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Material Handling Equipment

3 Best Practices for Warehouse Management Amidst the Pandemic

As 2020 moves toward Labor Day and the end of summer, this year is likely to be remembered as a time of unprecedented supply chain challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic’s many disruptions. Demand for some products has surged, while others have seen sharp declines. This, along with ensuring employees have safe working environments, has made it difficult to effectively plan staffing. Volatility across demand and labor continues to challenge supply chain managers, and there is no clear indicator of when/if conditions will stabilize.

As volumes continue to rush through the supply chain at an unpredictable pace and workforce conditions become more stringent, efficient and intelligent warehouse management will prove essential to addressing volatile volume and maximizing workforce potential. Here are 3 best practices for warehouse management during uncertain times.

Determine Maximum Capacity

Clearly defining and pre-determining your facility’s maximum capacity is the first step in effectively handling volume volatility in real-time. It allows your warehouse to focus more on throughput as opposed to relying on accurate forecasting which becomes difficult in unpredictable times.

To determine capacity, warehouse managers must address numerous factors, including warehouse space, available dock doors and MHE, business profile parameters, and labor resources. Kenco helps its customers understand the constraints within each of these areas and develop a tested business continuity plan to refer to when volumes fluctuate. This enables your operation to pull the levers needed to meet demands, instead of trying to figure out operational limits while handling daily tasks.

Communicate Clearly and Consistently

It’s all about communication. Now more than ever, the workforce depends on warehouse management to stay informed on ever-evolving protocols and precautions to remain healthy in the warehouse and at home, allowing them to return to work each day. When quarantining went into effect earlier this year, Kenco immediately established a COVID-19 Task Force to provide oversight and governance for compliance with CDC guidelines so individual warehouses and associates had a well-defined code to follow.

In an environment where personal health and safety has always been paramount, leading by example and providing complete transparency in communications – constant notifications, alerts, training, etc. – and visibility into preventative actions – frequent cleaning, MHE sanitation, mask mandates, social distancing measures, temperature checks, etc. – will reinforce confidence and comfort in your workforce.

 

Engage the Workforce

Building off of clear and consistent communication with associates – a key first step to engaging the workforce – companies must actively seek ways recognize the value of associates and show their appreciation. The logistics industry has been growing at a furious pace in recent years, making attracting and retaining skilled workers highly competitive.

Beyond competitive pay, the current environment calls for recognition of the challenges that associates are dealing with outside of their careers. Offering flexibility will continue to be a valued form of compensation in a world of uncertainty, as households work to adapt to the various hurdles presented by a new normal, including education, travel restrictions, and more.

 

Like all other facets of life now, warehouse management requires a nuanced, creative, and empathetic approach to effectively deal with not only business challenges but human ones too. The best-practices laid out above will help your warehouse operation be prepared for what’s next, so you can keep the world moving. For more information, or to speak to an expert about Kenco’s Warehousing Services, click here.

 

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Kenco Logistics

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Kenco provides integrated logistics solutions that include distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management, material handling services, real estate management, and information technology—all engineered for Operational Excellence.