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Being a good warehouse supervisor means more than just delegating work. You must be empathetic and inspiring, yet tough. You can't let your employees walk all over you, but you also can't be a drill sergeant. While most warehouse work consists of operating heavy machinery and sending and receiving orders, the manager also has to have the ability to lead her employees by example. If you want to become successful, you must learn how implement some of the techniques that separate good warehouse supervisors from mediocre ones.
Instill in your employees a care and concern for the cleanliness of the warehouse. They should understand organized pallets and shelves, lack of debris on the floor and a sanitary work environment are vital to ensure the safety of all employees.
Do the same work as your subordinates. Showing employees you're willing to sacrifice your ego for the sake of production and solidarity will bring you respect and credibility.
Be a stickler for punctuality. This is more than simply asking people to show up on time. Your employees need to understand they also must receive orders, pick stock and deliver goods in a timely manner because the business depends on it. If you have to bring disciplinary action against employees who are late or cannot get their work done on time, you must be unafraid to do so.
Evaluate the layout of the warehouse and maximize its efficiency. Product placement within a warehouse is plays a significant role in determining how efficient your employees can be when receiving, picking and sending orders. If forklifts have a difficult time navigating the layout, rearrange warehouse shelves in a way that is more streamlined and efficient. Also, if you have products that move much more quickly than others, place those products as close as possible to the shipping docks.
Communicate with your employees at weekly meetings to introduce initiatives, answer questions or complaints and get a sense of employee morale. Happy employees are productive employees, so take an interest in their thoughts. You can also use the meetings to hand out awards or recognize employees for exceptional work.
Post a daily log or checklist outside your office that lists every employee's daily responsibilities. Have each employee check off his duties as he completes them and sign off on his duties at the end of the day. This will ensure that every employee is held accountable for the work he does whether he signs the log or not.
Be prepared to spend long hours in the warehouse since these types of businesses usually operate around the clock to send and receive orders.