Want Less Product Damage in the Warehouse? Understand the Causes

high-bay-408222_1280Product damage in the warehouse is both typical and expensive. Summer is one of those times when there are extra factors that can lead to mistakes. You can reduce incidents that cause product damage by understanding typical causes and solutions:

Pallets
There are several ways in which pallets can lead to product damage. The primaries are structure failure and improper wrapping. Pallets can only be used so many times before they start to degrade. Longevity depends on what they’re used for and how they’re handled. If a pallet has a broken or weak board, missing support blocks, or loose nails, it can break apart when loaded. Of course, if overweight, a load can break through a sturdy pallet, too, so you want to always keep an eye on mass.

As for wrapping, when employees are in a hurry or untrained, they may not wrap a pallet correctly, which can be about the same as not wrapping at all. It doesn’t take a lot of jostling for some pallet contents to fall out of an incorrectly wrapped structure.

To solve these problems, always check pallets for quality and calculate the weight being loaded on them. Train employees to wrap them correctly, and emphasize the importance of not cutting corners because they’re in a rush.

Environment
Any kind of stress or obstacle in the environment can lead to mistakes. Feeling behind, poor lighting, debris, missing safety signs, and temperatures all fall under this category. In the summer, overheating is a major issue that can’t be ignored. Even mild overheating can lead to dizziness and fatigue that put employees and merchandise at risk.

There is no one solution to these factors; you have to assess all the risks and address them accordingly. Make sure all areas are well lit and marked, and also enforce a protocol that keeps them clean. Follow safe practices for working in the heat. Using equipment that reduces strain and improves productivity will help, too. A battery-powered tug along with a cart system can reduce environmental risks (more on this in Ergonomics and Training).

Structures
Shelves and racking are prone to topples. Usually this is the result of overloaded shelving, lack of safety equipment (like rack safety netting), and/or careless forklift maneuvering.

Take inventory of your shelves and what they’re capable of holding. If you buy new shelves, be sure to look for reviews, and be careful about buying mismatched, used shelving. Ensure that your aisles are big enough for any equipment needed in that area to get through. Proper training is also a must.
Ergonomics & Training
The likelihood of mistakes goes up drastically when a body is strained through physical labor or unnatural postures/actions. Evaluate what jobs force people to work at awkward angles or endure other stress to their bodies throughout the day, and either correct the task or limit each worker’s exposure to it.

Improper training is, unfortunately, very common, but it is probably the easiest issue to overcome. Train and retrain employees. Always emphasize to equipment operators that their safety and the integrity of the components are more important than speed.

As mentioned above, a power tug, or cart mover, is one solution that addresses numerous risks to product damage:

  • Even a new or temporary employee can safely use a tug with minimal training
  • They’re ergonomically designed, causing little to no fatigue even when used all day
  • Using a cart system for all horizontal movement eliminates numerous risks associated with forklifts
  • Carts can be hooked together to form a train, amplifying the amount of work that can be done at one time

Regardless of your approach, make sure that your facility and your employees are best equipped to expedite a safe working environment. If you’re interested in learning about an electronic cart mover or power tug, contact Load Mover Inc. We’ll help you determine how it could be optimized to reduce damages and injuries in your facility: 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.