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Three Hallmarks of Warehousing Quality

If we were giving grades for warehouse management, those grades would be based upon three factors:

  • Housekeeping
  • Retention of personnel
  • Retention of clients

Why housekeeping? If we are storing pig iron, why should we care if the plant is clean and orderly? A little dirt will not hurt the product, and the customer is not likely to notice. Yet most of us tend to associate good housekeeping and good management. When managers don't care, they neglect the workplace. When the workers notice that the management doesn't care, then they neglect it too. When nobody cares, housekeeping just keeps getting worse. A disorderly workplace is a safety factor. If there is debris in the aisles, people can fall and hurt themselves. If different items are mixed in the stack, time is wasted in digging out the items that must be shipped. If your largest customer were permitted to take an unescorted tour of your warehouse, is there any part of it that you would be ashamed to have him see?

Almost every manager wants to have the right people on the bus. However only the best managers are able to keep them there. Unfortunately, the logistics industries are noted for high turnover of people. Trucking is the worst, sometimes approaching 130% per year. While warehousing has more stability, those operations with heavy seasonal surges are forced to turn people. If longevity of hourly personnel is low, then look at longevity of supervisors, managers and officers. Experience counts, and when nobody has been on the job for long, it is hard to develop quality and consistency.

Client retention is a measure of management's ability to keep customers as well as to win them. Some turnover of customers is perfectly normal. Economic conditions and other factors beyond management control will cause some clients to leave. However, when we see a warehouse in which no client has been with the company more than a few years, there is good reason to question the stability of the operation.

 

K. B. Ackerman Company
2041 Riverside Drive
Suite 204
Columbus, Ohio 43221
Phone 614-488-3165
Fax 614-488-9243

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