As a warehouse or DC manager, it's your job to oversee day-to-day operations, make decisions about equipment purchases, and call the shots on personnel and a host of other matters. But do you ever seek input from people like lift truck operators who are directly affected by those decisions? It's worth asking them, since they know what happens where the rubber meets the road (or in this case, where the forks meet the racks).
According to Raymond Handling Concepts Inc., a Pacific Northwest dealer of material handling equipment and systems headed by Stephen Raymond (of the family behind lift truck maker The Raymond Corp.), there's a lot lift truck operators would like management to know but don't always feel comfortable saying. Raymond spent some time asking operators what's important to them and came up with a short list that might surprise you. Here are their responses, in no specific order:
1. Safety matters. Forklift operators want to be safe—they'd like to go home at the end of the shift with all of their fingers and toes intact, as Raymond puts it. They also want everyone who comes into the warehouse, whether outsiders or company employees, to be informed about company safety practices.
2. They take pride in their work. Good operators want to be recognized for their skill. They also take pride in their workplace and want their fellow drivers to adhere to the same high standards they do (even if it means more drug testing or auditing to weed the bad ones out).
3. They appreciate new equipment. New lift truck technology, ergonomic design, and safety features all help operators be more productive, comfortable, and efficient. A newer truck breaks down less often, too.
4. Forklifts and rack systems must be compatible. Racking that's too narrow or aisles that prevent trucks from passing each other constrain operators' ability to work as efficiently as possible.
5. They don't want to be kept in the dark. Inadequate lighting reduces productivity and leads to accidents and product damage. Immediately replacing or repairing lights that are burned out or damaged helps operators maintain productivity.
The complete article and many other informative and helpful posts can be found in the "Learn" section of Raymond Handling Concepts' website, www.raymondhandling.com.