Warehouse operations are the logistics center of your business. They are an important part of improving your value streams. A warehouse can also represent a significant investment for inventory-dependent companies. Even small businesses will have thousands of dollars invested in raw goods, parts, merchandise, and equipment such as storage racks, forklifts, and warehouse personnel. Here are some important ways to protect them and your inventory.
Secure the premises
Every door should be a steel security door, and only authorized employees should receive keys. Keep the exterior well lighted, and protect loading/unloading areas with wire mesh fences and gates. Don’t plant trees or shrubs where they might provide cover for thieves. Security cameras should also be installed at critical areas, including storage space for high-priced items.
Consider using RFID chips and scanners to record when pallets leave the building. It’s also a very good idea to place a security guard at a gate around the perimeter of your warehouse. You only need to pay the guard during the day, and can simply keep the gate locked at night. Whatever security you choose to implement, remember to keep your employees in mind as well as your products when you’re planning it. Your security should protect your property, as well as your employees.
Evaluate your layout
Your warehouse should be organized to maximize space and minimize movement. This is important for safety as well as efficiency. Moving forklifts or similar equipment present a danger to materials and foot traffic, especially if employees are in a hurry. Making aisles big enough to mark out separate vehicle and pedestrian lanes can also help reduce accidents.
Be sure to place large mirrors at intersections and provide that all areas are well-lit and supported by emergency backup generators. Remember to keep your most valuable assets, whether that be equipment or merchandise, in your most secure areas. It can be a good idea to make sure the keys are taken out of your forklifts and other heavy equipment items to make sure that no one can drive away with them. You should also provide a place for your employees to keep their valuables while they’re at work, like lockers or something similar.
Enforce rules for shipping/receiving
This is the point where most theft of merchandise occurs. Be sure you have secure overhead doors and security measures in place. The door should be kept close if there are not trucks to be loaded or unloaded. Product waiting for shipment should be locked in steel cages. Put up security partitions, even install a spare restroom, but don’t let visitors such as truck drivers or their helpers wander alone through the warehouse.
Train and retrain employees
Every new warehouse employee should be thoroughly trained in safety and security procedures as well as their job duties. Make sure every employee is certified with your heavy equipment to reduce accidents and potential liability for your company. If you have an employee who is struggling, you should consider having them attend a course at a place like Australia Wide Forklift Training Centre or a similar company. The money you spend on training your workers will be nothing compared to what it would cost you if there was an accident. Employees often tend to adopt sloppy habits, so be sure these concepts are periodically reinforced even for veteran employees. You may want to have them periodically re-certify their credentials on forklifts and other equipment.
Seeing that these standards are implemented and followed may also require the occasional audit. Have a manager with a prepared checklist do a regular walk-through to see that all security, OSHA, and other company policies are being followed.