Pay Programs, Errors & Safety

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It’s always nice to see the weather changing isn’t it!  I welcome Summer, it gets a bit warm here in Texas but I’ve always been a Summer person.  2 Weeks ago, I was in Arizona and it was 118, I flew out of Nevada where it was 112, I have to admit that’s a bit warm even for me!  Last week I was in Denver Colorado and it was actually in the 90’s while I was there, they said that’s unseasonably warm for them this early in the year.  Summer brings with it a host of concerns for us in the Warehousing and Transportation Industries. With us working in the Distribution and Production arenas we need to make sure and stay Hydrated, watch for signs of heat stress ourselves and in the other associates working around us.  Sometimes we find ourselves having to step up a bit as we cover for vacations and those seasonal spikes that may occur in our business.  It seems to be a popular time of the year to change jobs too, maybe because we are wanting to take off and go somewhere or spend time with the family while the kids are on their summer break and I guess it’s a good time to move as well, I have a lot of friends moving this month.  Oh and don’t forget to send in those emails to get entered into our drawing by next week!  If you missed last weeks episode be sure to check it out, at the end of the show we talked about a drawing for a $50 gift card, don’t forget to send a Safety Practice from your facility or one that you’d like to see there.

Well I kind of got off track right off the bat today so Let’s get back to today’s show, I’m Marty with Warehouse and Operations as a Career.

Let’s see, let me get a couple of questions out of the way real quick, one that I’m asked on a regular basis is “Do you know of any one hiring in my area”.  We do actually forward or retweet several job posting’s each week. Be sure to follow us @whseandops on Twitter, pretty much every day you’ll find a position posted from some part of the country or the United Kingdom, and from Canada as well.  If we run across a job posting we try and spread the word best we can.

Speaking of social media, we had a conversation this week on Facebook, John had commented on order accuracy & posed a question to us about accuracy & errors within the Industry, check out our feed sometime, and join in or post a question, we’re @whseandops there as well and we’d love you sharing any thoughts or questions with the group!

I thought we’d kind of piggy back off Johns thoughts and discuss a few of the different types of pay seen today, many of which can have an error component to them in some form or fashion.

Activity Based Compensation, Incentive Pay, Productivity Pay are a few of the many program names you may hear about but really your company may have another name or some acronym they may apply to a pay plan or program when offering something other than a straight hourly wage or salary.  I hear more about these types of programs in tasks that involve Productivity and productivity driven environments.  Things like Order Selection, Loading and Unloading even delivery in transportation are jobs that may offer some kind of either additional incentive pay on top of an hourly wage or even straight piece pay based on strictly how many pieces of product of cases you move throughout the shift or how many you’ve delivered.  James shared his thoughts on productivity pay in episode 33 A Few Thoughts on Order Selecting with James, he felt like it was a great improvement in his field and I believe Tony broached the subject in episode 19 Warehouse training Techniques and advice from a professional.  I believe we may of mentioned it in episode 12 as well as we discussed Order Selection.  If you missed these episodes, check them out at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com, we had a lot of fun with them.

I kind of strayed from the subject again.  Anyway, whatever you call the program it’s usually a positive thing.  I mean it gives us the opportunity to determine our wages to some degree and we can separate ourselves from a individual that may not be interested in making the money we want too or a new employee who’s not quite selecting, unloading or delivering the quantity we can just yet.  I remember back when I was Loading and Selecting everyone made the same dollar value an hour, wither we were pulling 120 cases an hour or 200 cases an hour.  I think that was James point, he’s a seasoned order selector, one of the top selectors in his field but he’s been doing it for several years and with productivity pay he earns more than a new employee just getting started.

A program could be as simply as a base pay per hour plus Incentive dollar amounts being added based on the number of cases being selected, loaded or delivered if you’re a driver, something like, just as examples, an additional dollar an hour if your base is at 100 cs/hr but your selecting at 130/cs an hour, maybe another dollar if your selecting 160/cs hour and maybe an additional 2 dollars if you pull 200/cs an hour.

Of course, all programs, even a simple one should have a Safety component addressed within it and an Error factor applied to it as well.  We have to be safe & the customer has to receive the right product and the correct quantity.

A simple program could state that we cannot have any accidents or near misses, or we have to participate in each days start up and safety meetings & we may need to stay within an error ration or, again just as an example, something like 3 errors, like misship’s or shorts, in every 10k pulled to qualify for the program each week. A misship meaning we pulled the wrong product or quantity & a short meaning either we didn’t select it or it fell off our pallet somewhere in the warehouse or our selection path and the customer didn’t receive it.

And a program can be pretty complex as well, it can even be tied to attendance and tardies.  Again, just as examples, We may be paid an additional $10 a week if we have no absence or tardies in a week, $2 for turning in some kind of paperwork, then X number of cents per case selected or loaded or handled by us.  The more we do, and do safely & correctly the more we make.  I think you’ll usually see the more complex a program is the more monies being offered for a job being done correctly.  They may even come with a either or or component, meaning we’ll be paid the higher of the two, a set hourly wage or the Program Pay, whichever is higher.

I believe you’ll find the Safety & Error components are adhered too and are pretty strick in any type of pay, they are two of the most important facets of our jobs and we’re responsible for them.

I’ve seen and hear of new associates kind of shying away from a new position when they hear the words commission pay or productivity pay etc.  In a productivity based position, I feel these pay structures are a big win for us and if we don’t understand the program lets ask, tell the recruiter to explain it to us again or have our supervisor explain it to us.  It’s about making money for what WE do safely & correctly and at a productivity level a bit higher than what is required.  If we’re uncomfortable being responsible and accountable for our pay rate maybe an hourly position would fit us a bit better.  A productivity environment and position isn’t for all of us and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking one of the many other positions in Operations!

I hope you feel better about the different pay programs and I explained it well enough for you to know what questions to ask whomever is speaking to you about them.  Ask those questions, I feel they offer us great opportunities to make a better wage and kind of challenge ourselves to do a great job.  A lot of times it’s great to have a bit of personal challenge isn’t it!  Thanks for listening in today, I enjoy talking about positions & making money but lets all remember the most important task we have and our main priority has to be Safety, our safety and the safety of others

A Few Warehouse Clerk Positions & Their Tasks

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Hope all finds you well this week, I’m Marty and we appreciate you checking in with us today here at Warehouse and Operations as a Career!  I’m really excited about an episode, or I guess it’ll be several episodes actually where we’ll be speaking with a New Associate in the Freight Handling world.  We’ll have a lot of fun with it and we’re going to try and follow him for a few months within his new job, from his application process to getting hired, his first days on the job and the training.  It should be interesting to hear his thoughts about starting a new job, any challenges with the process and checking in with him periodically to hear about any new hire frustrations and the positive feelings he may have about his position.  We’re going to try and kick off the series as soon as we can get it all put together and schedule a few phone calls, I’ll keep you posted with our progress, it’s going to be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll find it interesting and informational.

So as for today let’s talk a little about the position of Warehouse Clerk.  I was asked by a young gentleman if there were any positions in the warehouse other than unloading trucks or picking the product.  He had just started with his first warehouse position, it sounds like maybe a utility type position where one day he may unload trucks, possibly do a bit of Sanitation occasionally and he’s been sent to a re-pack area a few times as well.  He was enjoying the work until he had been introduced to the electric pallet jack.  It sounds to me like he was doing a good job and learning the tasks well and either his supervisor wanted more for him or possibly he had spoken with someone about making more money or kind of spoke up asking what’s next or something like that.

You know none of us are born with a stamp on our birth certificate that states we can operate an electric pallet jack.  I sometimes get frustrated when I hear a young Supervisor or Lead speaking with HR and asking for only PIT trained or experienced Electric Pallet Jack employees.  The equipment and its use is not difficult to learn, 90% of its operation is staying aware of your surroundings, focus on what you’re doing, operating it Safely & showing it some respect.  I take every opportunity to point out to these managers that someone had given them a chance and taught them how to use the equipment hence helping launch their careers!  When I see a young man or woman that really wants to work, full of energy and motivated or excited about a job I point out any additional training hours spent on them are cheaper and more beneficial than running through 2 or 3 less interested individuals. I don’t feel that’s so much of an opinion really, in my experiences I’ve found it to ring true time and again.

Anyway, this gentleman is quite uncomfortable even being around any type of powered equipment and states he doesn’t believe being out on the warehouse floor is going to be for him.  His question is “are there other positions available, not an office job, but something where one doesn’t have to be in the aisles and on equipment.” He’s heard us mention the Warehouse Clerk & asked if we could speak to those duties & explain what a clerk is.

That’s kind of hard to define but I think the term is used pretty broadly in our industry and really can be anything from an Inbound or Outbound Scheduler to a position filing drivers daily log sheets.  Let’s talk about a couple of different task real quick:

The Inbound Window, this task is to identify a load, trailer or Vendor arriving to drop off a load of product, supplies or equipment to our facility.  Usually our task is to confirm a purchase order number is associated with it and that the driver has an scheduled appointment and that in fact we are expecting the delivery.  Now this person can be working from the Guard Shack or Check-in Station located at the beginning of a staging driveway, usually the building is placed there at our more secure facilities or large trailer yards where traffic has to be directed.  For smaller centers or where security isn’t a concern the person, office or window will usually be placed by the driver entrance door or where drivers will enter our facility to check in and pick up any company documents or instructions on unloading his or her load.  Now many times, and depending on the type of product and the company’s rules and procedures the driver may be given instructions to back the trailer to a numbered dock door and that he or she will be notified once the unloading or loading process is complete.  Some facilities are what’s called Driver Unload docks, meaning the company does not provide anyone to unload your freight and the driver is responsible for the process.  Many companies will offer an unloading service or Lumper Service which is simply a third party that the Driver can hire to unload his or her freight for them.  Our Window person or clerk would instruct the driver to the Freight Handlers or Lumpers management to contract with them.  Should the Driver wish to unload his own freight instead of using the Unloading provider we would give them their inbound or receiving paperwork, probably have them sign a statement sheet about our company’s rules, processes and procedures, equipment usage information etc and let them into the warehouse.  This person may be responsible for keeping an entrance and exit log with arrival and departure times, purchase orders that are being delivered, probably verifying Seal numbers and recording temperature settings on refrigerated trailers.   A Seal being a lock or a Tin or Plastic strip that goes through the trailer door handles preventing them from being opened or the load being tampered with. As simple as they sound recording that number properly is a very import requirement, in many industries it’s a regulation.  As you can tell this person will work closely with the Inbound Drivers and the companies Receivers, possibly even with the merchandisers or persons responsible for purchasing the goods.

In my experiences this position requires someone with patience, a bit of a multi tasker.  It’s important that we can be firm with the procedures but we have to be understanding too.  Many times a driver is running ahead of schedule or behind schedule, maybe some aspect of his appointment has changed since he or she picked up the load and we’ll need to listen to their frustrations while sticking to our company’s process as well.  I’ve seen people move from positions on the warehouse floor into the Window position but rarely have I seen it the other way around.  I think one enjoys the responsibilities, the interacting with others and all the reporting that may be required in order to be successful there.  It’s a tough job, I’ve actually filled in there before and there’s more to it than it sounds!

A couple of other Clerk positions could be:

Scheduler – If you like answering emails and speaking on the telephone this may just be the job for you!  Simply put the Scheduler receives emails and phone calls from Trucking agents or Vendors to Schedule their freight appointments.  There’s not a lot of other duties usually associated with this position at your larger facilities due to the volume of calls & messages received hourly.  A smaller organizations I find that this task may be assigned to a warehouse lead person or supervisor.  This person is responsible for scheduling and documenting the appointments.  I have no problem admitting I can’t do this task, its busy and very detailed.

Returns Clerk – Here one can be working very closely with several different departments, from delivery drivers and warehousemen to merchandisers and customers.  Again we’ll need to be a pretty detail orientated person as theirs typically quite a bit of paperwork and documentation required.  I think this is a great position to get started in warehousing with.  There may or may not be equipment usage needed and with us working so closely with so many departments and people we get some great exposure to other jobs and needs within our company.

A really interesting position that, may hold the clerk title is Mapping, and I’ve heard it referred to as Trailer or Load Mapping before too.  This position typically reports to the Warehouse but I’ve seen them fall under the Transportation umbrella as well.  Usually this is a function working closely with the Routers due to how loads or routes are sometimes reorganized from the Routing Systems idea of how things should be delivered due to time windows or just a knowledge the router may have about the final delivery’s needs or the route if we’re dealing with a route delivery scenario.  The Router or Routing System will of course route the stops, cases and weight out for the trailers but the Warehouse is selecting the cases and building the pallets, which will end up on the loading docks or staged in a holding area for the Loaders to position in the trailer.  Some facilities may utilize the Selectors to run their pallets on into the trailers but the process is the same regarding a mapping diagram or the positioning of the pallets on the trailer.  The system should do a pretty good job of distributing the weight properly and cubing out the load or making sure everything will fit but someone needs to direct the loaders as to which pallets or selection batches needs to go where.  In a perfectly timed world every selector would finish his or her batch or pull at the exact time it would be loaded into the route but there’s about a hundred reasons that’s not going to happen so the load is mapped using a batch number or sequence number, which is just a sticker or tag the selector will place onto the pallet, usually the last sticker of that selection batch that the loader will match to the positioning diagram from the Mapper.  Now of course this describes the process of a facility using a WMS or Warehouse Management System but the process itself holds true in a non-directed warehouse as well.  The pallets still need to be in the right place for the delivery driver to find their product for the next stop or a dock driver to be properly weighted out or the load to be properly distributed. Mapping is another great transition position and can offer us several other opportunities in both warehousing & transportation.

There is of course several other clerk or clerk type positions in the industry, each company and facility has their own reporting and paperwork needs & I think typically where there is a bit of paperwork required to perform a task we could find a clerk position ready for us to fill.

Every position in the warehouse is an important one, I assure you we would not be getting paid money to perform it if it wasn’t needed.  As I’ve mentioned in other episodes these are great positions to enter into the world of operations.  We’ve discussed several of the positions mentioned here today in past episodes and I’d invite you to check them out on our website warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and if you have any questions regarding any of our topics please send us an email to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and we’d be happy to find you an answer.  We love researching answers we don’t know!

We here at WAOC really enjoy your, our listeners, comments and emails and we thought it’d be fun to maybe give away a gift card and have you share a thought or two with us!  As you know we’re pretty big on Safety and Safety Practices around here.  We’d like to do an upcoming episode on the different Safety practices at different facilities and would like your participation!  Everyone that sends us an email with Safety in the subject line and shares some practices used at your facility or list and explain a few practices you’d like to see at your facility in the body of the email will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 gift card and your name and ideas brought up on an episode if you’d like!  Please send your emails to us by Saturday 07/08/2017 and our drawing will be held on 07/13/2017.  We’ll let everyone know when the episode will be released and who the winner was!

Thanks for listening in with us today, I hope we’re leaving you with a few new thoughts on positions within warehousing and transportation.  Please remember Safety Practices are there for a reason and in every position we’ll hold within Operations.  Please work Safe & Be Safe out there this week!

Applied & Hired – Communicate & Succeed – Leadership and Associates

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I hope everyone had a Fantastic week, a productive week and a prosperous week so far!  Today I’d like to talk about Longevity, loyalty, settling in, I’m not sure what to call it but basically discuss the, what appears to be the trend of hopping from job to job.  We’ll have Rodrigo here with us today as well, if you remember he is a Regional Facilities Manager for a large sourcing company and has several Managers and Supervisors working with him at quite a few different locations.  In earlier Episodes, we’ve talked about how to build our Resumes and the different approaches we can use constructing them & how to prepare for the Phone Interview.  We learned its importance and how to use it to get that valuable Face to Face sit down & prove to – or convince our Recruiter that we’re the right person for the job.  After visiting with a few of our guest I think we should have a pretty good Idea of the different positions, what they entail and a few things we should consider about each of them.  And you can always check in on our website warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com  and catch those previous episodes if you may have missed one or two.

How have you been lately Rodrigo and Welcome back to WAOC!

Rodrigo and I were talking about turn over and several positions he was looking to fill recently and I mentioned what I felt like was a trend I am seeing of people accepting a position with a new company and only spending a few hours or a couple of days on the job and just quit showing up or No Call No Showing one day.  I think everyone knows how I feel about the importance of a good strong Orientation and Welcoming is to a new employee and how it can kind of help us settle in with a new job.  Now of course I feel just as strongly that even if our company is lacking a bit in their orientation and welcoming arena we as Employees can help them along by asking questions and participating in our training.  I mean honestly, we want this job, applied and accepted it.  I hope we’ve researched a bit about the company & chose them because what they are offering matches our goals both short and long term and we believe this position has some career potential!

Do you think us being hesitant with asking questions and talking openly with our Supervisors could be contributing to any of this turn over Rodrigo?

How do we change that or those perceptions?

I think you’ve made some very good points, I know I probably bring up Participation too often, but I feel that’s really the word I should be using.  I mean we spend more time focused on our jobs than any other single situation hour upon hour and we participate with our family & our friends in every situation and in every conversation, it’s so easy to do the same with work, and we’re going to need to if our goal is to keep advancing and settling into a career.  And I feel participating is so easy, it’s just talking about and to things we’re really good at, it’s just taking it to the next level.  Startup meetings are easy to speak to & we understand productivity inside out, it’s how we make our money.  Keywords are easily integrated into conversations with our management teams and we’ll catch their attention by using them.

Do you think I over emphasize Participation?

Rodrigo –

You know another thing I hear a lot or seems to upset new associates is Corrective Actions or Warning Write-ups, of course they may not always be administered correctly, but that could be our Supervisors fault and not ours.  I believe we should be viewing them for what they are, we’re just being told about something we may have misunderstood or maybe wasn’t even explained to us correctly, it’s just about something we need to be doing differently.  All too many times I afraid there viewed as getting wacked with a big stick instead of a simple conversation, all that’s happening is that conversation is being documented.  I think we should be using them to our advantage.

How do you feel about Documented Actions?

Rodrigo –

You know more and more I’m feeling like Supervisors and Managers have gotten so busy with reporting and metrics or maybe having to take up slack due to headcount not being what it should be that we as managers are maybe not presenting the new hires with the orientations & training we need to give them what they are wanting or needing.

The cost of turnover is so high, really not measurable when you realize your always starting over.  And if we as new associates don’t do everything in our power or at our disposal to keep that job and do it well by asking questions when the answers aren’t being given to us and participating in every talk and meeting we’re losing out as well and starting over again and again.  I mean it is kind of our responsibility to stay level headed and learn what we need to know.  Being the new boot only last about 2 weeks, we can learn everything we need to know in that amount of time and then get down to the task at hand and our productivity!

Rodrigo –

I hope our Supervisors are not only giving us a strong orientation and a great welcome to the organization but maybe outlining a Career path for us, sharing where each position we could obtain and how to get there, BUT if they don’t we can certainly bring it up, I’m certain they’ll take the time to share it with us!

Rodrigo you brought up some outstanding points today and I enjoyed the visit and I’m leaving with quite a bit to think about.  Thanks for taking the time for us today here at WAOC Sir.

Rodrigo –

And I’d like to again thank each of you, our listeners, for checking out todays episode & we hope you’ll join us again next week!  Please send us an email with any thoughts on todays program or with any subjects you’d like to discuss to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and give us a follow on our Twitter feed @whseandops, we discuss all kinds of subjects there.  Have a Safe week ahead, bring up something at your next start up meeting, lets help everyone stay Safe out there!

Those things we may take for granted and can regret – A Talk w/Joe

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Hello again, I’m Marty back with Warehouse and Operations as a Career, Today Joe and I would like to talk about a few of the Warehouse tools and equipment that may or may not have specific regulatory or training per say attached to them but can present dangers of injury to us and others.  Joe how you been doing Sir?

Joe – just fine always glad to be here, how about yourself…

Marty – Doing Great, traveling a bit and getting to meet new people, two of my favorite things to do.  Last week I mentioned two things while speaking about the use of Hand Trucks, which were Dock Plates and Wheel Chocks.  Joe reached out to me and we ended up talking a bit about several different Safety Opportunities in most warehouse environments so we decided to speak about a few of them today.  Joe I’m still seeing a lot of the spring lever action dock plates in my travels.  You know where you walk towards the middle on them and there’s that large recessed ring attached to a chain that you yank on which releases a spring trigger and the dock plate pop’s up, the trailer lip extends and you have to hurry up towards the top so our weight will make it drop onto the trailer where another spring trigger locks it in place I suppose.  Of course, I see a lot of automatic and manual hydraulic systems out there as well and I’m not sure we as warehousemen think enough about the dangers a dock plate can present to us.

Joe –

Along with dock items there are also:

Overhead cranes

Ladders

Cardboard bailers

Trash compactors

Compressed air

Floor buffers

To name a few, that are also somewhat of a hazard if you’re unprepared. Each requires it own non-regulated training for sure. Otherwise each of these can change the way your day is going.

Marty – Yeah, I’ve unfortunately witnessed too many Near Misses and injuries with them, in every instance the situation could have been avoided if a little focus and observation of the surroundings had been applied.  I once saw a gentlemen’s finger get hung up in the pull chain, the pull ring had been broken and he was just wrapping the chain around a couple of fingers and tugging on it.  Well, he pulled it, the dock plate trigger released but his finger didn’t come loose from the chain, the dock plate came up and his finger got cut pretty bad as his finger was pulled down into the recessed hole.  Another time an unloader or lumper jumped up inside of the trailer, he was going to assist the trailer lip to raise as his friend pulled the chain and ran up the dock plate forcing it down and into position.  It came down alright, right on the guy in the trailer’s toes, thank goodness, he was wearing steel toe boots, and by the way they were not required at the time at that facility.  He was sure thankful he had them on that day though!

Joe – Just because there is no license or certificate to be awarded the need for on the job training with tools and equipment is very much needed. Lots of accidents can be prevented just from listening and doing our jobs correctly. The lack of attention to detail sometimes costs us dearly especially when working with tools. By using our gear incorrectly, negligently or misreading our equipment causes us to not be in full control of the task at hand and leaves us open to dangerous possibilities.

Marty – And Wheel Chocks, I see a lot of wheel chocks or tire blocks being used, or suppose to be being used in the various yards.  I myself knocked a trailer loose and had it roll a bit forward with me upon entering it with a forklift once, can’t even describe that sensation!  I had relied on another person to check the wheel chocks, that was the last time I ever relied on anyone else, I always checked them myself going forward.  I’ve actually seen trailers push forward enough to break the landing gear up front and the trailers nose landed on the ground.  I really like the newer locking mechanisms we’re seeing today, where they actually lock to the ICC bumper of the trailer attaching it to the dock.  Have you seen any of the newer locks that actually come up in front of the tires, up out of the asphalt or concrete, I’ve heard about them but haven’t seen one in operation yet?

Joe –

Truck underride is when a passenger vehicle crashes into and penetrates beneath, or “underrides”, the taller rear or side of a large truck or trailer.

Rear guards on trucks and trailers were initially required in 1953, and are known as ICC bumpers (Interstate Commerce Commission)

Marty – You know another danger that’s always scarred me and I’ve always checked them out thoroughly before operating them are things under hydraulic pressure like trash compactors and bailers, you know like the things we stack cardboard and shrink wrap in which compresses it tightly and we guide those long wires through it tieing it off producing a large, and heavy bail.  I always check those door larches and safety guides making sure everything is right before I work with them!  I’ve never seen one come open but I don’t want to be standing in the wrong place if it did!

Joe –  That’s right. We often take for granted the work of others as well. Bailing cardboard has its dangers and when we walk by those bail we seldom realize or recognize the inherent “potential” dangers as well. I know I sure don’t want to be near one of those wires should it come lose and whip around.

Marty –   I’m bearing some of my ridiculous fears, but I need to add Dock Doors, the roll up doors, to that list, man you have to show them things some respect.  I actually witnessed a driver raise one one day, actually kind of slammed or shoved it up real hard.  Two panels of like the five comprising the door came loose, off the tracks and hit him in the back of the head, it really injured him bad, cut his skull, he was out for quite a while.  And those dang springs, I’ve seen them shoot across the warehouse before, even the coil kind can be dangerous, those things are wound tight!

Joe – One of the other things I have seen Marty was during the night shift. On slow nights I knew of a ware house that would have the forklift operators do other tasks including cleaning at the warehouse. One day when I went in to speak to the warehouse manager I noticed a large hole in the breakroom wall. When I asked about it I was told they have a new forklift guy at night that wanted to use the floor buffer and well it got away from him. The FL driver just did not anticipate the force and strength that the buffer had.

Marty – These kinds of things of course, us as new boots are shown how to operate them, but there’s probably not really any formal training or written process at some facilities.  Common sense and focus really has to be applied with our positions.  As with anything we don’t understand, it’s our responsibility to ask questions, follow directions and contribute to the strong Safety Culture of our Company!

We talk about PIT Training, Powered Industrial Truck training or 29CFR1910.178 quite a bit which applies to specific tools or equipment used in our Facilities, and those are regulated rules, laws actually, I think just that regulation alone has helped raise awareness to us on the floor, helps with our own individual Safety Culture across the board don’t you think?

Joe – That’s right, we shouldn’t even think of them as warehouse rules it should be more like warehouse etiquette. When you go to a nice restaurant you know you are expected to behave a certain way and when you go to your grandmothers house you know theres a way to behave there as well. So being in an industrial setting should be more reason to keep safe and pay attention to your surroundings which is the main idea behind all safety rules we use.

Marty – So what are a few of your personal fears or things you yourself approach with caution, its different for each of us.

Joe – One of mine has definitely got to be blind corners and approaching them, whether I’m on foot or on some kind of Powered Industrial Truck I ALWAYS use the most cautious approaches when heading to one. So, these are the types of things I look at when I am at a facility or doing an audit or whatever when at a warehouse. It draws my concern.

Marty – Give us 3 things or thoughts you as a Safety Manager and Certified Health and Safety Officer you look for or would like to see us as employees, new to the industry types recognize or work harder on?

Joe –

  1. Housekeeping/clean as you go (relevant to your work area) Helps you get done quicker because you job is never done until your work area is clean, basic rule everywhere. Instead of putting off the inevitable because of dislike…..
  2. Attention to detail (no rushing and sloppy work, Safe & adding your name means something) This CREATES a safety work culture because its along the lines of doing things correctly, and correctly will work with high speed operations by the way. We have industry fortune 500 companies that prove this daily.
  3. Final checks, review of work Make sure your work is what it needs to be and what is expected.

 We all have an objective or task which is our job, its specific, we’re trained on it and we know how to do it but I think it’s important we realize how many other things we touch on or have a part of.  I guess to summarize we could say It’s so important to stay focused, watch our surroundings and pay attention to what we’re doing at all times.  One of the first things we’ll learn, and it’s a rule in every warehouse, building and Facility is no horseplay.  No playing around with our peers, co-workers or the equipment.  Maybe that’s the first Safety Rule I ever learned!

Marty – You brought up some great points Joe, and as always, we here at WAOC enjoyed our discussion today and appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.  I’d like to thank you for listening each week too, it was great that you reached out to us to expand on last week’s thoughts, very good points today Sir.

Joe – What we stress on the jobsite is what we used to stress in the army, in fact there we had sort of a slogan and it was STAY ALERT! STAY ALIVE!! And that very much applies in today work place as well, let’s pass it on to our listeners and hope they remember to do just that!

Marty – That’s simply discipline and I’d agree, rules are probably there because something came up which created them, very possibly from a Near Miss being reported and we’re all better off when the workplace Safety rules are followed.  I like your STAY ALERT STAY ALIVE slogan.

Marty – And us here at WAOC and all our guests really appreciate each of you, our Listeners, checking in with us each week, keep those questions and emails coming in, Participation and your growth within the Industry is what makes this all worthwhile, well that and we all just love talking about Operations and Safety too. Remember to use some key words with your Supervisors, talk about Near Miss Reporting, ask to lead your daily stenches before shift, ask about any company procedures, maybe bring up something from the General Maintenance Practices sheet.  We want to get noticed by our Supervisor and let them know we’re interested in the Team, Company & our Advancement.  And most importantly think Safety.  Safety is our, us as individuals, Responsibility.  Our Companies, our co-workers, Families and children rely on us every day, let’s not let them down and protect them as well!  Have a great week and BE Safe out there!

Op’s Most “Go To” piece of Equipment

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Welcome back to Warehouse and Operations as a Career! We had an email question about Hand Trucks, a listener was wondering if there was a training course offered by anyone for its use? I gather there’s a position she’d like to apply for that had listed its use in the Job Description. She stated with 2 years of warehouse experience she had not had an opportunity to use one, seen them, but was a bit anxious about using it. I found this to be a great question! I’m Marty and let’s talk about the Hand Truck and its use today, we’ll start out at my go to internet knows everything site Wikipedia: Upon a search on Hand Truck Wikipedia states:
A hand truck, also known as a dolly, two wheeler, stack truck, trolley, trundler, box cart, trolley truck, sack barrow, sack truck, or bag barrow, is an L-shaped box-moving handcart with handles at one end, wheels at the base, with a small ledge to set objects on, flat against the floor when the hand-truck is upright. The objects to be moved are tilted forward, the ledge is inserted underneath them, and the objects allowed to tilt back and rest on the ledge. The truck and object are then tilted backward until the weight is balanced over the large wheels, making otherwise bulky and heavy objects easier to move. It is a first-class lever.
Sack trucks were originally used in the 18th century to move large sacks of spices on docks by young boys, from the age of 11, who were unable to lift the large sacks by hand. By using this method they were able to work as well as grown men in moving items around. Later, such trucks were amended for use in many different industries, such as brewing, where hops were moved in sacks. And Wikipedia goes on to describe materials used and a few different types of units. And there’s a lot of other examples and thoughts about hand trucks available on the internet and hundreds of different images, some are really innovative and interesting, check them out.
Well I guess that’s a pretty good, all be it short explanation of probably the most versatile tool used in our industry. Hand trucks or two wheelers are used in almost every industry, I think it’s kind of like a ladder, there’s always a use for one even in our day to day lives. You’ll find them in Office environments, mail rooms, retail stores, and even in professional buildings. It’s the perfect tool to move a box or an item from point A to point B.
When moving a couple of file boxes from one cubicle to another I’d probably agree, as long as one applies some common sense and is careful, there’s not any special training required and the task can be accomplished by pretty much anyone. But, when you’ll be moving 1500 cases throughout 20 different stops, working with it in a loaded trailer, coming down a trailer ramp and navigating through doorways and around the many obstacles encountered by todays delivery drivers and driver helpers a bit of training, practice and experience sure can make the task a bit easier and much Safer to accomplish.
I know some drivers that own and carry as many as 5 and 6 dollies or hand trucks with them each day. At large stops it’s so efficient to load up several and run one after the other into the account or have a helper loading up one while you’re running one. The typical set up would be like 3 regular hand trucks and 2 breakdowns. And I’d hope all of them would be equipped with hand breaks.
Although breaks aren’t really important when just moving a few boxes around the office, I think they should be mandatory when rolling 300# down a trailer ramp to a sidewalk or a curb. Even as an add on piece of equipment the investment is worth it.
Ramps can be dangerous, think about it for a second. We’re behind 250#, have it balanced going down a ramp with pneumatic or rubber composite tires on our two wheeler with about 3 inches on either side of our ramp guides or ledges with gravity pulling us at a pretty good clip and one of those wheels touches the ramps side. It’s going to stop, immediately come to a stop, and our load, hand truck and us as well will continue in motion until we hit the ground, wall or building. I’ve seen broken legs, broken hips and head injury’s result in such a spill. Brakes can keep that speed regulated a bit & exercising caution and some common sense will go a long ways to preventing such an accident.
As for training courses available I’d refer to experience. And there’s a lot of You Tube Videos by users and manufacturers both. We’ll be moving weight with it, it’s important we position the first case securely and evenly on the blade, or ledge of the hand truck, the piece that’s on the ground when the dolly is standing up. As we stack other cases on top of the first one make sure we’re stacking them heaviest and sturdiest to lightest and crushable being on top. Never stack over our sight line or the handle or height of our hand truck, and be careful not to overload our equipment. Every truck comes with its weight limit, remember that’s the structural limit of the unit, not necessarily a weight we as individuals can handle. When breaking over the load or pulling the load towards us or off the ground learn to find that angle or point where the weight is on the truck’s wheels and not on our shoulders or backs & comfortably moves when pushed or pulled. Its best to always stay behind the load, another words pushing it forward, for obvious reasons, not just ergonomics, you don’t want to get ran over by the load if on uneven ground. Remember the weight, its heavier than it feels, if we’re doing it correctly, and the load is wider than the wheels or axle possibly. Watch for door jams, doors and walls when navigating hallways and corners, oh and thresholds or floor drains, both of those can yank the load from your hands if you’re not careful, I’ve lost loads to both before.
Experience is the best teacher, use caution, go slow, be careful and stay focused and you’ll learn you can get into and out of some pretty tight places with your loads, once you master it, it just becomes an extension of your arms. It’s really an amazingly efficient piece of equipment.
As I mentioned there’s all kinds of hand trucks, the breakdown we mentioned earlier can transform from a regular upright dolly to a cart type unit that you can load much more product on and push through hallways and elevators. There’s units made to move barrels and drums around safely with & today we even have stair climbers with electric climber wheels and battery packs built in.
And so many accessories, from brake units to pouches for holding small splits or individual or loose items and paper work. Wheels and tires are probably the most important and customizable, I’ve seen some pretty tricked out delivery dollies, and some serious paint jobs too! I think one of the most useful accessories is the curb ramps, their light weight, can be tossed around easily, they come in both aluminum and plastic and are really inexpensive for the efficiencies they can bring. It’s much easier to pull the load up a ramp than try to pull the dead weight of the load up a curb.
Hand trucks can be made of fiberglass, aluminum or steel to super lightweight yet strong magnesium frames and of course from cheap to inexpensive to very expensive. As with any work tool you typically get what you pay for and when it comes to our work equipment I personally feel the best is better, at least spend enough to be dependable, long lasting and Safe.
A couple of other tools us as warehousemen may need some experience with or training in their use could be manual Dock Plates, how to pull the release chains and properly walk them down securing the trailer lip properly. And wheel chocks or trailer chocks, a very important item to have in place before entering a trailer to load or unload. Many newer facilities may utilize hydraulic dock plates and trailer locks, either way it’s important we understand their usage & operation, always ask questions if you do not understand them or have not been shown how they work.
I hope we helped you today, if you’d like more information on any of today’s topics please shoot us an email – host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and we’d be happy to answer them individually or send over some reference materials. We’d appreciate a follow on our Twitter feed @whseandops, we talk and share quite a bit on Shifts and Leadership there. Remember the work we do can be repetitious to some degree and we can get comfortable with it. Please be cautious, follow the Safety rules, practice safe lifting techniques and always respect your powered equipment, Lets all leave each shift as we started it, healthy and happy! Until next week please treat Safety as Priority #1!