The global pandemic took the world by storm and the industry is proceeding ahead with a “WFH” culture. While a large part of the workforce engaged with the essential business segment of warehousing and distribution cannot eschew their workplace. We’ve been coming across the term “social distancing” quite a lot of times recently and it’s likely to stay for quite a while ostensibly. But how do we ensure social distancing standards in warehouses where the nature of work involves loading and unloading, and movement around the warehouse several times?
Although the industry can overcome sluggish demand to some extent. It is still struggling to avoid frequent supply chain disruptions that result in unserviced demand. We expect this trend to have a significant long-term impact providing headwinds to the online buyer.
Don’t let safety measures become a constraint to productivity
A global pandemic has steamrolled the warehouse management systems to be treated as a necessity.
Warehouses equipped with a WMS are more likely to better implement cogent social distancing measures to help keep warehouse operatives as safe as possible during uncertain times while ensuring optimum levels of capacity utilization through various tactics.
Zone Specific Strategies
Use the WMS to assign specific zones to different operatives and allot specific tasks accordingly to contain people to an extended area to some extent. Operatives will work inset areas of the warehouse reducing the operator footprint throughout the building. It will implement social distancing and maintain productivity at the same time.
Flexible Wave Creation
While your warehouse pro-actively incorporates new operational procedures. You can not neglect some quintessential processes like flexible wave creation for ensuring productivity while maintaining social distancing. You can enable a picker to gather multiple orders simultaneously on a pick by running through automated and systematic processes.
- Selecting and grouping orders
- Checking stock availability
- Allocating inventory
- Creating replenishments
- Creating sequence and organizing picking tasks
Reduce the proceedings of activities involved in picking, packing, and shipment by automation. As it will reduce traveling and lesser chances of the spread of the virus.
Reduce the picker’s activities and increase efficiency pick.
- Ensure minimal need to travel
- Higher productivity and rapid order fulfillment
- Dynamic re-slotting based on constant order demands.
Reduce the use of paper
You can track and monitor activities from receiving to shipping and other activates involved in between on a cloud-based platform. As a result, the use of paper, and the element of physical contact, which can spread the virus is reduced.
Use of Handheld Terminals
Handheld devices, barcode scanners, and barcodes have become even more useful because they help to avoid physical contact consistently in routine activities of warehouse operators as they make it possible for operatives to be stationed at one point and still keep the flow of warehouse activities running. With the help of their mobile, tablet, or handheld device, they can receive the work orders with no motion standing in their allocated zone.
Material Handling Equipment
Various other constituents of technology supplement the process of social distancing with the use of automated assembly line machines, conveyor belts, or simple non-mechanical gravity chutes so that the containers or products picked are passed on to the operating area for further processing without the picker having to physically come into contact with anyone for the large part of the day.
What we can do?
What we can do is to work towards sustainable social distancing changes in your warehouse to protect your employees and your business.
Warehouse managers and supervisors should review current warehouse layouts to set standards for the distance between workstations, routes for walking and using material handling equipment, and ensure there is no congestion around entrances and exits.