes in and out, is establishing and maintaining a competent efficient, safe and clean operation.

It’s not that hard to keep a warehouse clean; on the other hand a dirty warehouse speaks volumes about the owner’s attitude and image. I can’t think of a situation where a warehouse best practice benchmark would include dirt or a dirt floor.

No matter how automated or filled with management systems a warehouse may be, proper maintenance and cleanliness is the most basic and necessary bell and whistle. The WERC Best Practices Guide says this: “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 ... Establishing basic workplace conditions is an essential first step in creating a safe and productive warehouse environment.”

So even if you don’t have a dirt floor, always keep it clean!

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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