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8 Facts about Warehouse Managers

You might think that warehouses are standalone buildings where the only thing that happens in those buildings is the storage of items. This isn’t true because many warehouses are attached to manufacturing facilities so ingredients can be stored before and after production.

Proper storage of ingredients is critical to maintaining quality, safety and freshness. Every manufacturing facility has a warehouse because it is a central location where foods can be received, stored and dispatched. For example, in a cookie manufacturing facility, raw ingredients like flour, sugar and chocolate chips are stored in the warehouse attached to the production facility. Once mixed and baked, the finished cookies are stored in the warehouse again before being shipped to retailers or distributors.

Managing the movement of foods inside and outside the manufacturing facility can be challenging. Unlike durable items foods have a limited expiry date and can cause food safety concerns if not stored properly.

To manage these challenges manufacturing facilities hire Warehouse Managers whose goal is to ensure foods are ready, kept safe and prepared to send to customers.

1. Warehouse managers oversee warehouses

Warehouse managers are responsible for:
Overseeing and managing warehouses that are attached to food processing facilities. They oversee the movement of ingredients/products from when they are received at a warehouse to when they leave the facility. Their main responsibilities involve leading teams, keeping the warehouse organized and coordinating with other departments to ensure the timely delivery of products.

Warehouse managers prioritize safety by promoting teamwork, following food safety policies, and planning preventative maintenance on equipment. They also lend a hand in physical work, like lifting large items or operating a forklift. Throughout their role, they will use essential skills like decision-making, communication, and technological aptitude for effective warehouse management.

2. Warehouse managers ensure that products come out on time and with the right documentation

Warehouse managers work hard to ensure that warehouses run smoothly. However, warehouses are fast-paced environments where items are quickly moving in and out of a facility. As a warehouse supervisor, mistakes can happen if you lose focus even for a moment. They prevent errors from happening by:

  1. Having proper receiving procedures: By having standard receiving procedures warehouse managers can better assess the accuracy and conditions of incoming items.
  2.  Following quality control measures: Manager may conduct random or systematic quality checks during the receiving process to ensure that only acceptable items are stored and shipped.
  3.  Checking documentation: As soon as an item enters into a facility the products it is monitored through tracking processes. A warehouse manager ensures that the products are accounted for. This also helps production managers to plan for production runs.

3. Warehouse managers are effective leaders

The core responsibility of a warehouse manager is to lead team members. They direct staff so that shipping schedules are met and optimized based on what is being produced at their manufacturing facility. Additionally, warehouse managers ensure that warehouses are organized, clean and all items can be easily found. 

As an upper management position, they must also collaborate with other departments such as maintenance, production and purchasing. Although everyone has their own priorities, managers must ensure that the company’s overall needs are met.

4. Warehouse managers have educational backgrounds in supply chain management

The education needed to become a warehouse manager is quite flexible. In some warehouses, you will find production managers that only possess high school degrees. This is because they have worked as a warehouse associate and worked their way up the ladder. This path usually involves starting as a warehouse staff and then working up to a shift supervisor.

In contrast, other companies (usually larger ones) require potential candidates to have a degree or diploma in business, supply chain management or logistics. Companies that need this typically do so because the manager has more logistics-related responsibilities.

5. Warehouse managers help coordinate transportation

Logistics in the context of a warehouse refers to managing all the activities involved in getting products from a warehouse to their final destination. Although many professionals in a food facility help get products from one location to another, such as logistics managers, warehouse managers may still get involved in special cases. Many warehouse managers coordinate with transportation providers such as shipping companies or trucking firms.

For example, in a cookie-making facility, there might have been a skid of missed materials that needed urgently to be delivered to a customer. Because it is a warehouse-specific delivery the warehouse manager may take it upon themselves to find a way to get the product to the customer. This could involve phoning a same-day trucking service to deliver the skid or coordinating the movement into another shipment.
A warehouse manager might coordinate the logistics of getting this skid to the customers. This could involve calling a trucking coming to come and get the skids and confirming the receipt to the warehouse manager at another facility.

6. Warehouse managers care about safety

A good warehouse manager always puts safety first. They emphasize safe work environments by promoting teamwork amongst team members. They can create safe work environments by being knowledgeable about the latest policies and regulations set forth by various governments and workplace safety associations.

Warehouse managers plan preventative maintenance on equipment necessary to the warehouse such as forklifts to enhance safety. Preventative maintenance is predetermined work that is performed to a schedule to prevent the wear and tear or sudden failure of equipment components. By correctly maintaining machinery, supervisors reduce the risk of failing machines and endangering workers.

Though physical safety isn’t their only priority food safety is also at the top of the mind for a warehouse manager. Warehouse managers ensure that their warehouses and associates follow proper food safety policies and procedures. This includes ensuring that skids of products are stored in appropriate refrigeration conditions and warehouses are free from pests (like bugs and animals). They will monitor and ensure compliance in operations, inventory control practices, training, security, safety and productivity.

7. Warehouse managers can put in work too

It isn’t below a warehouse manager to also lend a hand and help out their colleagues. Sometimes in a facility, things go wrong, skids break, and things need to be physically put back together by hand. A warehouse manager needs to be physically capable of lifting large items. Additionally, if an organization is on a tight deadline or an item was forgotten on a shipment then a warehouse manager can hop on a forklift and put the thing on the truck last minute.

8. Warehouse managers need to know how to use computers, make good decisions and communicate effectively

Being a warehouse manager requires a wide range of skills. However, there are a few which are more essential than others. These skills include:

  • Technological aptitude – In today’s digital age, warehouse managers need some proficiency in computer skills. They need to have good computer skills which allows them to use Microsoft applications, inventory management programs and other resource planning software.
  •  Decision-making – Warehouse managers require strong decision-making skills and flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. They analyze data, make timely choices, and adjust strategies as needed, ensuring optimal operations and the ability to respond to evolving challenges and opportunities. This ensures they can respond effectively to changing challenges and seize opportunities for improved efficiency and success in the warehouse.
  •  Communication – As a supervisor, warehouse managers communicate through various channels to ensure the ingredients move correctly. Much of their communication comes through verbal communication such as during meetings, briefings and one-on-one discussions to convey goals, instructions and feedback.

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