How to Solve Warehouse Worker Safety & Productivity Problems posed by the Pandemic (Infographic)
As the pandemic has swept across the world in the past few months, the necessity – and the dangers – of fully operational warehouses have come into public view as never before. Consumers have come to appreciate the critical role that a well-functioning supply chain plays in getting the items they need. And they’ve learned that items they want, but deemed “non-essential,” may not be available for months.
At the same time, news accounts of problems at warehouses, such as those at Amazon and Safeway, are getting attention due to worker concerns about their own safety. Unions are calling for strikes in response to employees being infected by the virus while on the job.
Is there a way that warehouses can protect workers and, if necessary, stay just as productive even as some employees are unable to work?
Absolutely. With Mainway + Modula
How can vertical storage solutions be a valuable aid for businesses today?
The safety advantages of a vertical lift module?
In a traditional warehouse, workers are sent to retrieve items stacked on shelves across a massive facility, passing each other many times a day. With the pressures added to ship more items to keep up with demand and meet production quotas, warehouse managers are likely to hire even more workers if they can.
This makes a bad situation worse in terms of covid-19. Having more and more people scrambling up and down aisles makes it all but impossible to maintain six feet of distance between them without drastically reducing productivity.
What if instead of the workers going to the goods, the goods came to the workers?
This is the basic idea of a vertical lift module or vlm. Items are stored in a tall, efficiently packed machine, and a worker touches a screen to withdraw the required items. Now a worker can stand at the machine and retrieve all the parts needed without walking around the floor and passing by other workers — making it easy to adhere to the six-foot minimum distance. Besides the advantage of social distancing, workers are safer using a vlm than they are in a traditional warehouse.
The goods are delivered to them at chest height – there are none of the ergonomic problems caused by reaching high or low to pull a heavy item from a shelf. This enables workers to avoid injuries that would force them to leave the workforce temporarily or even permanently. The experience is far more pleasant for workers overall, making job turnover less of a factor than it tends to be in warehouses.