5 of the Dangers – A Visit with Joe

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Thanks for checking in with us again this week, Marty here with you at Warehouse and Operations as a Career and I’m a bit excited about today’s Episode. We have our go to WAOC Safety man in the house, we’ll on the line actually, Joe how have you been my friend?

I know what you mean, for all our listeners out there last Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the States, I’m still eating on all the desserts left sitting around the house.

I know you just came off the road, you traveled quite a bit in Nov!

Joe, your from Texas, I don’t think you could sustain a trip to Alaska right now bub, it’s a bit colder there than our 73 degrees here today!

I hate talking about things like this but I recently heard about another accident that resulted in a fatality in our industry, one that happened at the loading dock.  I checked out a few different articles on line and found a really interesting one at upsideinnovations.com on “10 most recent loading dock injuries”, check it out, they have a hyperlink in the article with a Loading Dock Safety Checklist I found it to be really good too.

The article begins by naming Top five warehouse injury areas:

  1. Loading Docks – I think some of us wouldn’t have picked this as number 1?
  2. Forklifts – I guess this is where your P.I.T or Powered Industrial Truck training comes into play Joe. Maybe I can sneak in my Never get on or operate any machine or piece of equipment you have not been trained to do so statement!
  3. Conveyors – I’ve seen loose clothing and fingers, especially when we wear the wrong size or tattered gloves get caught here.
  4. Materials Storage – Again the importance of securely stacking or building our pallets and the proper placement or racking of them.
  5. Manual lifting and handling – I think this is where good ergonomics training comes into importance

I have to agree with their number 1. You know we can never be too Safe around a dock area.  I find myself letting my guard down when I’m standing in a dock areas, maybe it’s because we can see the daylight or outside environments, I don’t know what it is but I do have to make myself pay attention up there.

Quickly here’s their listed 10 incidents:  Be sure to check out the article, I’ll put the link in our show notes today https://upsideinnovations.com/10-most-recent-loading-dock-injuries/

Each one of these is an individual article:

Employee crushed and killed between a truck and loading dock

Worker crushed by dock level is killed

Worker is killed in fall from loading dock

Employee is crushed when fork lift drops off a loading platform

Employee is struck and killed by falling truck wall panel

Employee is crushed when forklift falls from loading dock

Employee sustains heart attack and dies

Employee is caught in between a tractor trailer and the loading dock

Employee crushed by forklift

Employee is crushed between truck and dock and is killed

We all know, and I hope we’re taught and trained, on the dangers of our front docks.  There’s a lot of precautions taken up front to keep us Safe, from Security, Procedures with the tractors and trailers to locking systems etc, Joe what are you teaching & preaching out in the field, I guess what are you seeing out there?

I agree with you Joe and I guess its safe to say that Safety period begins with YOU.  What’d you think of that Loading Dock Safety Checklist I sent over to you, and I’ve added it to our show notes at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com for our listeners as well. http://upsideinnovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Dock-Safety-Checklist.pdf

Let’s kind of walk through the inbound cycle as we know it, kind of discuss the A to Z process.  I guess first off there’s Security, I know of several DC’s utilizing a Guard shack, a secure gate approach.  Why and how’s that being used?

I think the next step could be securing the trailer or container to the dock, what’s some of the choices or procedures your seeing used?

Now that we’ve got the loads and the dock connected, what’s some examples of our responsibilities as associates or I guess us as managers to make sure we’re training our employees on, what procedures are you seeing in place and what thoughts could you add?

Absolutely, I know pallet jack and forklift operators that will not enter a trailer to unload or load until they themselves make sure that trailer is secured to the dock.  I’m ashamed to say it but it took me three near misses in my early years to learn it the hard way.  Once I lost a dock plate, once a trailer rolled forward about 8 inches with myself and my pallet jack in it and my most embarrassing one I even had a driver pull away from the dock with me standing inside his trailer!  Not a good feeling at all, one of those feelings that takes your lunch away!   

You know Joe, when I’m researching something about Safety or occurrences and reading through an Incident Investigation Report I always try and think of what sideboards or procedures can be put in place to prevent something from happening again.  I’d like to believe all accidents could have been prevented, now that may not be the case always but If we’re all diligent in our duties it’d seem we could prevent them.  I guess I’m talking about a Culture instead of just a bunch of processes and procedures.  I work with individuals regarding their job’s, tasks, attitudes and perspectives quite a bit.  That could be considered a work culture or our Safety Culture.  Do you do any work or training regarding a strong Safety Culture, lead us down that path Sir!

A couple of weeks ago we visited with Lavoil and Nelson on our Safety Meetings, how they prepare for them, why there important and how they as Managers they keep us as Associates engaged. I think that engagement by all is what plants the seeds for that Culture don’t you?

Over the weekend In a new Facebook Group called Warehouse Equipment Operators Community the question was asked Where are the Dangers found in the Warehouse and I found the answers really interesting and spot on.  A few things that were mentioned were the Trailer Yards and Dock areas, kind of goes along with todays Topics nicely.  Another member from Florida mentioned how dangerous broken boards from pallets can be with nails sticking up or equipment running over them, oh and another member, from across the pond in the UK brought up the dangers of machinery and also Heights, when working with like scaffolding or the Cherry Picker.  I think discussing Safety, sharing Safety experiences, keeping Safety in the forefront of our minds helps build and instill a Culture of Safety I us.

Joe as always, I’d like to thank you for your time today, I know you stay busy and we here at WAOC appreciate your visits Sir!

And I hope each of you our listeners enjoyed todays episode, and I’d like to thank you for your time and we hope we bring a little value to you each week.  Lets all look at the Safety Culture within our facilities this week & step forward and change someone’s outlook about Safety.  We may just be saving them or ourselves from an injury!

General Labor Positions – A Great Start

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Hello all, Marty with you again from Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  It always makes us feel good to wrap up another week doesn’t it.  And I guess for many of us it’s a Holiday week as its Thanksgiving here in the States.  In any event the weeks coming to a close, and I hope we’ve all had a Safe and Productive one!

Last week, on two separate occasions the topic of general labor came up and I’d like to talk about it a little bit today.  The term general labor is a pretty broad term and encompasses a lot of different tasks in the warehouse and transportations fields I guess but I think there’s some confusion, at least in my opinion of what general labor jobs are.

Last week I was asked about the difficulty of finding candidates for general labor positions.  In my experience General Labor work is readily available as well as there’s people to work those positions.  When I think of G/L positions I’m seeing a task that doesn’t require any type of machine operation or equipment maybe usage.  The way I’ve always thought is that if your trained on a particular machine you’d be a machine operator or if your operating a piece of warehouse equipment then you’re an equipment operator.  With both of these examples theirs some training involved, you can’t just walk up to the machine, hit a green button and its done.  I mean we have to know what that button operates, why the machine runs as it does and what it’s accomplishing.  I bet since it’s electric, gas or fueled there’s going to be some sort of Safety training involved also.  And of course, the same goes for any equipment as well, the way I view it is even if we’re using a hand truck or dolly there ought to have been some time spent training us on its proper use.

I know of one facility that boxes and bags food products.  A general labor task there is a person reaches out and grabs a #40 bag of meal or flour and stacks it on a pallet right there beside them.  Their responsible for the proper ti and hi and to make sure its stacked well and somebody else hauls it away with an electric palletjack.  It’s repetitious, and requires someone that can stand for long periods of time, takes their stacking seriously and enjoys the workout.  This facility considers the palletizer position as an entry level position and then promotes from within on to the palletjack operators, forklifts, and receivers etc.  Of course, the normal safety procedures are given and reviewed daily, they really teach proper lifting and ergonomics to the new hires but the job description and hazard analysis for the position is pretty general.  A good general labor position is a great way to break into our field and start learning warehousing.

My talks last week we’re focused around unloading or lumping trailers and containers.  At this particular building they unload hundreds of items, all of which are separated by item and stacked or separated as to fit into a certain slot according to their WMS or warehouse management system with a proper ti and hi etc.  As we’ve learned a ti is how many cases are on each layer & hi tells us how many layers to stack up, rotating the configuration or reversing it with each layer as to kind of lock the cases together creating a sturdier pallet or load.  I definitely do not consider this a general labor position.  We have to be taught to read the load breakdown sheets, understand the pallet configurations and the importance of separating all the products correctly and in the most efficient manner possible.  Now if we’re talking loads and loads, trailers and trailers of the same item or product I’d agree that’s more of a general labor task.  You take the cases out of the trailer, place them on a pallet in the same configuration every time with somebody hauling them away for us and we repeat our task the same way all day long.  That, to me, is more of a general labor job.

I think we may see more general labor jobs in the production side of warehousing than we do in distribution but that could just be my opinion.  I think the construction industry probably has a lot of general labor duties.  I honestly know very little about construction positions, but I’d think there could be a whole lot of positions we could learn around us and it’d be a good solid industry to be in as well.  Actually, during the winter months, I see a lot of construction experience looking for warehouse work and to be honest find, in many instances, their great hires and wanting to learn and work.  Dang, I got off topic again, where was I, oh yeah

One of the conversations that brought up todays topic was a young recruit had asked me what I thought of an unloading job.  He did not have a lot of warehousing experience per say but had worked for a grocery store for about 3 months stocking shelves at night and for a lumber yard for about 5 months.  He had applied for a lumping or unloading position and was told he wasn’t qualified for that job and that they didn’t have any general labor positions open right now.  He had felt that unloading trailers was a general labor job and stopped me outside to ask what skills were needed to unload freight.  Of course, I’m sure he really just wanted to vent to someone and I’m certain he didn’t like my thoughts on the subject either, but I think he parted that afternoon with a bit more understanding than he’d planned on!

You all know, or will know if you’ve listened to all our shows that I’m very passionate about our tasks and jobs AND I believe a general labor position is a great job to lead us into any direction we may desire within Operations.  A good entry level or general labor position can expose us to production, productivity and how a warehouse runs and distributes goods AND can provide us exposure to equipment usage and the many different positions we can reach for, become proficient at and learn to be the best of the best at.  Anyway, I’ll quit ranting and get back on topic here now.

You know how I love self-education and looking things up, so I cruised on over to Answers.com to see how far off the page I was.  Answers.com says general labor is: another term for unskilled labor and you will be doing tasks that need little to no training.

General Labor positions, or in my opinion a few tasks that I see listed on Recruiting groups, social media and advertisements of positions are like:

Stackers – remember the palletizer position we spoke about earlier

Stockers – Grocery Stores and big box stores

Sorters – Separating items on conveyors may be an example

Packers – I think this could mean like closing the boxes or cases after production has filled them.

Assembly Workers – Light assembly, maybe placing A and B together, I’d think anything more shouldn’t really be considered G/L

Wrappers – Shrink wrapping pallets after selection has them stacked and before the loaders run them onto the trailer is what comes to my mind.

I think we can get the idea of general labor.  Not menial, the task has to get done but no involved or specific training or operational experiences may be needed.

It’s true general labor doesn’t usually start out paying all that great but hey, we’re learning something, and we have our foot in the door.  We’ve spoken before about how our first objective is to get hired on, perform our task well and start learning all the other jobs around us or that touches ours and making sure we communicate to our bosses that we want more duties and responsibilities.

If we’re changing jobs or even industries, we should do a little research on the company that’s placed a general labor ad or opening.  A lot of times we can figure out what the general labor position may entail and where it could lead us!

A couple of quick examples.  I myself answered an ad for a loader position, it was advertised as a G/L position.  I applied, got hired, and like on night 1 I started looking around at equipment operators, order selectors, inventory control people, leads and supervisors and something like 26 years later left that company as V.P. of Operations.

I know of a good man, hired on as a maintenance man for a general labor job of changing air filters in air systems and light bulbs through a staffing agency and now something like 12 years later he is running the Safety department for that very facility and has been with the company for maybe 10 years.

If we’re looking for work, even if we’re coming from another Industry try and not get hung up with the general labor word or position.  It may not pay what we’re looking for or even needing to make but try and focus on what the Company can bring us and what other positions that job could lead to.  I bet in many instances by working hard and being there for every shift and of course making sure our managers know we want more we’ll be surprised in just how short of time we can achieve our goals with both position and pay!

Speaking of job’s and postings be sure to follow us on Twitter where we retweet as many postings as possible each week and we’d appreciate a quick like of Facebook too!  You’ll find us @whseandops on both of them! And of course, you can catch up on any missed episodes on iTunes, Apple Podcast and Google Play, shoot subscribe today to be sure you catch our episode each Thursday! Send us suggestions and/or topics or even just say hey, our email is host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com.

To close this weeks episode I’d like to leave you on a thought of Family & Working Safe, we’ve all got others counting on us, lets take care of them!

Thoughts on Recruiting & Benefits with Sharon and Michele

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Welcome back to Warehouse and Operations as a Career, Marty here with you again and I’m excited about todays show. We’ll have a couple of Ladies on the phone with us today from Belmar Integrated Logistics that can maybe help direct us to finding the position we want, get that Job and set ourselves up in the most financially responsible way possible!  Oh, I saw a caption on Facebook this week that read Success – It’s all in your hands, I think I’ve mentioned the podcast before, its Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich, anyway that caption on her page kind of reached out and grabbed me.  We talk about our responsibilities as Applicants and Employees quite a bit here at WAOC and the more people we visit with the more I’m learning just how important we are to our own success!  I think once we think about it it’ll help us project ourselves with the way we want to be seen by our hiring agent or employer.  Anyway, I jumped off topic again, I’ll get back to today’s introductions!  Sharon is a Sourcing Specialist; Recruiting for Light Industrial Positions in the Warehouse fields and Michele is a Benefits Coordinator assisting the new Associates through the maze of benefits companies may offer or participate in and helping us understand them so we can make informed decisions. I’m looking forward to them both sharing a few of their thoughts and opinions with us here today!

Sharon, welcome to WAOC ma’am

So Sharon, tell us a little bit about yourself, I hear you’re a bit of a worldly traveler and speak 3 languages fluently, how’d you get into the Recruiting field, and in particular into filling those Warehouse or Light Industrial Positions?

Michele, now this is actually your 2nd visit with us here at WAOC I believe, didn’t you help us out with a few questions once before, I think we were visiting an outdoor Job Fair Belmar had put on back in July?  So Welcome back!

Now Michele your title is Benefits Coordinator, and I understand you’re an independent supplemental agent and a self-published Author & already working on a second book now.  I bet us op’s guys can keep you busy with all our day to day questions or questions from our significant others?  I assume you enjoy the intricacies of insurance and benefits?

Here at WAOC we talk a lot about our Resumes, the phone Interview and how to really prepare ourselves for that Face to Face Interview, we’ve done several episodes on just those subjects and we really try and stress their importance and what we should, as applicants, do to prepare for them.  If you’ve missed those previous shows try and check them out, we tried walking through the process from like A to Z. Personally I believe the initial Company Orientation is an important part, maybe the most important part of any new job.  It’s where we learn the do’s and don’t policies of our new employer and have the opportunity to take advantage of any benefits that may be offered. And I feel we should take advantage of everything that’s  discussed, most importantly ask enough questions to understand what we’re signing, wither we’re declining it or signing up for something!

So Sharon, our group’s talked quite a bit about the importance of our Resumes and the Phone Interview that we’re hoping to get from them.  Can you give us some examples on what we need to include in our resume and how we should conduct ourselves on that phone interview, what do you look for?

We’ve talked about the importance of being prepared for the Face to Face interview, what do we need to bring with us, both physically, like paperwork and even mentally, what do you want to see and feel from us?

Michele, are we as new Associates in too big of a hurry or maybe just excited we’ve been hired on to focus and pay attention with our Orientation, I hear from recruiters all the time it’s hard to get individuals to sit down and listen to all the information offered? And Why do you think that is?

As applicants, we could be looking, really needing a Job, maybe we’ve been out of work for a while, it’s understandable we’ll approach you and try to sell you on the facts that we’re a fast learner or give me a chance and I’ll show you how good I can be etc.  Sharon, can you share why this just doesn’t work under most circumstances?

Michele, I’m sure you experience the same thing, we’ve been hired, we’re excited and looking forward to that first paycheck.  How can or what do we need to do to be financially responsible to ourselves, I mean our Benefit paperwork is important right?  What can we do to help you explain them to us?

OK, so we’re looking for work, maybe changing jobs or just entering the warehousing world.  Sharon could you walk us through the process, give us some tip’s, share what hiring agents are looking for, what can we do to make sure you bring us on-board, maybe summarize what you want from us?

Sharon, any parting words of wisdom for us today, have you held back one more secret to our success?

Michele, share that one secret you use to calm us down that allows us to focus and think responsibly about our future and our growth where Benefits are concerned?

Ladies I really want to thank you for calling in and visiting with us today, I learned a lot and appreciate you taking the time for our WAOC Group.  We love learning from those in the know on all these subjects and value all our guest’s thoughts and opinions!  Maybe we could get you both to stop in again and share some more with us sometime?

And a Thank You to all of you out there listening in with us each week!  If you’re a Recruiter or Hiring Agent and would like to share your thoughts with the group or a listener with a topic you’d like us to talk about please email us, host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and don’t forget we’d appreciate a quick follow and Like on both our Twitter and Facebook feeds where we can be found at @whseandops 24/7!  Until next week, think of our responsibilities with our Job, we owe it to ourselves and our families, and of course one of our biggest responsibilities is practicing, sharing and following all Safety Practices!

A Visit with Nelson & Lavoil on Shift Start-Up Meetings and using the Clamp and Slip Sheet Trucks

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Hello all, I’m Marty with you here at warehouse and operations as a career and today I’d like to talk about our Start up meetings for a bit.  Last week we’d ask for some thoughts about those daily shift get together and I loved a lot of the things that were sent in to us.  We also talked about the Clamp and Slip Sheet attachments and I was lucky enough to hear from Lavoil, he’s called into the show today from Illinois.  Lavoil is a Lumping or Unloading Supervisor for a Distribution center in the Chicago are, he wears several hats throughout the shift and today he’ll be sharing some of his experiences with us.  Maybe we can get him to share his secrets regarding the equipment and a little on his start up meetings!  I have a gentleman named Nelson on the phone as well, Nelson is a Supervisor overseeing the Unloading, Selection and Utility Shifts for a large Foodservice DC in Texas.  He’ll bring some insite as to why our Safety and Start-up meetings are so important!

Personally, I didn’t really experience much in the way of a Start-up meeting through my first few warehouse positions.  When I went to work for a National Corporation, really a huge facility and everyone was gathering over by the receiving office on my first night I didn’t know how to react honestly.  I listened of course, and to be honest not much was really said.  Our Lead or Supervisor, I don’t remember which but I think it was the lead Selector went over the case count, how many trucks we had or would be loaded and the estimated time we could wrap things up if we got hot at it! That was about it, everyone went to work and myself and 4 other new hires that were starting that night were assigned our trainers and we went our own ways!  At the end of my first week I attended a weekly Safety meeting that went about the same way, this particular company was very safety conscience but the organized or weekly meeting was brief and its content was pretty much the same week to week.

I’m excited to see pretty much across the board these days that the Shift Start-up’s are much more informative, and the employees are not only encouraged to participate but are so interested in the subjects that their leading the meetings in many instances and providing the topics as well!  Today I’m seeing a lot of different exercises and stretching exercises being performed by the entire crew, being led by a lead or maybe even a safety committee member! I believe these changes and focus on both information and safety have been brought on by a career interested and self-educated workforce! It’s so exciting to see enthusiasm of today’s young leaders.  Let’s all have that energy and lead ourselves and our peers in that direction, we’ll be noticed, and I guarantee we’ll help someone else with their career as well!

We had asked our group for a few topics from ya’ll’s start-up meetings and we had some great one’s sent in:

An individual from a production facility, I guess it was a processing place mentioned:

Today we were reminded to wash all utensils and stainless tables between cuttings with the proper solutions for the inspection.

Another member stated We covered Blade Safety, always use our sheaths

Dispose of dull or old razor blades properly

Change blades only when wearing the Safety Glove

Another member said they reviewed the Equipment Sign out sheet, I think that’s what they call the pre-trip inspection maybe

I loved hearing from several stating they were reminded to not use any equipment they weren’t trained on, and that was a big one.

Oh, and we heard a lot about pallets too, don’t stack them to high and be sure to separate the good from the bad or broken wood.  Several mentioned not to stand pallets on their end or upright and to never place product on the floor.

We had several general warehousing 101 reminders like never jump out a dock door, use horns when entering the front docks and never block exit way’s or doors.

We noticed many facilities reviewed their GMP’s or general maintenance practices a few covered or brought up their SOP’s or standard operating procedures and job duties or descriptions.  It’s great to hear so many places are taking the time needed to review and remind us as associates to work as a team!

As I mentioned I have Lavoil and Nelson on the phone with us today and willing to share their expertise and experience with us, You gentlemen doing alright today?

 Well let’s dive right in with a couple of questions:

So Lavoil could you share a bit of your work history with us Sir, how’d you land in the Operations world?

 Nelson, share a little about yourself Sir and how did you get started in the Industry?

  Lavoil I understand you’re a pro with the slip sheet and clamp attachments, we’ve had several questions on how to use them and really how to get started with them.  How’d you get all that experience?

 Any challenges or tips you could share with our group on their use Sir?

Nelson, I know in your role today you have a huge impact with individual’s careers, their training and their career thoughts really.  How do plan your start up meetings or the planning process, where do the topics come from each shift?

 Lavoil, you have a startup each day as well, I know you have to prepare also, Do you think differently about pre shift meetings today than you did as an Associate?

 Nelson with Safety being such an important aspect of our jobs, and our responsibility as leaders how do you create and instill that strong Safety Culture in others?

 Could you share any advice or wisdom to any of us yearning to operate any specialized equipment like the clamp or slip sheet Lavoil?

 And Nelson we’ll wrap up with you Sir, do you have any thoughts you could share with our group regarding Operations as a Career?

 I really enjoyed visiting with the both of you today and us here at WAOC would like to pick your brains about some other topics sometime, any chance we could get you both back for another episode?

 And as always a sincere thank you to our listeners for listening in with us, I hope you found value with us today and come back next week!  Remember we retweet as many job postings across the nation as we can each week, and you can find us on twitter as @whseandops and we’d love a Like to our facebook page as well if you have the time!  If you’re an equipment operator check out a New Facebook Group called Warehouse Equipment Operators Community, a place for those in the warehouse world to talk about our day with others!  Until next week, be Safe and let’s get noticed this week at our Start up meetings, show our Supervisors and teammates we’re striving for more!

Single, Double & Triple Jacks – Clamp Trucks – Turret Truck – Scissor Lift – Slip Sheet

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Hello all and welcome to Warehouse and Operations as a Career.  I’m Marty and today let’s talk about some of the equipment we’re all using each day.  First, I’d like to thank everyone for the questions and suggestions sent in last week.  We mentioned a Slip-Sheet attachment and I think it got us all thinking about those pieces of equipment we see or hear about but haven’t been exposed to just yet.  Before we discuss our equipment usage I’d like to throw out a quick reminder to never get on or touch a piece of powered industrial equipment that we’re not trained on or certified to do so.  I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing it but it’s the law and even more importantly it’s a good rule that helps keep us and our coworkers Safe.   We haven’t mentioned the reg 29CFR1910.178 lately, if you’re here in the states look it up, it’ll give you some in site about its importance and purpose.  And we here at WAOC would love to hear about any other countries regulations and how there implemented too.

So, if you’re in the warehousing industry one of the first pieces of equipment you’ll experience could be the manual Pallet Jack.  We spoke about the manual jack and its origin back in episode 36, Op’s most go to piece of equipment, check that show out, its history is pretty interesting.  Powered wise the Single Jack is usually our first step into powered equipment, wither a walkie, meaning you walk along with it and there’s not an attached platform for you to stand on or a Rider which will have a platform if it’s an End Control and an actual driver’s compartment should it be a Center Drive or Center Control.  Those of us that’s used a Tow Truck or Tovar will recognize its driver compartment, I think they just engineered a tow truck that we use to pull buggies behind us with and added the load forks so we could select and pull pallets instead of having to fingerprint the products twice, once placing on a buggy and then again putting them on a pallet.  We got smart quick once product started being loaded onto trucks with pallets instead of all the floor loads and learned to place the pallets on our buggies which could then be picked up by a forklift on the docks, what a time saver that was! Anyway, a single jack is great for loading and unloading trailers and moving freight around the warehouse and staging areas, close quarters and tight places.  Then we have the Double Jack, simply a Rider jack that can pick up and haul two pallets at a time.  A double jack is great for order selection, as we can pull twice the cube and cases with one pass through our pick path or thru warehouse.  It’s definitely a productivity maker.  And when you talk about Selection Productivity there’s the Tripple Jack, you guessed it, meaning we can pick up and haul 3 pallets at a time.  The triple pallet jack is relatively new to the industry, but man has it helped product movement and metrics.   It arrived on the scene around 2004 and it’s been quite the game changer in our larger distribution operations.  I actually had the privilege of working with a couple of manufacturers as their engineers worked out the load wheels and turning radius needed to navigate the aisles and end caps.  Of course, this beast won’t work in all environments, even some of the larger facilities ended up having to remove a few end bays and uprights to create the turning space needed but wow, we went from being able to select like 60 cube to 180 cube at a time or with each pass through the warehouse.  That’s real productivity, and pretty easy to achieve when all that travel time is cut out.  Anyway, today as an order selector chances are we’ll be working on a double or triple electric pallet jack.

Another piece of equipment, the Cherry Picker or High-Rise machine.  I actually operated the high-rise machine for about 2 years, the height took some getting us to but I really enjoyed working in that department.  Something like this may be found in large item or bulk item storage centers.  I’ve seen them in furniture warehouses and those large big box warehouse stores before, especially those DIY home remodel or repair stores.  A unique piece of equipment as the operator rides up in the air with the pallet on an operator’s platform.  Since we’ll be working in the air and capable of rising more than 6ft off the ground we’ll be required, and should want too, be wearing a harness, a full body harness that we’ll attach to a lanyard which will catch us should we step from our platform or off the pallet.  Here we’ll be reaching out and retrieving items from a rack or storage slot and securely placing them on our pallets.  They used to be used in the foodservice warehouses for small wears selection but you don’t see them much in those kinds of operations anymore.  I’m seeing more mezzanines and bin load systems handling the smaller items now.

Another attachment used in our forklift world are clamp trucks, a very unique lift that basically does just as its name implies.  It has two large blades on either side that clamps or squeezes an item or a palleted product, so you can lift it and move it.  I see them used mostly for unloading and handling disposable wares, maybe light bulky type items.  It takes a little practice to properly operate these trucks and learn not to damage the loads, but you can really move some freight once you master it.  I’d really like to talk with a pro about their experiences using them, maybe one of our listeners could interview with us and share their thoughts with our group, it’d be fun to hear them.

One of the few machines I haven’t had an opportunity to drive is the Turret truck, or swing reach truck.  These machines aid in high volume pallet environments working in very narrow aisles to maximize storage capabilities.  If you have not had an opportunity to see one in action check it out on-line, theirs some great videos on their use.  Better yet, if you’re an operator let’s talk, we’d love for you to share some of your thoughts about this beast! I’ve put out some feelers in the industry, I’ve got to check these out!

What’s another one, oh the Slip Sheet, we’ve mentioned it a lot the last two weeks but I’m not sure we’ve really discussed it much.  It’s another attachment, sometimes called a push pull attachment that eases the movement of freight.  Basically, it’s a large blade that scoop’s up under a piece of cardboard or heavy plastic sheet where you can pull the edge of the slip or cardboard or plastic sheet up onto the blades, position the load over a pallet or in the trailer or container and push it into place.  Another variation is a blade followed by a bunch of small rollers that you use to scoop under the load, pick it up and then tilt the load onto a pallet, the product, which is on a slip sheet, the cardboard or plastic sheeting then slides off of the rollers.  Theirs many different models of clamp trucks and slip-sheet attachments, again I’d urge you to check them out on you tube, you very well just find your next interest there!

We have our drawing tonight for that Prized WAOC Tee Shirt, let’s get that done real quick.  I want to thank everyone that sent in a subject or thought, we had some great entries and we’ll be getting to some of them this month!  I took all the entries put them in our official hopper, which is actually a large mug cup and pulled out the winner!  And this week’s winner is Michele, Michele’s a benefits coordinator for a large light industrial agency, she sounds like she’s very familiar with order selectors, fork operators and production facilities.  Maybe we can get her to help explain the importance of the Orientation and those many different benefit opportunities on an upcoming episode!

OK, I just saw a note here, nearly skipped right over it, about a question we received regarding a platform lift or scissor lift.  Several of our larger facilities may have one in the building that Building Maintenance uses to change light bulbs or help with removing a crossbar between uprights or slots and I guess a host of other duties.  The question was do I need any special training to use this lift, it operates simply by pushing a button and holding it down and it goes really, really slow.  We’ve probably all seen one of these at some time, usually used by maintenance, simply a small working platform enclosed by rail’s or a cage that goes around it and just goes up and down.  They do move at a crawl and are not meant to move around when raised but Yes, as with any piece of powered equipment we must be trained on its operation before we touch it, don’t try and move it or play around on it at all.  Like I mentioned I can’t wait to drive a turret truck but I’ll need to be trained on it by a certified trainer before I even look at the drivers compartment.  A hard temptation but one we have to respect.  Let’s never touch a piece of equipment until trained or certified to do so!

I hope you enjoyed todays episode, we like working off of topics and questions sent in by ya’ll, keep them coming, keeps us busy!  If you operate any of the powered equipment we discussed today and would like to participate on an episode shoot us a message to host@warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com and we’ll set it up, all it takes is a phone and a few minutes!  Check out all the warehouse equipment on line, you tube has some fantastic videos of everything, you can spend hours checking them out!  Oh, we’re looking into start up meetings, share your thoughts with us, what’s covered and how their ran at your facility, it’ll be interesting to share the different approaches with our group!  Thanks for checking in with us and until next week be safe out there especially working with your equipment, remember it’s not a toy and it can be dangerous to us and others!