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You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If…You’re Not Using the Right Forklift

By Kate Vitasek | 10/03/2011 | 2:41 PM

Misusing the equipment, in this case forklifts, never works – it always catches up to you in terms of damage and big costs, as this bad warehouse tale of woe related by Doug Sampson, senior vice president at Acme Distribution illustrates:




Doug’s story exposes a warehouse with clueless and/or ill-trained managers and workers who either don’t know about the proper care and maintenance of their expensive forklifts, or they don’t care. An efficient and smooth-running warehouse begins with a fleet of smooth-running forklifts that are handled properly. In this case someone in charge apparently forgot to read the owner’s manual for its inside forklifts. If they had they might have seen warnings about the improper use of the equipment, and possibly ways to adapt the forklifts to handle both inside and outside storage chores.

It’s also interesting that that it took a third party—namely Doug—to notice the cause of the “out of control” forklift maintenance and repair charges. The problem was hiding in plain sight.

Proper use of the forklift fleet is basic to maintaining an efficient and safe workplace. As the WERC Best Practices Guide says, “Establishing basic workplace conditions is an essential first step in creating a safe and productive warehouse environment.”

Improper equipment use can “lead to waste, product damage and safety issues” including delays due to “defects, machine failures, or accidents,” the guide continues.

Take care and be aware of what’s happening with the single most valuable piece of equipment in the warehouse, because well, it’s just a big building without a well-tuned fleet of forklifts humming along.

You should never ask a tool to do more than it’s designed to do, and the same goes for forklifts.

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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