Checklist for Warehouse Operations in a Post-COVID-19 World

As the dawn of reality sets in and businesses embrace the new normal, the fear of COVID-19 remains intact. The government has eased restrictions and allowed for businesses to operate, however, with the condition that stern rules and regulations are to be followed. For businesses of any scale, streamlining flows to reopen warehouses may be a challenge given the complexity of the problem that lies ahead. 

Challenges that need immediate addressing

  • Is there a disaster management plan in place?
  • How will the business work with suppliers?
  • How will the business maintain the workforce and ensure strict adherence to regulations?
  • How will the business tackle problems like in warding and movement of goods within the warehouse with minimal contact?
  • How will the logistics hand-off take place?
  • How will deliveries and returns be handled?

Some sectors have seen unprecedented growth in the past; with ‘essentials’ skyrocketing in demand, the need for the hour is uninterrupted supply. Fulfilling demand, however, does not come at the cost of safety. Every business today, whether in the essential or non-essential space needs to have an action plan to ensure the safety of the workers and consumers while keeping the risk of contracting the virus as minimal as possible. 

How to streamline warehouse operations for safety

  1. 360 Sanitization: As many studies suggest, the virus can live on inanimate objects for close to 72 hours and eliminating chances of contracting the virus through surfaces is the first step towards curbing the spread. Thorough sanitization of peripherals, doors, knobs, racks, trolleys, and other objects can cut down any potential risks. Sanitization has to be a mandatory practice and carried out on a regular basis for efficacy.
  1. Monitor floor staff: Educating the workforce is the foremost responsibility of businesses. The seriousness of the situation needs to be communicated to the workforce and the steps to curb the spread also need to be addressed. Monitoring the workforce before entering the premises should be made mandatory. As per the government regulations, anyone who is running a temperature over 37.4 needs to be reported to the manager and sent home for a period of self-quarantine. Also, masks and gloves must be distributed for safety. Hand sanitization every 2 hours has to be made mandatory and this is also to be monitored.
  1. Social distancing norms: A minimum distance of 6 feet is to be maintained between workers at any given time. At workstations, packing stations, and even leisure time, the norms of social distancing are to be adhered to. 
  1. In warding procedure: While sanitization, social distancing, and other mandatory procedures can easily be put in place, the real challenge arises when inwarding products with zero contact. Mandatory temperature checks for drivers bringing in the goods via trucks and a contactless handover of the required documentation, followed by 
  1. No-contact racking, packing, and hand-offs: The ideal way to move things around the warehouse while maintaining minimal contact is to assign two people and set paths to carry out tasks. While racking, ensure the GRN entries are made and aisles are sanitized well. Social distancing norms are to be maintained while packing with a minimum of 6 feet between each worker. Packed goods are to be left at designated spots from where assigned personnel can pick them and a hand-off to logistics will be done.
  1. No-contacts returns processing: In the case of returns, the package is to be dropped off at the return pay. As a safety measure, the package is to be left at the returns dock for 24 hours and inwarded the next day. Post-pick-up, sanitization, and quality check is to be carried out and the product should be then docked on the respective rack.

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