To cycle count or stock-take

Any business, large or small, must perform some sort of count of their inventory at some point in time. There are two commonly accepted methods of counting inventory stock: stocktaking or cycle counting. The method that will best suit a particular company needs to be carefully considered as they are drastically different and can have a significant effect on company operations. This article dissects the two methods of counting inventory and explains how each method affects your business.

Stocktaking

Conducting a stocktake is when the entire business might need to shut down or work after hours for a period of time to allow for each individual item to be physically counted. This count is then compared with data obtained from the inventory management system.

In the ideal world, these two sets of data will agree, indicating: that the inventory management system works well, that no inventory stock items have gone rogue costing the company, and that the staff, well, know how to count. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to make mistakes when conducting a stocktake. These are often either the physical count or the fact that an error in the system that has been carried forward each stocktake.

Another negative effect of stocktaking is that the entire warehousing and manufacturing processes must be shut down for the duration of the stocktake as any extra items receipted into or removed from the warehouse can alter the count and result in errors. This shut down costs the company money both in the down time and in the staff time taken to physically count every item.

For a large business with many items of inventory, conducting a stock take once a year might be insufficient, but a small to medium-sized businesses may well be able to function quite happily stocktaking annually as the inventory stock is less in number and far easier to control accurately.

Cycle Counting

Cycle counting is where a certain proportion of inventory stock is counted in intervals. The count of this proportion is thought to be representative of the whole and likewise, if the count of this proportion is accurate, then it is assumed it can only be so if the entire inventory is accurate.

A bonus of this method of inventory counting is that within a certain time period, perhaps a year, the entire inventory has been counted. This, of course, happens without the need for a large-scale shut down because the smaller the count is, the more controllable it is. We have already discussed the costs associated with a shut down and staff time, therefore cycle counting can be a more cost-effective option for the company.

Two assumptions must be made in cycle counting. These are that firstly, the accuracy of the counted items must represent the accuracy of the entire population (or warehouse of inventory in this instance); and secondly that any errors identified in the counted items must represent errors that exist in the population.
Due to the frequency of cycle counting, any errors that emerge can be acted upon quickly and therefore any knock-on effects can be minimised or controlled. This certainly is beneficial as errors left to multiply can quite quickly have a dramatic effect, cost the company and require a significant amount of time to correct.

Stocktaking or cycle counting are entirely individual choices to the company, however the effects of each should be carefully considered. In larger companies, it might be extremely difficult to halt warehouse operations for a period. However, smaller companies may be able to shut down with relative ease and it may also be easier to identify and rectify errors that emerge once a year.

Regardless of the method of physical counting you employ, it is imperative to have a good inventory management system in place to function collaboratively with your choice of count.

Theft Prevention Tips

With the large value of inventory on hand, your warehouse is a prime target for thieves. If you’re looking to reduce theft in your warehouse, then you can try some of these simple warehouse theft prevention tips.

Inventory shrinkage is a costly reality for most warehouses. Sadly, one of the most common causes of inventory loss is warehouse theft (which is often an inside job). The tricky part is identifying whether missing stock is due to theft or simply misplaced or mis-picked inventory.

Why do employees steal?

They’re struggling to make ends meet.

Very often when an employee is struggling financially, they may be tempted to steal from their employer – either taking items home for their family or to sell for cash. Their justification is that they need the item/s more than you do, thinking the company won’t miss or can easily afford to replace missing stock.

An “you owe me” attitude.

Some staff may believe that the company they work for owes them something. They don’t see pilfering stock as theft – it’s simply taking what was rightfully theirs to begin with.

Opportunists

Opportunists. These thieves will take something desirable just because they can. Small stock items like make up, clothing, food stuff, and electronics are most at risk of opportunistic theft, as the thieves will take items that are easy to access and conceal.

The best way to identify theft in your warehouse is to conduct regular cycle counts or stock takes. The more accurate your inventory data, the faster you’ll pick up on theft. Without regular stock takes, you may not even notice that inventory levels are shrinking suspiciously until months down the line – by which time you’ll be haemorrhaging cash.

Look out for the following red flags that could indicate warehouse theft:

Your stock levels don’t match your sales records

Staff rumours suggest theft is taking place

Certain team members avoid taking their annual leave

Stock is constantly found near exits or loading bays

It is very difficult to prove that someone is guilty of warehouse theft without catching the person red-handed. It’s much easier to put security measures in place which help you avoid theft altogether.

If you notice any discrepancies, look into them immediately. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to ascertain whether the missing stock items are lost or stolen.

Take a look at your shift register to see who was on duty when the stock went missing. If you begin to notice a pattern between missing stock and certain staff members on duty, monitor their activity in the warehouse. If you notice any suspicious behaviour (such as consistently clocking in or out at odd times) then you may need to investigate further.

CONDUCT BACKGROUND CHECKS BEFORE HIRING NEW WAREHOUSE STAFF

Doing a basic background check on criminal records will drastically decrease your chances of warehouse theft. Says Gulf Business, “Numerous subsets of screening services may be included in an employment background check. Which ones you choose will depend on a whole host of variables, including the nature of your industry, nature of your business, what kind of role you’re hiring for, where in the corporate hierarchy that role falls, and your organisation’s level of risk tolerance. Beyond that, you should be mindful of the laws and regulations affecting your organisation.” They add, “The bottom line is that when they’re done properly, background checks can help ensure the integrity, fairness, and consistency of the hiring process. That’s good for those doing the hiring, of course, but it also benefits honest candidates who are playing by the rules and giving employers an accurate picture of themselves and their qualifications.”

Check the criminal history of potential employees as well as checking with previous employers to find out how long the person worked there and why they left. Trust your gut – if you’re not sure about someone’s credibility, don’t hire them.

EDUCATE EMPLOYEES ABOUT COMPANY POLICY ON THEFT

Make sure all your staff are aware that you have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to theft or fraud. Have them sign a code of conduct that clearly outlines how violations will be punished.

Additionally, you can identify anonymous channels for staff to report any suspicious activity. If everyone knows that their colleagues are keeping an eye out, it will deter thieves due to a higher chance of being caught. 

LIMIT ACCESS TO STOCK IN YOUR WAREHOUSE

Use the physical layout of your warehouse to create barriers that help to prevent theft. Separate your receiving and shipping docks where possible, to prevent newly received stock exiting on an outbound truck before it even enters your warehouse. Keep your pick faces and inventory storage locations as far away from your shipping and receiving areas as possible. The only stock that should be near these areas are incoming and outgoing orders.

Provide visiting truck drivers with a dedicated lounge area to wait while orders are being loaded or unloaded. Only staff should have access to your warehouse or distribution area.

ENSURE YOU HAVE ROBUST SECURITY SYSTEMS IN YOUR WAREHOUSE

Installing security systems like access control and CCTV cameras not only deter criminals but also provide evidence if the theft is caught on camera. These cameras should be strategically placed in high-risk areas. You can also install security mirrors to maximise visibility and prevent blind spots in hard to reach corners of your warehouse.

Additional security measures like unplanned warehouse walkthroughs by supervisors, team leaders or management can act as an additional deterrent. Make sure these walkthroughs are completely unpredictable. Some key areas to check include shipping and receiving bays, and entrances and exits. Security personnel should be stationed at every entrance/exit to the building. Be sure to inspect any vehicles leaving your warehouse to check for any unauthorised stock leaving the premises.

Staff and visitors’ parking should be located separately from your warehouse operations. No private vehicles should be near your warehouse.

How a warehouse management system helps to prevent warehouse theft

The less accurate your inventory records, the faster your warehouse becomes an easy target.

Knowing exactly what stock you have on hand (and where that stock is located in your warehouse) helps you identify missing stock immediately and ultimately reduces warehouse theft. However, trying to keep track of stock manually often leads to errors – especially if you’re doing infrequent stocktakes.

This one of the key benefits and why you need a WMS.

GETTING FLEXIBLE IN YOUR WAREHOUSE: STOCKTAKES VS. CYCLE COUNTING

Your WMS allows you to be more flexible in your warehouse, moving from traditional stocktake methods to cycle counting.

Cycle counting ensures that your inventory is frequently checked for accuracy – without interrupting your operations. You simply count small subsets of inventory in various locations in your warehouse, on an immediate, daily or weekly basis. Not only is this a more productive and efficient method of inventory control, it’s easier to spot theft because you can spot discrepancies sooner rather than later.

There’s no single solution for warehouse theft. It takes a combination of strong processes, security systems, warehouse management software and excellent hiring criteria to reduce theft in your business. We advise taking precautionary measures to raise awareness, identify weak points and limit opportunity.

SC Junction

Warehouse Ergonomics and Health and Safety

In a warehouse, objects are often placed at towering heights that are hard to reach without using some type of equipment, such as a forklift or a man-aboard order picker. Workers are often in danger of being hit by objects falling from heights or by reaching and bending into shelving to get to a product. Improper handling of boxes, pallets, cartons and items can cause strain and injury to different parts of the body, especially the back.

Warehouse hazards, though, create more accidents because of the massive quantities of products of all different sizes, shapes and weights stored on shelves, floors and anyplace else someone can find a place to put a box, pallet or carton.

The top injury categories at a warehouse are:

Slips, trips, and falls

Each year, more than eight million Americans will be treated in emergency rooms due to an accidental fall. If items are stored haphazardly within the distribution centre, such as sticking out too far from a shelf, or placed in the middle of an aisle, workers can easily injure themselves by tripping over or running into these items. Making sure floors are dry and slip-resistant can prevent slips, trips and falls.

There is additional risk when stepping into a rack to pick an item while picking on a man aboard order picker. Warehouses that use manual picking have to put a person up to those towering heights to retrieve picks that aren’t full pallets (which they would use a forklift for). Not only does that expose a picker to the over-exertions of bending and reaching into racks, they have to do it 20 feet off the ground. This is a recipe for disaster.

Ergonomic-related pains

Lifting and handling materials — Improper handling of boxes, pallets, cartons and items can cause strain and injury to different parts of the body, especially the back. Heavy, big objects should be placed in the “golden zone,” where workers do not have to bend, reach or lift above their shoulders or below their waists.

Overexertion injuries — These occur when workers lift items that are big and heavy for a long period of time, resulting in excessive physical effort. Injuries can occur to joints and ligaments. Also, in the warehouse workers walk to pick orders. The trip length between picks can be quite long, especially if the warehouse is not organized properly. Properly planned pick paths, SKU rationalization and appropriate slotting of SKUs can help to cut down the length the worker must travel to fill orders.

Material handling incidents

Falling objects — Items not stored properly can fall and injure someone. If the storage racks do not have end-caps, items can just slide right out onto the floor causing injury.

Forklifts — Most accidents occur in a warehouse at/with the docks, forklifts, conveyors, storage units and manual lifting/handling. Forklifts can overturn or they can be overloaded, subjecting materials to falling off. Accidents between forklifts or between a forklift and another surface can cause serious injury. Operators need to check hydraulic levels, tire pressure, engines, controls, steering and brakes each day to make sure all are working properly. Forklift work platforms can minimize risks for those doing overhead tasks.

Ergonomics and productivity

Ergonomics is important in the warehouse for safety as well as productivity, but productivity does not necessarily mean harder work. It often means less touches and interactions – and to handle items correctly to reduce the risk of injury. Workstations should be organized with tools, parts and components close by in a neat orderly environment.

Ergonomics means designing the job to fit the worker to help reduce muscle fatigue and potential injury. Working in the golden zone, which is the area nearest to the core of the body between the shoulders and knees, is the target area for ergonomics. Operating in this zone, items should be presented to workers in such a way that they rarely need to lift their arms above their shoulders or reach below their waists.

Reducing injuries increases productivity, which is important in today’s consumer-driven marketplace that demands distribution facilities operate as efficiently as possible.

Ergonomic equipment

A good ergonomics program can decrease risk of injury, reduce travel time for workers, and optimize space — driving significant improvements to the bottom line and a more efficient operation overall. Let’s look at ergonomic equipment that can be used to reduce injuries in the warehouse.

It is very common for workers to injure themselves by reaching deep into a pallet rack in order to pick a case. If a case is stored on a pallet on the floor, they have to bend and reach, limiting their ability to properly lift the case and increasing their odds for injury. If the case is stored deep within the pallet rack, visibility and reach is compromised and further jeopardizes the worker’s safety when picking a case. Using pallet flow racks can ensure that the case is at the point of pick, and that workers do not have to climb into a pallet rack to reach them.

Tilted pick trays allow workers to get a better look at cases stored higher in the pallet rack, and allows them to pick that case without blindly reaching into the rack or scaling the beams. Equipment that allows the picker to slide products to the point of pick can also help workers avoid overexertion and injury.

Building a safety culture

Train employees on each piece of equipment — how to operate it and how to stay safe when using it.

Ask your workers to report if they see unsafe conditions or activities. Tell your workers you want to make sure they get home safely to their family, which is why you have established these procedures. Show them you care about their safety, and they will care about it too.

Regularly train employees, from new hires to long-timers. Keep reminding them of safety issues.

Make sure equipment is well-maintained, work spaces are clean and warehouse aisles are clear from clutter to keep people from tripping.

Encourage employees to be aware of their surroundings at all times and stay alert. Have them wear personal protection equipment when appropriate.

Warehouse Hazards

Workplace safety standards continue to improve each year; however, today’s workplace, especially within a warehouse, can still include dangerous environments with many potential hazards and associated risks.

Warehouse safety goes hand in hand with productivity. Lost workforce hours, damaged stock and machine repairs all eat away at the bottom line, so taking a serious approach to safety means much more than just making sure you are compliant.

Forklifts

Forklift accidents are some of the most serious types of accidents in warehouses due to the sheer size of the vehicle and the fact that it operates in such close proximity to workers on foot. One simple mistake can be very dangerous. Drivers often become comfortable using forklifts, which in some cases can lead to carelessness.

Forklift accidents come in two basic kinds: driving into something or mishandling materials. In the first instance, you may have a damaged forklift or damaged racking. The worst-case scenario is when a person has been hit, which of course can be a serious problem. Mishandling materials is usually the result of over stacking a forklift. This leads to damaged stock, high waste and a mobile hazard that could tip over at any moment in any place, endangering the driver and anyone else around the forklift.

To reduce the chances of an accident, only trained employees should use forklifts. While some workers may think they know how to operate a forklift, if they are not trained, they should not be allowed to use this type of equipment. Operators who have received the proper training should be enrolled in refresher courses on a regular basis to avoid complacency and bad habits.

Slips and Trips

Slips and trips are common concerns in warehouses, as liquids may be spilled, gravel can end up on the floor, debris can create risks, and boxes and pallets may be left in the wrong place. All of these can increase the risk of slips and falls.

To avoid these hazards, make sure you have detailed procedures for where things go and what employees should do when a spill or similar issue is encountered. Personnel should also be appropriately attired, including the proper shoes. Floor tape can be used to identify potential hazards, while good lighting can improve visibility.

Manual Handling

Injuries resulting from workers attempting to lift heavy objects are the most common types of accidents after slips and trips. These injuries can occur suddenly or over a period of time and be disabling, affecting the back, shoulders and feet.

Lower back pain is one of the most common warehouse injuries. Manual material handling, including order-picking and pallet-handling, leaves employees prone to injuries. It is estimated that back and shoulder pain makes up approximately 40 to 50 percent of all claims filed by warehouse workers. The risk is elevated when a person handles heavy loads. You can easily modify your warehouse to minimize such tasks. Provide proper training so workers lift items without risking injury. Also, never ask employees to lift anything that is too heavy, and ensure appropriate footwear is worn to avoid slips while lifting.

Fire

Fire is one of the most serious threats to warehouse safety. Building permits, clearly marked exits, fire extinguishers and training are required in workplaces for a reason – to minimize the danger of fire. To prevent this major hazard, avoid exposed wires and cover them with nonflammable materials if necessary. Pay attention to any leaks, unidentified spills and gases that could ignite. If a fire hazard is detected, shut down the area immediately and report the problem to the warehouse manager, fire officer or safety officer.

Falling Objects

A common material-handling practice in warehouses is stacking objects on high platforms and shelves. As racks get higher, the risk of falling objects increases. Therefore, material must be fully secured, especially at higher elevations, and transported using stacker trucks or other appropriate tools. Secure racking can keep stock from being damaged and protect those underneath it.

Avoiding Warehouse Accidents

One of the first steps in avoiding warehouse accidents is understanding your local, state and national safety regulations. These laws not only are intended to keep you in compliance but also to help you maintain a safe working environment.

Safety Handbooks

Safety policies and guidelines should be made available to all staff members. Having a handbook readily available will keep safety guidelines at the forefront of people’s minds and give them a reference point should they need it. Written policies also cover both employers and employees against accidents, claims and responsibilities.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Using the wrong tool for any job presents a significant chance of injury. It is essential that anyone completing a job has the correct tool at hand and follows the proper procedure for use.

Signs

Clear signage should be displayed throughout the warehouse indicating the potential hazards, correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for all hazardous areas and the actions that should be taken following an accident.

Floor Markings

Floor markings using coloured tape can be useful in keeping walkways clear and for preventing workers with the wrong PPE from unknowingly entering an unsafe area. Taped areas can also help production in busy plants by marking specific waiting areas for part queues.

Warehouse safety is an issue that affects all stakeholders, from board members to forklift operators. Not only is it critical to the wellness and productivity of your workers, but it also has a real impact on your bottom line.

The Importance of Reverse Logistics

What are reverse logistics? How do they affect your supply chain? What can you do to leverage reverse logistics and improve your bottom line?

Read more to find out how the return of goods can actually create potential profit for your company. Learn how to measure and assess your company’s reverse logistics system. Find out some of the benefits that come with a good reverse logistics workflow.

What Are Reverse Logistics?

Reverse logistics refer to monitoring the life-cycle of your products after they arrive at the end consumer. This could include how your product could potentially be reused, how it should be properly disposed of after use, and any other way where your expired product can create value.

The reverse logistics that directly impact supply chains the most are the return of products from the end consumer back to the manufacturer. For the rest of the article, we’ll explain more about this process, and ways you can use it to your advantage.

The Return of Goods Sold

Most supply chains will stop measuring the success of their goods once the product is shipped and is delivered on time. While this is can be an accurate measurement of customer satisfaction and profit, it doesn’t account for all cases.

What if your customer receives an incomplete order? What if they feel the item they ordered doesn’t match the product description? Or what if the customer just changes their mind about their purchase? In all three of these likely scenarios, the return of your product qualifies as reverse logistics.

Think about the different phases a product return goes through at your company. These could include:

The physical shipping of the returned product.

Quality testing the returned product to replicate the error or identify the flaw.

Documenting any problems with the returned item.

The disassembling, repairing, recycling, or restocking of the returned item.

Managing the reverse travel of your product back into the supply chain can help you avoid making the same mistake twice and allow you to reutilize as many components of your product as possible.

Monitoring the Flow of Reverse Logistics in Your Supply Chain

There are four key supply chain analytics that can help you understand the flow of returned products entering your supply chain. They are as follows:

1. Volume. Are the same items being returned over and over? Is this happening in large volumes? Answer yes to either of these questions and you’ve probably got a larger problem than just a few faulty units. You may need to consider a recall or an overhaul of your production process.

2. Percent of Sales. What percentage of your sales are lost to product returns? And how many of these products can be reincorporated into your supply chain via reverse logistics? According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, the average manufacturing company will spend 9% – 15% of total revenue on the returns process. What can you do to minimize these losses of revenue? How can you turn a profit on a loose?

3. Condition the Product is Returned In. Is the product failing after a specific operation? Can you determine any patterns of failure among the returned product? This is where quality assurance (QA) and error reproduction are important. You want to figure out what went wrong so you can adapt and correct the problem before it happens again.

4. Financial Value. Without monitoring and managing your reverse logistics, your company could be losing millions of dollars in potential value. Consider failed electronics that are returned to their manufacturer. According to “Recovering Lost Profits by Improving Reverse Logistics,” electronics sold in secondary-markets “represent an estimated $15 billion (sold) in the United States.” These electronic companies manage to turn product failure into new profits by utilizing reverse logistics.

The Benefits of an Efficient Reverse Logistics Systems

While many companies consider the return process to be a necessary evil that shouldn’t be noticed, companies that implement an effective reverse logistics workflow can reap several benefits.

Some of these benefits are:

Reduced costs. By planning ahead for returns and making the return order right, you can reduce related costs (administration, shipping, transportation, tech support, QA, etc.)

Faster service. This refers to the original shipping of goods and the return / reimbursement of goods. Quickly refunding or replacing goods can help restore a customer’s faith in a brand.

Customer retention. Dealing with errors is just as important as making sales. If a customer had a bad experience with your product, you have to make it right. Fulfilment blunders can create educational opportunities. Learn how to keep your customers happy and engaged with your company – even after you’ve made a mistake.

Reduced losses and unplanned profits. Recover the loss of investment in your failed product by fixing and restocking the unit, scrapping it for parts, or repurposing it in a secondary market. With a good reverse logistics program in place, you don’t have to leave money on the table. Take a product that would otherwise just cost your company money and turn it into an unforeseen asset.

Essential Warehouse Components

Over the past 30 years, the role and meaning of the warehouse has changed significantly. Greater emphasis is now being placed on customer satisfaction, retention, and the need to modernise the warehousing operation.

Many companies have started viewing their warehousing operations not as a direct expense but as a significant profit centre. With the right management, this will significantly contribute to the welfare of their business.

Innovative technologies have started improving warehouse management system applications. Some applications are voice technology, pick-to-light, automated storage and retrieval systems, and pick-and-go-order selection. There are more widely used applications like radio frequency identification, automated material handling equipment, and bar-coding.

When people consider optimising warehousing operations, a significant percentage of them have the tendency to make decisions towards upgrading of existing equipment and applications. They tend to overlook a number of essential components that will affect the operations of any warehouse, if appropriate and frequent attention is not accessible.

Six major neglected components:

Training and procedures,

Rules and regulations,

Tools,

Housekeeping and safety,

Identification, and

Paper work.

1. Training and Procedures

It is relatively inexpensive yet it will have a significant impact and greater return on investment in your warehouse operation. To do so, the warehouse manager must insist on the proper implementation of procedure manual creation and frequent training. Warehouse operations that lack up-to-date manuals and training plans are likely to suffer from low productivity, potential safety issues, and lack of control.

The only way forward is to document all warehousing activities into easy-to-follow procedures and implement a compatible training programme that will match the department’s operational needs.

This is important for business development and progression of employees.

2. Rules and Regulations

Managers should communicate with their staff on how they should be doing their jobs. They must be prepared to exhibit to staff the correct way of completing jobs in the working environment. Never assume that staff can handle the assigned task. Managers must double-check to ensure that they can correctly deliver it.

Extra support has to be given to new staff, as they need time to familiarise themselves with the new environment and company policies. An easy way to enhance the understanding of rules and regulations is to create posters and place them clearly on visible locations within operating areas.

3. Tools

Managers must ensure that their employees have the right tools readily available to perform their tasks. This will definitely have a significant impact on business. According to the writer, not only are the right tools important but quality tools are just as essential.

Tools are recorded into three main sectors:

Warehouse tools (Forklifts, racks, dock levellers, and black boards),

Cleaning supplies (Brooms, dustpans, and dust bins), and

Safety items (Face masks, hand gloves, earplugs, and hard hats).

Proper maintenance schedule for all equipment is important for productivity and safety.

4. Housekeeping and Safety

Good housekeeping practices will result in improvements in safety, productivity, and morale. Implementing specific cleaning schedules will ensure a clean and safe working environment.

Floors must be kept clean—swept at least once a day, spills must be cleared quickly, and debris should be picked up immediately. Aisles, exits, and doorways must be kept clear at all times and clearly marked. Employees must be aware of all exits from buildings and stores in case of an emergency. Outlets, plugs, cords, circuit breakers, and light bulbs should always be in good working order.

Fumigation

Quarterly fumigation should be observed at all times and must be conducted by registered applicators. The goal of fumigation is to maintain a toxic concentration of gas to kill the target pest population. Upon completion, a certificate stating all types of chemicals used should be issued to the company and kept for safe-keeping. These certificates must be ready for inspection by authorities.

Pallets

All stock keeping units must be placed on pallets or racks. Staff should never stack products directly on the warehouse floor—to avoid product damage from potential spillages or leaks from the roof.

Stacking and Storage

Products can be stacked in a warehouse with the use of cartons, crates, flat sheets, and coils. The shape of a stack depends on the storage space available. Stacks can be arranged in a column, square, pyramid, or triangular forms. The aim is to prevent cross contamination.  For example, detergents must be stored away from foodstuff and sweets. Electronic appliances must be stored away from cartons of hard soaps because of moisture issues.

First-In-First-Out (FIFO)

Proper application of the FIFO method will ensure optimum movement and accurate handling of all goods in any warehouse. It will safeguard businesses from ending up with expired products.

Damages

All damaged and rejected goods must be isolated and kept in a separate location within the warehouse area. Staff must ensure proper documentation of such goods and keep them separated from the rest. 

Medical Fitness Test for Store Handlers

A medical fitness certificate issued by a recognised hospital or clinic must be obtained for all warehouse staff. This will certify them as being fit to handle any food or pharmaceutical products in their stores.

5. Identification

The warehouse manager has to ensure clear identification of all stored products and locations in the warehouse. This will assist the order picking, as well as the loading and unloading of goods, and ensure accurate progression.

Use clearly readable labels on pallets or bulk stacks of cartons,

Mark floors to designate floor storage assigned areas,

Use signs to identify aisles,

Use clearly marked storage space to place all material handling equipment when not in use, and

All depot-inbound stock keeping units must have identification tags.

6. Paper Work

Create easy ways for required documents such as customer invoices, delivery notes, and orders to be stored electronically and manually. Maintain a proper filling system in each store to ensure accuracy. This will ensure continuity at all times.

In reality, the six components represent important but neglected components in any warehouse. Go ahead, give them a try, and talk to your people about what it is required and make all necessary changes to ensure an efficient and effective warehousing environment.

Warehouse Security basic’s

Warehouse security is a critical component for any modern business dealing with hardware products. All hardware equipment and products are stored in warehouses, typically farther away from where distribution of the equipment takes place. In order to deter theft or vandalism, strong security measures for warehouses should be taken. Many people still neglect the simple steps involved in a security plan and, as a result, their company experiences major losses. According to statistics, businesses lost $114 million in the U.S. in 2016. This figure is about 13.3% higher than theft in 2015, which was about $100 million.

This trend has been rising continuously over the past two years—thieves managed to steal expensive equipment, materials, and other items due to security breaches.

Warehouse theft prevention requires a strategic approach—apply it to increase the security of your warehouse during work hours and when the space is empty. Don’t merely rely on manual data entry operations anymore, because they’re outdated. All risk-related inventory should be protected using the latest technological solutions. Also, remember to design an emergency response plan to educate your employees to react accordingly.

Vulnerable Areas That Need Protection in a Warehouse

Ensuring warehouse security means that you cover all the space’s vulnerable areas. Those include gates as well as warehouse doors. Make sure that your staff is trained to react quickly, in the event of theft, and that they’re able to protect themselves.

Warehouse theft prevention includes more than securing entrances and exits. It also involves protecting your inventory—including moving goods, machinery, and equipment. It’s better to prevent theft than to deal with it; therefore, make sure you provide strong exterior gate management, a robust alarm system, appropriate landscaping, and reliable employee identification.

Warehouse Theft Prevention Measures‍

To increase warehouse security, you can start by installing keyless access control. Your warehouse doors will have maximum protection, due to state-of-the-art technology, and it can save you time granting and denying access in real-time to different employees or delivery men. You can send keys remotely so that you don’t have to be on-site and you can manage and track which doors are accessed at unattended locations. Access logs will be produced and can be retrieved automatically for each door, and the credentials of every person entering the facility will be recorded. You can also set up alerts to be notified when any of your locations are being unlocked, at what time, and by whom. 

It’s important to pick a suitable fire alarm, and most will integrate into your access control solution. It’s recommended to integrate fire protection at the installation stage of your access system.

It’s highly recommended to use surveillance cameras in your warehouse. You might also want to utilize glass break detection.

Don’t forget to utilize employees IDs. Ask your staff members to wear ID badges so that they can quickly identify each other and notice any potential thieves who do not possess a badge. ID badges will also be helpful for exterior gate management. The people without them will simply not be allowed inside, which significantly decreases the probability of a theft.

Highly efficient burglar alarms will help boost your warehouse security.  If thieves find out that they are detected with an alarm system, they might run away without taking items in your warehouse inventory. An alarm helps the police to respond to the crime quickly, but just having an alarm system without an access control deterrent is a poor strategy. The two should work in tandem for a strong warehouse security policy. 

Implement the steps mentioned above and bring your warehouse security to a new level. Don’t underestimate obvious necessities, like well-lit doors, boundary lines and loading areas.

Here are some tips to help you secure your warehouse:

-Always separate spaces with physical partitions for receiving and dispatching goods.

-Entrance and exit doors of the warehouse should be guarded with a physical access control system that updates over the air to ensure the highest protection standard. 

-Devise a proper policy for trash and scrap removal from the warehouse.

-Vehicle loading should be done through separate channels for better warehouse security.

-Install a CCTV surveillance system for live monitoring of internal and external activities.

-Proper zoning of the warehouse security system should be done for better security management.

-Don’t allow visitors to roam in the warehouse without supervision.

-Establish proper control of the outgoing shipping schedule.

-Properly inspect the vehicles going in and out of the warehouse.

-High quality security lighting systems inside and outside the warehouse should be installed.

-Regular review and maintenance of the warehouse security system should be done.

-Fire equipment should be installed at appropriate locations.

-A security assessment of your warehouse location should compared with local crime records.

-Always try to devise customized measures for warehouse security that are fit for that particular area.

-Implement latest high-tech physical access control system and integrate it with surveillance and alarm systems.

-Internal staff should be properly interviewed before being hired.

-The security procedures and policies should be followed strictly.