If There’s a Fire in the Warehouse, You’re All Set!

Here’s a novel approach to meeting the need for hourly workers in your warehouse or distribution center: use the local fire department as a labor pool. That’s one of the creative ideas in the annual “Looking Ahead” report from industry newsletter Distribution Center Management. The report, “DCs focusing on recruiting employees, implementing technology in 2005,” notes that employee recruitment and retention and implementing new equipment and technology are the key areas on which warehouse and distribution center management will focus in 2005. According to editor Troy Reynolds, “staffing is such a large issue in some areas that many industry experts anticipate it will once again become difficult to find qualified warehouse staff at all levels.” Using the local fire department as a source of labor makes sense, says the report, because firefighters typically work four days on and three days off, and they are often looking for part-time work. Companies train the firefighters on the warehouse systems and processes, and use them on their days off from the fire station.

Many companies continue to find success using temporary agencies to help staff the warehouse. That way, management can evaluate a temp before deciding to bring him or her on as a full-time hire. “It also offers flexibility,” notes Reynolds, “and makes it easier to cut staff in case there’s a downturn in business.” The full text of the Distribution Center Management report is available online at the newsletter website, www.DistributionGroup.com/dcmsample.php or by phoning the publisher at (800) 232-4317.

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