Best Practices for Warehouse Operations During COVID-19
The recent COVID19 pandemic has hit the economy and the health of people hard, all over the globe. While thousands of businesses have slowed down or shut shop, it’s a different situation for warehousing and distribution of goods as the government places it under the list of “Essential Services.” Offline sales have slowed down but there is phenomenal growth in e-commerce and direct to consumer businesses.
To help warehouses and supply chain logistics cater to customers responsibly, The Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC) recently presented a list of best practices to manage warehouse operations in a webinar. Some of the topics included labour management, safety measures, communication strategies, customer assurance and government regulations for numerous aspects of warehousing management from logistics to transportation.
Why Warehouses Need Good Practices During COVID19
In a recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine published by John Hopkins, it has been found that the Coronavirus 19 can live on surfaces such as cardboard, metal and plastics for 24 hours, up to 3 days. These items are commonly found in warehouses.
WERC says that it is important for warehouse workers to follow strict guidelines to eliminate contracting and spreading the infection as the virus can easily transmit through the workforce handling warehouse equipment. Here are a few best practices to stay safe:
Risk Management and Disaster Recovery Plans
Videoconferencing: A proper Risk Management Plan is key to ensure employee safety, good health and prevent loss. Suppliers should include full coverage plans and hire individuals who are trained in this field.
The Risk Management Plan should be frequently reviewed and updated as new issues appear. Regarding the COVID19 pandemic where social distancing is imperative, the best practice to review matters responsibly is through tele or videoconferencing using digital tools such as Zoom or Skype.
Identify Alternative Sources: In unexpected emergencies, the supply chain is usually affected. It is important to outline alternative sources to ensure proper supply of essential items such as healthcare products.
Workforce Management: As part of the Risk Management Plan, the focus for warehouses should be on job and income stability, employee health and their family’s welfare. Best practices must include social distancing, working from home options, and employee management when product demand slows down. Consider reducing work hours and pay, instead of laying-off staff. A company with high ethics is always more successful in the long run.
Sanitization and Hygiene: Additional precautions such as personal protective gear, frequent hand-washing, sanitizing surfaces, disinfecting washrooms, furniture, equipment and common areas, must be undertaken to mitigate the risk of contracting the infection. Conduct temperature checks and discourage employees from coming in to work if they display flu-like systems.
Digital Communication: Plans must include addressing customer concerns through digital tools. Digital communication must be extended to transportation providers and vendors to monitor deliveries and pickups. Limit access to the warehouse and take temperatures to monitor health. Meet service providers at the gate or in the yard instead.
Disaster Recovery: The best warehouse includes a Disaster Recovery Plan to protect assets and ramp-up production, distribution and delivery of essential items in critical distribution areas such as healthcare and grocery stores. In case of a shutdown or slowdown, practices must include alternate methods to supply products.
Warehouse Transport Group
At WTG, we practice high integrity and ethics in customer service and employee management with well-thought out risk management and disaster recovery plans that comes from 30 years of industry experience. For any concern or query in these difficult times, please don’t hesitate to call us. Check out our website to learn more about us.