Operating a warehouse professionally is much more difficult than simply driving a few forklifts around and stacking boxes. There are set procedures involved in unloading and storing items, and the entire process needs to be monitored, organized and optimized for safety and efficiency on all fronts. This is especially true when it comes to the supply chain – the stage where items are delivered and unloaded into the warehouse inventory. To help warehouse managers and owners get more out of their payroll, equipment, and square footage, we’ve compiled the following list of 5 ways to improve and secure supply chain operations:
1. Ensuring the Presence of a Supervisor
First and foremost, everything needs to be monitored and assisted by at least one member of the managerial staff at all times. Someone experienced enough to run the supply chain needs to be on standby and ready to step in to provide guidance and assistance to the crew members. Even if you already have a few cameras set up to monitor events like truck unloading, there are no substitutes for having a manager there to oversee the process in-person.
2. Practices for Preventing Cargo Theft and Tampering
The on-shift manager should be working not only to organize and keep an accurate record of the delivered and unloaded inventory, but also to be on the lookout for employees, drivers, passersby, and anyone else who may be attempting to steal or tamper with an item. Theft or tampering can occur at any stage, so it is important that supervisors be mindful of item count and condition on an ongoing basis to prevent cargo theft in the supply chain.
3. Optimizing the Unloading and Loading Processes
Most warehouses have loading docks that make it easy for any truck to back up and unload items onto a level platform. However, not all truck beds are the same height, and some may be significantly higher or lower than the height of the elevated loading dock floor. The best solution for this common problem is to bring in some advanced loading dock equipment. For example, dock boards or yard ramps can create a smooth ramp to bridge the gap between the rear of the truck bed and the floor of the loading dock, so items can easily be wheeled from the truck onto the loading bay with minimal strain on employees.
4. Use Efficient Inventory Tracking Systems
Every shift manager should be aware of how to track and record inventory on standardized company spreadsheet and invoice templates. In fact, all employees involved in the supply chain should become oriented with the process of inventory tracking. Whether it be through a digital solution like a mobile inventory tracking app run on an administrative tablet, an old-fashioned barcode scanning device, or written on printed forms, there needs to be a static method of keeping track of the inventory as it arrives, and all of the crew members should be familiar with it.
Remember Trust Starts with the Employees
In closing, remember that regardless of how efficient and fine-tuned your processes are, if the employees aren’t trustworthy, there’s always the risk that something will go wrong. In any warehouse environment, you need crew members that know how to operate their equipment and perform their duties quickly yet safely, with a primary focus on trust and efficiency.