10 Common Mistakes Made When Setting Up a New Warehouse

Managing a warehouse move is a complex project that requires best practice knowledge and detailed execution. During the last five years, more and more warehouses are popping up to pave the way for customer demands driven by e-commerce, last mile delivery and safety stock reserves.

  1. Not planning with respect to timeline dependencies

Let’s face it, none of us want a group of people sitting around waiting at the new warehouse for product to arrive. Without the use of dedicated project management software, moving a warehouse would be a nightmare. The software’s functionality helps to carefully plan a warehouse move by identifying crucial task dependencies within the timeline. As tasks become delayed, for whatever reason, project managers can slide the project timeline along with respect to dependencies.

  1. Not enough trucks booked

Organising the transport requirement for movement of product is an important consideration. Not only do you need to plan the transport to be booked ahead of time to ensure availability, you also must ensure that there are enough trucks to complete the move over the required timeline, especially if there is a great distance between warehouses.

  1. Valuable workers taking leave during the move

The organization and allocation of warehouse labour requirements is vital to the success of the project. Organise who is available and restrict leave if possible for the duration of the move. A good project management software solution will allow for workers to request leave within the platform, altering project managers to their request. This way, the project manager has visibility over resources when needed the most and allow time to organise additional casual labour supplier if required. If the business is continuing to operate during the move, also allocate additional resources to compensate.

  1. Miscommunication over task allocation

Staff are often working around the clock in various shifts during a warehouse move, and casual or labour hire workers will have even less of an idea of the task required. Project managers must communicate to each person on exactly what they are required to complete, any equipment or materials required for the task, and how long it is estimated towards completion.

  1. Daily updates on progress

A detailed floor plan should be available to everyone, with instructions on slotting information for SKUs carefully demonstrated. Workers should understand the order in which racks and equipment will be installed (if installing new). Where most project managers come unstuck however, is instilling the expectation that each worker reports back daily on hours worked, any overtime, ad hoc tasks completed, and the progress of the task completed.

A good project management software platform should provide mobile applications that allow for project managers to communicate daily with each worker on the project. This process will ensure that any problems or alerts are communicated to project managers, allowing for them to plan any delays and consider any dependencies.

  1. Miscommunication between site managers (the right hand not talking to the left)

In effect, there are two projects happening at once during a warehouse move and it’s important that project managers at both sites have complete visibility over the overall project. Most project management software tools have for real time dash boards, that allow for multiple teams working together simultaneously to oversee the progress or delays of the project. Without this feature, many problems can occur, including stock arriving without people to offload, or even worse, stock and people ready to stack racks without permits or utilities.

  1. Contractors deliver permits on time, turn on water, Wi-Fi on time

Managing contractors during a warehouse move is vital to the success of the project, and for the safety and comfort of your staff. It’s impossible to work without power and other connectivity, or the water mains not connected to your site. Firstly, select contractors, and check their availability and their relevant qualifications and certificates.

In the same way that staff and labour hired report daily on tasks and progress to the project manager, similarly, contractors should be added to the project management software platform to ensure the warehouse has all occupancy and safety requirements and permits.

  1. Lack of materials handling equipment

It’s a frustrating scene seeing a line of staff waiting for the forklift to reach their rack before they can complete the task at hand. Ensure materials handling equipment is available for all facets of the move, in both warehouses.

Ensure other packaging equipment and stationery has been delivered and is available for use.

  1. Devices connected into WMS

Ensure WMS has been set up for the new warehouse, tested and gone live prior to commencing the project. The right number of devices required for a WMS must be tested and connected, ready for use with chargers available and on hand.

  1. Failure to deliver access and induction to new warehouse

Parking, keys, security codes, swipe cards, phone numbers are all provided to staff and workers prior to arrival for a smooth flow of access and start times for tasks to be completed. Safety inductions should also be sent prior to the start date to avoid risk of bottle necks on the first day. A good project management software platform will allocate tasks and the instructions for access and induction ahead of time, allowing for reminders to be sent at pre-set configurations by the project manager.

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