How To Reduce Product Damage in Your Warehouse
When transporting products through warehouses, a bevy of issues can occur, from employees dropping packages to improperly wrapping pallets. Suffice it to say that regularly sending damaged products to clients will hurt a warehouse’s reputation. Thankfully, minimizing product damage is easier than you might expect. Below, we’ll discuss how to reduce product damage in your warehouse successfully.
Comprehensive Employee Training
When it comes to the proper handling of workplace equipment, employee training is essential. If you’re regularly sending clients damaged products, one of the first places worth looking at is employee handling techniques. In fact, this is one of the reasons forklift training is so crucial. If employees recklessly load or carry goods on their forklift, the product can easily get damaged, whether from bumping into nearby surfaces or falling off the forklift’s forks.
It’s always a great rule of thumb to ensure any employees interacting with products know how to do so responsibly. Material handling equipment has that name for a reason—it’s meant to handle materials securely. That said, if employees misuse material handling equipment, they can wind up damaging client goods. Furthermore, damaging client goods can lead to damaging client relationships.
Although providing great training for new employees is vital, always monitor employee performance after their initial training course. If you spot an employee improperly handling products, don’t stay silent; address the issue immediately to prevent more damage from happening. Thankfully, there’s a great tool for keeping employees sharp: a refresher training course.
Offer Refresher Training Courses
After going through training, some employees will alter processes slightly or ignore or forget certain rules altogether. For example, a forklift operator who didn’t get much sleep the night before might feel the desire to skip their pre-shift inspection, which can result in costly damage to equipment, product, and nearby personnel. Set up routine refresher courses throughout the year, offering them to any worker who wants to sharpen their skills. Some employees are so proficient, they don’t need a refresher, but that definitely doesn’t mean certain members of your team won’t benefit from these courses.
Create a Routine Cleaning Schedule
So, what does cleaning the workplace have to do with product damage? It’s an understandable question to ask and, luckily, straightforward to answer. Allowing clutter of any kind to gather on a workplace floor creates slipping or tripping hazards for employees. Such hazards are incredibly common but also incredibly preventable.
Minimizing these hazards is crucial because if an employee trips over an empty box while carrying products, they might drop and damage those products. To prevent empty boxes and other forms of trash from cluttering the floor, make sure your facility undergoes thorough, routine cleaning. Routine cleaning can also keep flammable materials, such as dust, from gathering around the workplace.
How frequently and thoroughly your facility requires cleaning depends on your unique conditions—all facilities accrue dust and clutter of different kinds and at different rates. To put it simply, analyze your facility and determine the best course of action for regularly keeping it clean. Cleaning the warehouse isn’t just for appearances; it ensures avoidable accidents don’t damage nearby products or hurt employees under your watch.
Workplace organization also plays a key role in preventing product damage, especially when it comes to company equipment. If random equipment and employees’ personal belongings are blocking walkways in a facility, they threaten employee safety and product security. In order to keep products and employees out of harm’s way, warehouse walkways must always be clear of unnecessary items. As mentioned above, always prioritize the prevention of tripping or slipping hazards because they pose a significant threat to personnel and products.
As you can see, sufficient storage plays a large role in learning how to reduce product damage in your warehouse. For instance, it’s easy for busy manufacturing facilities to accrue clutter if they don’t have the right organizational system in place. When employees don’t have a place to store equipment while they’re not using it, that equipment commonly ends up on the ground. Not only does this present a tripping hazard for nearby personnel, but the equipment itself can receive damage if someone bumps into or trips over it.
Careful and Customized Equipment Design
Besides using equipment correctly, always be sure to design equipment correctly as well. When applicable, work with equipment manufacturers who can meet your specific product needs. For example, pneumatic conveyors are common systems for transporting fine grains and powders. That said, buying pneumatic conveyors without thinking about your products’ abrasiveness or moisture content can result in the materials, or your equipment, receiving damage. Gathering data on your product and building a system to fit its needs takes time, but it will pay off after installation.
Carefully designing material-handling equipment to meet your specific requirements makes it much easier to design a smooth, efficient workflow. There are bulk material-handling equipment manufacturers out there willing to meet your needs, so spend the time looking for the perfect service provider.
Always Inspect Your Equipment
Routine inspection of product-handling equipment is invaluable to preventing worn or otherwise insufficient gear from damaging warehouse products. One of the most important parts of your operations to inspect is the pallets. With sturdy pallets, employees can transport goods throughout the warehouse safely and easily. If a pallet is worn, wonky, or missing parts, replace it immediately. Consistently using broken pallets for transporting products will eventually result in that pallet breaking and dropping your goods.
Always Wrap Your Pallets
One more factor must be considered with these tools: wrapping. Using secure pallet-wrapping techniques keeps products stable and intact while employees transport them around the warehouse. Without proper wrapping, products will fall from the pallets during transportation and either strike an employee or the ground, neither of which are ideal circumstances. Wrapping is a common practice for a very good reason: it works. If pallets are part of your workflow, provide thorough pallet wrapping training to all new employees.
As you can see, reducing product damage is easy with careful preparation. Preventing product damage mainly comes down to taking a closer look at your workflow and making the right adjustments when necessary. Not only do these changes impact product quality, but many of them also impact employee health and safety too.