Turkey is entering the %22New Normal%22 period, and unless the Kovid-19 virus is completely destroyed, the practices for %22crisis management%22 (hygiene, hand washing, mask use, social distance, working from home) will continue in the %22New Normal%22 period.
Mosquitoes were tried to be killed with %22crisis management%22 during the pandemic period, and now, in order to dry the swamp so that the flies do not reproduce again, %22risk management%22 must ensure that the virus does not spread and infect people in the %22New Normal%22 period.
Covid-19 virus; It is transmitted much more easily in closed, crowded and close-to-face interaction environments. Warehouses, unfortunately, are one of the most suitable environments for the transmission of Kovid-19 for these reasons. Therefore, warehouses should be ready for the “New Normal” period (100% if possible) so that the spread of Kovid-19 will not be seen in warehouse workers and Kovid-19 will not be seen.
Otherwise, as in South Korea, where the fight against Kovid-19 is shown as an example and the number of “new cases” is almost zero, warehouse-centered virus spread and rapid “+” case increases in the second wave can also be seen in Turkey.
In order to be ready for the %22New Normal%22 period, each warehouse must make the necessary arrangements according to its own working culture , current physical environment and current operation .
The most important priority is for warehouse employees to work in a healthy warehouse environment in the “New Normal” period. A healthy working environment to be created by managing the risks of COVID-19 for warehouse workers correctly in the “New Normal” period can also enable them to work more accurately (efficiently, effectively, effectively). Thus, warehouses can provide continuous service to meet the needs of people during other pandemic periods such as Kovid-19. If this cannot be achieved, the commercial life of companies with warehouse operations may also be adversely affected.
I tried to list my suggestions so that the warehouses are ready for the %22New Normal%22 period.
Each warehouse can choose the appropriate one from this list in addition to its own precautions. On the other hand, this list can be improved with your comments and contributions.
How can Warehouses be ready for the %22New Normal%22 situation?
Must be a “Kovid-19 Clean” Warehouse
The Kovid-19 test should be done to all employees and the warehouse should work as “Kovid-19 Clean” (the test can also be done to the family of the employees). As a result of the test, treatment should be started for “+” people and the test should be repeated at regular intervals. In addition, the “Risk Group” and “critical for the operation” people who may be most affected by Kovid-19 in the warehouse should be followed up regularly after the test.
SOP should be created
Applications that are %22crisis management%22 for Kovid-19, scientific information, legal regulations and pre-%22New Normal%22 experiences (errors, troubles, employees or suppliers) for the purpose of %22risk management%22 not only for Kovid-19 but also against other viruses during the %22New Normal%22 period. The SOP should be prepared or the current SOP should be updated, taking into account the reactions of the drivers or drivers.
In the %22New Normal%22 period, both the employees and the working area, namely the warehouse, should be hygienic.
- Sufficient number of contactless “Hand Disinfectant” stations, if possible, for disinfection of hands; It can be placed in places that warehouse workers can reach without walking much, next to devices that must be touched by %22hand%22 (for example, finger scanning for commuting to work, etc.), on both sides of the doors and at the entrance of social areas.
- Employees can disinfect their hands at least once an hour during the shift at the non-contact %22Hand Disinfectant%22 station, or %22Disinfectant Wipes%22 can be given to each employee before the shift.
- %22Disinfectant PassPas%22 can be used for shoes at the entrance to certain areas.
- Employees who use personalized equipment or materials or take, for example, their laptop computers, should carry out the necessary disinfection.
- The disinfection of the common equipment (forklift, RT, pallet truck, etc.) should be done by the last employee before each shift change and should be recorded and a “disinfected” sign or similar visual sign should be placed on it.
- The disinfection of the common material (hand terminal, keyboard, tape machine, touch screens, collection cars, radios, etc.) should be done by the last employee before each shift change and should be recorded and a %22disinfected%22 sign or similar visual sign should be placed on it. .
- The documents to be given to the warehouse by the driver should be placed in the insulated box after they are taken by wearing gloves and should be taken after staying in this box for a while (15-30 minutes).
Areas where people and/or movement are intense can be cleaned more frequently to prevent the accumulation of waste (cardboard box, stretch, etc.), and special waste areas can be created for them.
- Warehouse general (weekly), especially risk takers (after every shift if possible) and personnel services can be specially disinfected at certain periods.
- Gloves can be used in receiving, counting, returning, packaging, dining hall, cleaning and security processes.
- Personnel services can be disinfected before bringing warehouse workers to the warehouse.
- Vending machines, if any, should be regularly disinfected or removed from service. If it is to be used, instead of %22money%22 for payment, the amount of use may be deducted from the employee’s wage.
- Water dispensers should be disinfected regularly.
- Disposable cups can be used to drink tea or coffee or water.
- Disposable spoon, fork and table d’hôte trays can be used in the cafeteria.
Employees must wear masks in accordance with the rules (mouth and nose are completely closed) (in some cases, mask and visor can be used together) and can use gloves if necessary.
Employees can change the mask every four hours or when it gets wet (“medical waste bins” can be created for these).
Masks and other materials can be kept in easy-to-open stations that can be easily reached by every employee.
%22Social distancing%22 in the warehouse
Even in the pre-Kovid-19 situation, the warehouses called %22we have to put goods even in the corridors%22 will be compatible for social distance in the %22New Normal%22 period, which may affect the warehouses due to possible loss of space.
While making applications for social distance, attention should be paid to the efficient and effective operation of the warehouse as much as possible.
How can social distance be ensured in the warehouse where there is a constantly moving environment and crowd of people, and more importantly, how can social distance be maintained at the time of work ?
- A team with the participation of warehouse workers first made a large-scale warehouse layout map. Operational departments and employees with the most equipment and human movement the places (walking path, social area, toilet, warehouse entrance-exit, locker room, etc.) where they are in “interaction” very often close to face to face can be determined (if available, “heat map” or “real-time movement” data can be used)
- “Flexible” (may vary according to legal regulations, time, workload, experience) and “fixed” social distance (1.5-2 meters) practices can be determined for the determined, and if necessary, the warehouse layout can be changed in order to comply with social distance.
- A social distance compatible work area can be created with marking & warning PVC tapes on the floor, with priority given to the sections with the highest human density and movement in the warehouse. Belts that are worn or removed due to equipment movement can be replaced.
- Glow-in-the-dark (photolum) tapes can be used for outdoor night work or for warehouse areas where lighting is not sufficient.
- Obsolete stock SKUs can be disposed of to save storage space and reduce clutter or crowding; empty pallets lying around, etc. things can be removed; By making movement-based ABC, slow and fast moving SKUs can be reviewed and their locations in the warehouse can be changed if necessary.
- Work orders (picking, placing, feeding) to avoid congestion and congestion at the location; It should be produced in a way that allows more than one employee to work at the same location at the same time, at a distance suitable for social distance, and in the shelf corridors (if it is not specially allocated to an employee), there will be only one-way movement and it should pass to the other corridor in the form of %22S%22. In addition, work orders can be organized in such a way that they do not start at the same time (5-10 min. break). The Warehouse Management System (WMS) should be configured and arranged to create a work order for it.
- Collection strategy; It can be arranged in a way that allows an employee to work only in the zone that is reserved for him (zone picking) during the shift. Thus, the possibility of close face-to-face interaction of the employee with other employees to disrupt the social distance can be reduced. Alternative collection; It can be arranged to reduce the waiting time of the employee at the location, to prevent more than one employee from being in the same place at the same time, and to have one-way movement in the corridor.
- It can be ensured that employees do not collect by constantly moving & moving around (person to good) and that SKUs come to them without moving employees (goods to person).
For each employee who will work in a fixed station or region, the working area occupied can be determined in the form of a cell suitable for social distance.
- After zone picking, %22sorting and/or consolidation%22, %22packaging%22 and, if any, %22value-added operations%22 are performed at the stations and every employee in the station can be separated with transparent plexiglass (perspex) glass sheets.
- Social distancing compliant workspaces can be created in the receiving and shipping area.
- It can be ensured that the missing equipment or materials of the employees are completed so that they do not search for equipment or materials in the warehouse or go to another employee to borrow. Thus, close face-to-face “interaction” of employees can be prevented.
- If the exchange of equipment or materials from person to person is necessary, in order to minimize the close face-to-face “interaction” between people, they can be left at the “drop-take” stations after disinfection by the end user and the new user can pick it up from the station.
- In order to reduce the face-to-face “interaction” between people, “common use” equipment and materials can be reduced and equipment and materials can be given only for the person’s own use.
- It is important that tens or hundreds of employees do not accumulate in one place at the same time. Social distancing can fail if too many people enter any part of the warehouse at the same time. Therefore, the shift system can be revised. For example, fewer people can be in the warehouse at the same time in each shift, without reducing the number of employees, increasing the number of shifts, or only accepting goods or only collecting and only packaging in a shift. It is important to have a sufficient number of managers (shift supervisor and team manager) in case the number of shifts increases.
- By stretching the current “Performance Criteria (KPI), possible errors, for example due to hasty action, can be prevented. Thus, face-to-face interaction can be reduced to correct the error.
- The frequency of face-to-face “communication” between people (employee-manager, employee-employee) can be reduced.
- Arrival and departure times, for example, by grouping and applying staggered time, in order to avoid crowding at the entrance and exit of the warehouse. group:8:00 and 2nd group:8:30; Provided that it does not adversely affect the safety of the warehouse, more than one entry-exit door can be activated, except for the %22Fire Escape%22, and %22remote body temperature measurement%22 can be performed instead of individual body temperature control.
- Grouping and progressive time; It can also be applied for tea break, meal and change of clothes.
- Processes, wasteful movements (duplicate, etc.) and errors can be improved, and waiting and backlogs that negatively affect routine work can be reduced.
- Ordering in conversation with customers (such as extended delivery time or one-shot picking rather than piece picking, or orders less frequently in larger quantities) can be modified to avoid overcrowding.
- In order to facilitate the acceptance of goods and not cause crowds, different goods acceptance times can be determined and the supplier may send it in a way that can be easily checked (pallet instead of parcel).
- The movement of goods to the shipping area can be organized with fewer people.
- The walking paths used to go to places such as toilets, meals, breaks, locker rooms, social areas can be used one-way so that employees do not come face-to-face and social distance is not disrupted, or these roads can be divided into two with transparent plexiglass sheets if they are wide enough. On the walking paths; walking direction arrows and ground lines drawing attention to the social distance range can be used. If necessary, different routes can be designed for walking.
- Work to be done with more than one person, such as lifting heavy loads where social distance is difficult to be achieved, can be done with special overalls at the end of the shift, and the times for these can be extended.
- forklift etc. The cabinets of the equipment can be completely closed so as not to obstruct the view.
- Instead of face-to-face, a back-to-back or side-by-side working order can be established as much as possible.
- The number of different people with close face-to-face interaction can be reduced with %22Fixed team or body system (dual)%22 (Body system can also be used in cases such as heavy loads.)
- Loading or unloading of the vehicle can be done by an employee.
- Provided that the cleanliness of the warehouse is not adversely affected, the employees can bring their food (meal money can be paid) or sandwiches can be given to the employees (they can eat in a separate place).
- In-warehouse meetings can be held in such a way that each participant stays in the designated cell.
- The crowding of people in the warehouse can be reduced by restricting or banning their visits to the warehouse.
- The job plan can be updated based on 80%, 50% and 30% staff availability.
- Technique, cleaning etc. for multiple warehouses. Permeability between facilities can be prevented by using support personnel for each warehouse instead of using common personnel such as
- It can be ensured that the drivers do not enter the warehouse area or even the loading & unloading ramps and do not get out of their vehicles.
- The capacity of personnel services can be reduced in accordance with social distance.
Ensuring the participation of warehouse employees for all arrangements to be made in the warehouse for Kovid-19 may be beneficial for warehouse employees to adopt and implement these practices.
Shift and/or team managers, together with an employee, can demonstrate “mask use, social distancing and hygiene practice” before each shift.
There may be posters, signs and screens showing videos explaining these in places where every employee can easily see for %22hygiene, mask use, social distance%22 practices in the warehouse.
Warning stickers for %22social distance%22, %22hygiene%22, %22mask%22 can be attached to the work clothes of each employee and to the appropriate places of the equipment.
Families of warehouse workers can be regularly informed about Kovid-19.
Suppliers sending goods to the warehouse, suppliers of equipment and materials used in the warehouse, and drivers bringing goods to the warehouse can be regularly informed about Kovid-19.
Shift and/or team managers can control the “mask, social distance and hygiene” practices (if they do not comply, they should be warned by saying “kindly” without offending the employee).
It may be effective for the team to be established among the warehouse workers alternately every week, to supervise the practices of their friends.
Applications for social distance can be reviewed every month and new arrangements or corrections can be made. Employees should voice their opinions by participating in the review.
Regular control of the suppliers that send goods to the warehouse, the drivers who bring the goods to the warehouse and the personnel services can be effective.
“Emergency” can be specified in the SOP in case of a Kovid-19 case both in the warehouse and in the supplier, driver and personnel service interacting with the warehouse, and even in the employee’s family.
Employees’ %22Social Distance, Hygiene, mask%22 compliance can be checked with artificial intelligence (AI) supported cameras capable of face recognition, and instant alerts can be sent to the manager’s mobile phone.
“High fever”, which is one of the important symptoms for Kovid-19, can be instantly controlled with a UWB (ultra wide band) wristband that can be worn on the wrist of the employees.
The wearable device can warn with sound, light and vibration that social distancing is falling under. In addition, the interaction of the employee with other employees can be reported in case of possible “+” incidents.
Social distance control and automatic warning can be developed by tracking the movements of warehouse workers and equipment with a real-time tracking system on the digital map of the warehouse or with the application on the mobile phone.
Messages to reduce the frequency of face-to-face communication between people (employee-manager, employee-employee); It can be sent via SMS, WhatsApp (audio & text) or video.
While designing for a new warehouse in the future, lessons learned from Kovid-19 warehouses; people-oriented, designable, M2 per person can be increased, social areas and changing rooms can be wider, more hygienic social areas can be made with anti-microbial building materials; automatic opening-closing doors, can be used. Also, the WMS design and warehouse operation can be such that it minimizes human interaction rather than just allowing more exits from the warehouse.
As a result, as I mentioned before, the most important priority is for warehouse employees to work in a healthy warehouse environment in the “New Normal” period.
Companies that have warehouse operations in Turkey, using my suggestions that I have tried to list as much as possible, in order to contribute to the measures they will take appropriate to their situation so that it is not like in South Korea, and as a result, maybe more can ensure efficient, effective and efficient operation.