Five Warehousing Tips from WERC 2024 in Dallas

After concluding a fantastic WERC 2024 conference in Dallas, we want to share some of the warehousing intelligence that resonated this week. Here are five of many great tips conveyed at WERC 2024:

1. Make safety and cleanliness a cornerstone of your operations

All warehouses TALK about safety, but do they actually WALK the talk? In an educational session about best practices in warehousing led by Christopher Wall of Lennox International, attendees shared tips such as:

• Make one person responsible for the cleanliness of each aisle
• Use different colors of tape to clearly define where things should go
• Invest in your onboarding process and make sure every new employee clearly understands your safety procedures
• Automate safety checks so that it’s easy for employees to report issues
• It’s all about creating a culture where safety and cleanliness is respected. Everyone from the supervisor to the forklift driver should stop and pick up trash as soon they spot it.

2. Make use of the technology you already own

All of the new technology is seductive, but make sure you know what you actually need. In a discussion about selecting software, Greg Utter, senior managing director at Alpine Supply Chain Solutions, said that you might be under utilizing a feature on your existing system(s). Before investing in a new WMS, TMS, or ERP, categorize what features you truly need.

3. Have you considered a gym membership?

It’s difficult to find a warehouse that isn’t challenged with staffing issues. In a discussion about employee benefits led by Sarah O’Neill of Saddle Creek Logistics, one company shared that traditional benefits get a “big yawn” from their employees. However, they were surprised by how many employees participated in their program to subsidize gym memberships.

4. You’re not ready for AI until your data is clean

Who doesn’t want to rush into all of the exciting ways that AI promises to automate your operations and solve staff shortages? However, much like warehouse cleanliness is essential, so is data hygiene. In a peer-to-peer discussion led by Kristi Montgomery of Kenco Logistics Services, attendees shared that data has to be clean and structured before machine learning and AI applications will work properly.

5. Are you loading the chicken correctly?

If you want to continue to innovate, then you have to invite your employees into the innovation process. During a Workforce Toolbox panel discussion, Jeff Spratlin, Talent Director for Chick-fil-A, said his company constantly asksstaff if they think they are loading the chicken correctly. In addition to gaining insight from people who are most familiar with the processes, this tactic also lets your employees know that their opinion is valued.

WERC 2025 Heads Toward NOLA

If you work in logistics, stay tuned for information about our next WERC Annual Conference. Set in New Orleans, it will continue to deliver educational sessions and networking opportunities to warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment professionals. Sign up to be notified of key dates.