Welcome to our first Warehouse feature of 2015. The warehouse is as important a part of the typical cash & carry depot or delivered wholesale operation as the back of office or IT systems. In these pages we have articles from leading suppliers of equipment and solutions to help you stay on top in this crucial area.

chazThe message is, you need to keep the warehouse in the best possible condition, and ensure the storage and materials handling equipment is safe and well maintained at all times.

A cash & carry depot is, put simply, a warehouse customers come into and walk around to buy goods. Your customers are important guests on your premises, so make them feel wanted and welcome. Creating the right impression in the warehouse isn’t just about making sure all staff members are friendly and helpful to visitors, it goes much deeper.

The tidiness of the aisles and the condition of the racking where you put your products are important elements in your customers’ perception of your business. The image your visitors have of you is also affected by the state of the doors, floors and lighting. This may sound obvious, but you don’t want anyone to walk away and go somewhere else.

Unlike a cash & carry, the warehouse area in a delivered wholesale depot is not visited by customers looking for products to sell in their stores. That doesn’t mean you can neglect it. You have pickers working in the racking and warehouse trucks replenishing stocks, so the warehouse needs just as much to be well maintained and equipped. Inadequate lighting, for example, can slow work rates down and lead to costly mistakes.

Another concern in these days of striving for maximum efficiency and productivity is warehouse safety. Racking needs to be inspected regularly and manufacturers’ advice followed about inspection intervals. There need to be prominent signs about forklifts working nearby, and floor markings to denote pedestrian-only areas. You also need to give thought to ensuring doors and loading bays are safe.

Finally, if you’re under pressure to unload delivery lorries and get incoming goods onto the racking, telling operators to work faster is not necessarily the best strategy! Forklift accidents can be fatal, and the consequences in terms of fines can cripple the business. All operators of forklifts and other warehouse equipment need adequate instruction from recognised suppliers. And the supervisors of forklift operators need training too.

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