warehouse management

10 Reasons to replace Hand Wrap with a Stretch Wrapper for your Pallet Wrapping Applications.

1. Consistent and Uniform Application: An operator who wraps pallets with hand wrap stretch film is not able to wrap every load exactly the same way, time and time again. A load wrapped by one operator Monday morning will not be wrapped the same way as another operator on Friday afternoon. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

2. Professional Package:

Wrapping a pallet using a stretch wrap machine produces a clean professional finished product. Pallet wrapping with hand wrap leaves a rather erratic and uneven look. The look of your pallet load on your customer’s floor must project the professional image you want for your company. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

3. Training:

There is a right way and a wrong way to wrap a pallet with hand wrap. Applied incorrectly, hand wrap may crush the product or allow the product to shift during transport. Employee turnover or multiple operators mean that you must continually train employees on how to correctly wrap the loads to ensure customer satisfaction while ensuring they do not injure themselves. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

4. Employee Safety:

Hand wrapping pallets is an extremely difficult job if it is done correctly, and a common source of employee back injuries when performed incorrectly. The human form is not designed to walk hunched over manipulating an 8-10 lbs weight while also trying to pull enough tension into the film to hold the pallet load together. Then 20 seconds later you are holding the same roll of stretch film above your head to do the top of the pallet, again tugging on the film using only your back and arm muscles. Many accidents and work related injuries are caused by hand wrapping pallets. (Health & Safety) stretch wrapping guidelines before making your pallet wrapping decision. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

5. Load Integrity:

No one likes hand wrapping. At some point the “good enough” syndrome takes over. Knowing what is required to keep your product unitized during shipping, and while it is on your customer’s floor, is essential in setting your stretch wrapping specifications for your operator’s to follow. When an employee is hand wrapping pallets the responsibility of meeting minimum tension requirements is left up to him. Fatigue, ignorance, training, or lack of motivation can affect the employee’s “good enough” point resulting in potential complaints or damage due to poorly wrapped product. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

6. Damage Control:

As employees deal with the difficulty of hand wrapping the goal becomes just wrapping it enough to get it out the door. Wrapping the load to eliminate damage during transit and at your customer’s warehouse becomes secondary. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue as it wraps the same way every time reducing the potential of a pallet being damaged during transit.

7. Customer Satisfaction:

Pallet wrapping your product is the LAST operation you perform and the FIRST operation your customer sees of your capabilities as a supplier. Your customer’s perception of your competence as a supplier starts the minute your pallet of product arrives at his dock. Inconsistently hand wrapped pallets can give the perception of a low-end manufacturer. Lowering your standards of production during this last operation can be costly. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

8. Film Savings:

Although the key to stretch wrapping is to make sure that we get the product to the customer intact, we all want to do it for the least amount of cost. With the machine set to wrap the loads with the least amount of stretch film required to hold the load together, you eliminate unnecessary extra revolutions of film being applied by well meaning operators. At a point, more film does not hold the load better, it is just waste. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

9. Damaged Hand Wrap Rolls:

An expensive hidden cost of hand wrapping is the cost of all the rolls of stretch film that are thrown away because they have been nicked or damaged when thrown to the ground or left lying around. This cost can sometimes be as much as 15-20% of your hand wrap costs. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

10. Quality Control:

By definition, hand wrapping a pallet manually prevents you from obtaining any type of repeatability. Multiple operators, time of day, fatigue and many other variables prevents any type of QC standards. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine allows you to either eliminate, or preset these variables. This ensures repeatability, allowing loads to be wrapped to a set quality standard. Pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine eliminates this issue.

Eliminating any one of these issues justifies pallet wrapping with a stretch wrap machine.

10 Easy Steps to Increase Warehouse Efficiency

What does your warehouse say about your dealership? Having grown up in a construction supply house, I spent countless hours observing the good, the bad and the ugly of warehouse management. I am probably the only person you’ve ever met who has vacuumed warehouse shelves.

The erratic demands of customers make maintaining a warehouse a never-ending battle, but here are a few tips I’ve found useful over the years:

Clean The Place

It is amazing what you’ll find in the warehouse when you just clean it on a weekly basis. Mystery inventory such as: returned goods, damaged goods and special buyouts won’t have any place to hide.

Beyond the ability to move more quickly in the facility, your team will begin to develop a greater sense of pride in their workplace. Remember, this is the place where all your cash is stored. You want a team that protects your cash from the outside threats of salespeople, truck drivers, and manufacturer reps.

Give Personnel An Identity

Your warehouse employees work with your cash all day long. Make shirts for tham that say "Vault Security Team" or "Vault Management Team" or something similar that signifies the importance of what they do.

This does a couple of things. First, it reminds them that inventory has value. Second, it helps identify those people who belong in the warehouse.

A key element in keeping a secure warehouse is to eliminate those folks who have no business being in there.

Increase The Receiving Area

When most people are designing a warehouse, they tend to cram as many racks of inventory into the space as possible. Usually as an afterthought, they carve out enough room for a little desk by the dock door, run a terminal to it and call it the receiving department.

Here’s the problem: Most inventory errors start in receiving. If you make a mistake here, 10 additional problems will occur in the company. Start by giving them adequate room to work. You’ll see your inventory adjustments decrease immediately.

Put Senior People In Receiving

Why do we always put rookies in receiving? As I mentioned earlier, mistakes in receiving cause multiple headaches down the line. Make sure you get it right coming in the door.

Pay your receiving clerks well, and encourage them to stay in the position. Remember, you’ll always have more product coming in than going out.

Receiving is your one place to get it right the first time so you don’t have to redo orders later because of receiving errors.

Create Signage

Don’t assume your newer employees can navigate the aisles. Help them out. Create colorful signs to direct them to aisles or bins. Warehouse maps are a great way to increase productivity immediately. Clearly label any and all landmarks.

Try this: Ask one of your friends to come into your warehouse and pick an order. If your warehouse is set up correctly, they should achieve a high success rate without asking questions on every item. It needs to be that easy.

Add Descriptions To Pick Tickets

Most item databases will allow you to add multiple lines of description to any SKU in the system. Use them and you’ll increase the order pickers chance of pulling the right product.

Put in physical descriptions like "the blue one" or "two wheel." This is especially critical when you’re talking about minimum quantities. Make it clear that the "each" actually refers to the pair that’s in the pack, not to one of the two.

This simple change will help you eliminate future dead stock. Don’t worry about killing a few extra trees. They grow back.

Double Check Orders

A really bad motto for a distribution company is "We fix our mistakes faster than anyone else in the business."

For the typical distributor, the cost to process an order is about $45. It costs an additional $100 to send it out the second time. None of us has enough margin to be able to absorb this cost on a regular basis.

In order to get it right the first time, install a method of double-checking using one of your seasoned veterans. This is especially important if you have new people picking orders.

Create Color Coded Labels

In order to make it easier for your delivery staff, develop a custom colored label for each of your most valuable customers. Make sure every package you deliver to that customer has that label.

Your drivers will be able to quickly identify those orders. You don't want to make mistakes on orders to your best customers.

Implement "Days Work In A Day"

Simply stated: "What is started today, must be completed today." If you receive it, it must be put away. If an order is put in the system and a pick ticket is printed, it must be picked and shipped or staged.

In order to make this happen, create cut-off times. Order processing must end at a defined time. We need to give the warehouse a chance to finish the day.

Implement Cycle Counting

Most of us know what it is. Some of us recognize the benefits. Few of us have made it part of our standard operating procedures. Cycle counting will increase the accuracy in your systems.

By examining inventory daily, you'll find those mystery items that have found their way to the shelves. You can correct items that have been put in the wrong place. You can rotate stock. The list can go on indefinitely.

Cycle counting is penicillin for distributors because it attacks so many little problems and solves them on a timely basis. Good customer service begins in the warehouse. Sloppy procedures and a disorganized warehouse show what you think about your customers, you employees and the work you do.

CED Magazine, August 2006

Article Date: 08-01-2006

Copyright (C) 2006 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.