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You’ve recently been promoted to warehouse manager, and like anyone with first-day jitters, you wonder if you’re up for the task. Firstly, they wouldn’t have picked you if they didn’t think you were up for the job. Secondly, much of your job can be supported by following a basic framework of ideas and principles. To help you get started, here are a few suggested simple tips for first-time warehouse managers.

Create a Culture of Safety

Your company probably already has safety policies and procedures in place, but it’s up to you to review them regularly with your fellow employees and encourage a culture of safety. Have periodic inspections for a safe working environment and awareness of the rules of protection and well-being. Make safety education fun and memorable with expert-led presentations and hands-on demonstrations. Set up or request first-aid and CPR training if these aren’t already standard practice and try to reward safety-conscious associates with recognition and commendations for their efforts.

Strive for Efficiency and Productivity

You’ll get noticed by making a point to upgrade best practices and the warehouse’s layout. This will also make everyone’s job easier and cut costs. Ensure the layout of the warehouse places the frequently requested items closer to the loading area, for example. Create a clear set of annual and monthly goals, explain them carefully to your staff, and reward those who meet them while working with others to improve their output. Keep things well-lit and ventilated to keep workers productive and safe. Think of ways to cut costs, such as getting energy-efficient lightbulbs and strategically placed fans. Also, make the best use of warehouse space—think horizontally but also vertically.

Keep Things Clean

Cleanliness should always be everyone’s job. If warehouse workers see you taking the time to pick up trash, sweep up aisles, and clean up and maintain equipment, they’ll learn from your example. But don’t do all the work for them! Call attention to places in the warehouse that look shabby or that could create a safety hazard or a loss of goods and materials and establish a regular cycle of maintenance. If you can, set a time for cleaning up shortly before a shift change, but make it clear that regular hourly checkups and cleanings can save everyone time and effort.

Be Ready for Anything

When considering these simple tips for first-time warehouse managers, don’t forget that fortune favors the prepared. Every member of the warehouse staff should be ready to step in for anyone else. Make sure everyone is trained to perform basic functions such as maintenance, finding and fulfilling orders, packing and shipping goods, receiving and processing materials, and keeping things neat and orderly so they can back each other up or step in in emergencies. Having everyone certified in operating forklifts and other vehicles is also a good idea. Don’t get caught short-handed!

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.