Factories are not usually considered a flexible, open space. In fact, usually busy and frenzied, these buildings tend to consist of large numbers of people and pallets, not something consumers or workers want to deal with in a COVID-19 world. It’s a problem as proprietors try to juggle increased online sales with a limited workflow. Can these factors eventually resolve, allowing for a once again smooth operation? After all, American consumers won’t continue to wait an extra 5 weeks for what they desire. Managers and owners will need to modify and get creative with their procedures and schedules. Here are three ways that could improve the overall system.
Improve Packing Efficiency
Images of warehouses show mass pallets of boxes. Those brown cases simply seem to pile high. Although they are slightly organized, it could take forever to locate, retrieve the materials someone demands. Think out of the box, organizing the space to be more fluid and manageable. Cantilever Racking, for example, allows for staff to lift items higher, creating more separation and better eye flow. This might allow for easier location. Continue to think about whether floor rearrangement also demands a change, bringing some of your more popular items into sections that allow for quick accessibility.
Create Flexible Hours
As the racking companies work to establish a new design, collaborate with employee leaders and management to offer a schedule that shifts from the 9-5 time frame. People may choose at this time to work at night or on weekends. Minimize the people in the space, but extend how long the factory doors remain open. Although utilities may be on longer, you might fulfill those orders faster, picking up the lost money with the increased sales.
Emphasize Distance and Hygiene
Consumers want to know that they can trust the brand. Follow CDC guidelines, promoting distance and hand washing. Provide sanitizer throughout the building, and ask sick employees to stay home. Furthermore, designate spots for people, requesting that all workers respect the six feet rule, avoiding as much contact as possible. Once you have a policy in place, post it on your website and email anyone on your current mailing lists, helping others understand your care for everyone’s safety.
It’s a different world, and yes, it can be harder to run a business. That doesn’t mean it stops though. Minds are going to have to get creative to keep life running. Just remember to be honest and open, sharing with your patrons the efforts your establishment is taking.