Warehouse Staffing in the Age of COVID
The continued threat of CoVid has turned many warehouses into ghost towns. In both essential and non-essential businesses, employees are coming back to work in waves, sometimes called cohorts, so that they are with the same people each day and not opening anyone up to the virus. If you’re not yet running at full capacity, what can you do in your warehouse staffing to rally the troops to get the work done?
- Now is a great time to invest in inventory management systems. The core people can learn it, then share their knowledge with others as more employees start to return to work. Not only will this strategy make the ones who are back to work more fluent on the system, it will also ease the burden of trying to do too many jobs with not enough people.
- Consolidate similar inventory items. Instead of keeping your inventory on pallets in all 15 aisles of your warehouse, designate a section for current moving inventory so that employees don’t have to travel so far within the warehouse to reach what they need. Keep space for continued social distancing and use pallet racks that can be built both upwards and sideways. Use the space from which this inventory came for seasonal merchandise that doesn’t have to be accessed until Winter or Spring.
- Keep an eye on trends in your industry for online sales fulfillment. The pandemic has created a higher demand for online buying, and customers will want quick fulfillment. If your team tells you they can’t keep up, listen to them. It’s likely this online trend will continue even after the pandemic ends, and investing in it now with some new storage solutions will help prepare you for the trends ahead.
- Consider expanding your e-commerce business. Be prepared for current customers to present challenges with their e-commerce shipping, and be ready with stand-by staff to help with busy periods. That empty part of the warehouse with a few seasonal items in it just may be the place for more e-commerce order fulfillment. Any new storage solutions that support rapid turn-around of orders can be added to your footprint. Our expert warehouse designers can recommend the best way to make cost-effective additions.
- Keep your workers happy, build teamwork and fulfill orders faster and more accurately with incentive programs for the employees who are back to work. Halloween is a great time to begin, so that your team is ready for the oncoming holiday rush. If they need to put in a lot of overtime, some healthy competition will keep everyone on their toes. The rewards don’t have to be monetary, although in this economic climate, it would likely be appreciated. Establish a goal for your teams to be rewarded with a new warehouse storage system or a new, modern fork lift that will make their jobs easier.