There’s no doubt that working in a warehouse can be incredibly dangerous, with this borne out by the most recent figures.

More specifically, RIDDOR data released at the end of March shows that the number of employees suffering fatal injuries within the wider services industry increased by 23% year-on-year, highlighting the risk facing warehouse workers and the growing importance of health and safety.

The risk can be particularly pronounced in supermarket warehouses, of course, where employees often have to handle heavy and packed roll cages in challenging conditions.

In addition to safety, optimising efficiency can also be a huge challenge for managers. So, here are some steps to help you achieve this objective over time.

  • Reduce the Risk of Accidents and Mistakes: There’s no doubt that unsafe working conditions can undermine the efficiency of your warehouse operations, so the reduction of accidents and human error can dramatically improve productivity over time. From a practical perspective, this means issuing employees with appropriate clothing like hi-vis jackets, while also providing ongoing training in the use of heavy-duty equipment (such as fork-lift trucks).
  • Provide an Incentive for Staff Members: One way to drive efficiency is to set specific targets, but the challenge is to engage empowers and incentivise them to meet these over time. However, you can overcome this by offering a performance-related bonus to either individual employees or an entire department, while we’d recommend consulting with staff members before deciding on a bonus strategy. This way, you can offer bonuses that are genuinely welcome and desired by employees.
  • Invest in Training: We’ve already touched on the importance of training, which must be provided on a continual basis in order to create a highly skilled and engaged workforce. What’s more, this should be done to enhance the efficiency of the workforce at all levels, with tailored training programs created to target relevant skills and keep all employees abreast of the very latest technology and working methods.
  • Make Communication a Key Watchword: There’s no doubt that encouraging open communication is also key within any warehouse, whether you consider the development and sharing of ideas or the distribution of important information from the management down. This can certainly create a more open and transparent workplace, while establishing a collaborative setting that drives far greater productivity and efficiency over time.
  • Evaluate Routes and Layouts: From a technical perspective, existing stock-picking measures and core warehouse logistics rely heavily on well-planned routes and inventory layouts. However, these can become outdated as your business and its core range of products expands, so it’s important to continually review routes and the layout of your warehouse to evaluate performance. This way, potential issues can be identified ahead of time and you can look to optimise the efficiency of your warehouse incrementally over time.

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