Since the health crisis, logistics careers have been put to the test. At the heart of the warehouse, operators have to manage just-in-time stocks, while delivering to their customers ever more quickly and efficiently. Working in a warehouse therefore requires the right equipment to fulfil the demanding tasks of the distribution industry.

The keys to success are a working environment and warehouse equipment that combine efficiency and well-being, continuous improvement, and ergonomics. ‘Well-working’ is a key concern for the Manutan brand. This is why, in order to encourage work that contributes both to the development of the employee and to the success of the company, the Manutan brand offers quality, affordable, everyday products. 

Work in the warehouse: strive for continuous improvement to optimise your logistics 

Through the various existing methods, continuous improvement allows you to optimise the management of your warehouse, thus saving time and increasing productivity and efficiency while fulfilling each order. 

Within businesses, Lean Management aims to eliminate the waste of resources, in particular through the 5 S method (Seiri, Seiso, Seiton, Seiketsu and Shitsuke), which focuses on the continuous improvement of the tasks performed. There is also the Kanban method, which makes it possible to optimise the management of stock with ‘just-in-time’.  

Here are four key steps to optimising your warehouse and involving your teams: 

  1. Raise awareness among managers; 
  1. Integrate performance indicators; 
  1. Regularly communicate KPIs1
  1. Implement active listening with your employees. 

The warehouse manager, who manages and administers the material resources and the teams, holds a key position for the smooth running of work in a warehouse and its improvement. 

One method is not more beneficial than another. Rather, a combination of these complementary strategies should be used to achieve performance and profitability goals. 

Work efficiently in a warehouse with efficient equipment 

We are convinced that, by supplementing working methods with efficient products, companies can boost their performance as well as the satisfaction of their employees at work, whether in the warehouse, in the office or at home. 

Storage for efficient work in a warehouse 

All approaches mentioned above agree on one thing: a clean and orderly working environment improves efficiency. Therefore, it is important to choose the right storage furniture: cabinets with adjustable drawers and/or shelves, hardware cabinets with compartments, tool cabinets, sliding door cabinets (with or without a display case), configurable lockers, locker rooms, tool storage, etc. There is something for everyone, to cater to all needs! As the Scottish author Samuel Smiles once said: ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. 

Floor markings for working safely in a warehouse 

In order to help optimise the safety and organisation of your warehouse, it is important to indicate entrances, flow directions and danger zones in a language that ever warehouse worker can understand: floor markings. Using a tape applicator, you can easily apply the markings to the floor, making sure to choose the right colours. 

For example, according to the European Directive 92/58/EEC

  • The colour red refers to a prohibition, a danger or to firefighting material and equipment; 
  • Yellow or amber is a warning sign; 
  • Blue is a mandatory sign; 
  • Green indicates an emergency escape or first aid sign. 

For obstacles or danger zones, yellow and black or red and white stripes are used. Finally, coloured stripes (often white), which are visible on the ground, are used to indicate traffic routes, especially for forklift drivers. 

As well as tape, other additional marking elements can also be used to indicate storage locations or transport routes, for example arrows, crosses, feet, T or L shapes. 

Bins and cards to better anticipate stock replenishment 

For more efficient stock management, the Kanban method, and in particular the double bin system, can be applied. A minimum of two bins should be available for each product. The first bin, placed at the front, represents the operational stock. The second (or more) bin, placed at the back, contains the reserve stock.  

Underneath the first bin, a ‘Kanban’ card is placed with the name of the product, its picture and other information, if necessary. As soon as this bin is empty, the card is displayed for all to see, using a label or document holder, for example, to indicate that the stock needs to be replenished. The second bin then takes over whilst the restocking is completed. 

Ergonomic warehouse equipment adapted to physical tasks 

It is essential to maintain the comfort, health, and safety of your team through an ergonomic working environment. This is especially true for warehouse working experience, which often involves difficult physical work: handling of loads, repetitive movements, prolonged periods of standing, fast pace, exposure to low temperatures, etc. Very often this leads to occupational physical ailments, also known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Today, 58% of European workers believe they suffer from one or more MSDs. These mainly involve lower back pain and muscle pain in the upper limbs2

In addition to preventing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders, the provision of ergonomic equipment is a driver of motivation, involvement and therefore performance of the company’s employees. This is why it is more important than ever to ensure that workplaces are designed for the people who use them. In a warehouse, ergonomics can be applied to all types of situations and activities. 

Workshop stations 

It is important to pay particular attention to the seating of workshop stations. You can opt for a sit-stand or a workshop chair where you can adjust the height of the seat and the footrest. 

Standing positions 

For a job that requires standing for long hours, an anti-fatigue mat is essential. Ideally, it should have bevelled edges to ensure the safety and ease of movement of both staff and trolleys. This type of mat promotes blood circulation, relieves lower back pain, reduces fatigue, and insulates against noise, cold floors, and possible vibrations. 

The work of operators 

In order to lift and move heavy loads, operators should use a mobile lift table, a high lift pallet truck or a convertible hand truck. This type of storage equipment is essential to avoid having to bend over and strain your muscles, and therefore prevents back pain. 

Packing stations 

For packing stations that require physical effort and repetitive movements, packers must be properly equipped. A complete packing table where everything is within easy reach as well as the use of suitable tools, such as an ergonomic tape dispenser, are the best solutions. Lightweight, equipped with an adjustable brake, a retractable blade, and a handle that moulds to the shape of the hand, operation is easy. In addition, the preparation of orders is secure. 

The Manutan brand supports you in ‘Well-working’ on a daily basis in the warehouse. With everyday products at affordable prices, improving the performance and working conditions of operators is now within everyone’s reach.