Warehouse Best Practices for COVID-19
The UK as a whole has been working out the best way to respond to the COVID-19 crisis since March this year - including dealing with social distancing guidelines and lockdown measures. This has meant that some businesses have had to close for the past few months, in order to guarantee the safety of both their employees and their customers. However, now the lockdown measures are easing and many businesses are re-opening, it is crucial to have a plan on how to manage the COVID-10 pandemic going forward - especially in warehouses.
All businesses, regardless of industry, should have a risk management plan in place - which should be reviewed and updated as necessary when unusual situations arise (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). Yes, the risks associated with the coronavirus are unusual, but having a good risk management plan already in place means it will be easier for you to deal with it - thanks to your existing protocols and procedures.
When you are reviewing your risk management plan, in light of COVID-19, you should make sure you look at:
- How you work with suppliers and the supply chain in general. How will you deal with any upsets, such as cancelled orders or a reduction in production?
- How are you going to communicate with customers about order decreases or increases and tackle their concerns in a helpful way?
- How stable are your inbound and outbound transportation providers? Are they able to offer you 24/7deliveries and pickups if you need them?
- Do you have enough employees to cover if you see a sudden increase in demand, or if some of your employees have to shield for 12 weeks? Is your workforce flexible enough to change if demand slows down and you need to reduce individual working hours?
- Do you have a cross-training strategy in place to ensure key employee tasks are still covered if they go off sick or on holiday?
- Do you have an adequate resource in-house to support your equipment and technology needs?
All of this reviewing and planning should be an on-going process, which adapts to changes in technology, manpower, your product mix and the market in general. If you want to follow best practices, you should also have a ‘Disaster Recovery Plan’ which would allow you to move part or all of your operations to another space if need be.
The other important thing to think about is your employee concerns and how you will handle those. Employees will probably be concerned about how their hours may change (will they increase, decrease or stay the same) and what additional precautions you will undertake to keep them safe in the workplace (such as providing hand sanitisers and conducting deep cleans on a regular basis).
So, taking all of this into consideration, the best practices for warehouses during the COVID-19 outbreak are:
- Have a solid communication plan in place which covers employees, customers, suppliers and transporters.
- Ensure all employees are aware and acting on the personal hygiene guidelines - including hand washing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), and so on
- All employees are aware of and practising social distancing according to guidelines
- More regular deep cleaning taking place, especially high traffic areas
- Ensuring you have adequate supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfectant to ensure employees are able to use them if they are not able to wash their hands as often as they should
At worXmart we believe that warehouses are one of the most essential services - after all, warehouses hold the stock that everyone needs to be able to survive! So, we are working hard to ensure your business’ survival by providing you with all of the products you need to keep your warehouse running smoothly.