Exercise is great, but in today's sprawling warehouses and DCs, some employees might be getting too much of a good thing. Workers whose jobs require them to travel throughout the building can walk miles each day, ending their shifts fatigued and racking up hours of unproductive travel time over the course of a week.
To cut down on walking time, warehouse operators are employing a variety of personnel carriers. Golf cart-style vehicles are the most popular, but bicycles, Segways, and electric three-wheeled "personal mobility vehicles," like those used in law enforcement, are also becoming common.
Hallmark, the maker of greeting cards and gift items, has come up with yet another solution: electric scooters. In a bid to cut walk time at its 300,000-square-foot DC at SubTropolis, an underground business complex carved out of limestone on the outskirts of Kansas City, Mo., General Manager Lona Smith bought five electric GoPet scooters manufactured by Mighty Lift Inc. Hallmark outfitted each scooter with optional trailers, which can haul up to 350 pounds of total weight, front baskets for carrying small packages or other items, and seats.
Now, supervisors and other employees scoot around the DC, using the vehicles for everything from supervision and site surveys to researching inventory and production issues, transporting paperwork, and expediting shipments from the facility. Smith estimates that each scooter saves up to 10 miles per day total in walking over the course of the company's three-shift operation.