Challenges are abundant in the retail industry. Large retailers with hundreds of locations all over North America must constantly look for potential productivity dips in their everyday operations.
In the warehouses and distribution centers, the accelerated pace of operational activities including the circulation of products, employees, and forklifts increases the chances of accidents. Making sure all the workplaces offer a safe environment for employees is crucial – and unfortunately, not so easy to do.
Learn how one of the biggest retailers in the US improved safety and reduced costs in all its warehouses after suffering a devastating racking accident.
A tragic warehouse accident
In North America, the law stipulates that companies are responsible for providing their employees with a safe work environment. In a warehouse, it means that racking systems must maintain full integrity to ensure safety. After years of conducting activities in a high-performance environment, the US-based retail company suffered an unfortunate racking accident, and an employee was severely injured. The workers and managers were in shock: the racking systems that seemed so stable and reliable gave way suddenly, without an apparent impact or major accident leading to the collapse.
Improvements needed to improve warehouse safety
In the days following the event, employees started to worry about their safety in the workplace. The ambient discomfort quickly led to lower productivity, absenteeism, and a problematic work atmosphere. The managers knew they had to react fast to address the situation and get the company out of the dire circumstances it had fallen under.
The incident pushed the management team to assess safety measures and habits. It made them realize there was a flaw in their maintenance system, and they needed to fix it. By doing so, they would be able to reassure their employees, make sure everybody was safe and gain back their trust.
Searching for solutions
When they analyzed the incident, they realized a big part of the problem came from previous damage to racks that eventually caused the collapse. As a result, mandatory rack safety practices were put in place by the company’s headquarters. They identified the need for an annual 3rd party assessment of racking issues and established a tendering process. The inspection scope was awarded to the lowest-cost vendor.
The first year of inspections yielded mixed results:
The vendor’s lack of domain expertise caused “inspectors” to identify rack issues that were not significant: their limited understanding of the types of rack damage prevented them from precisely categorizing the severity of issues, which led to a lot of unnecessary rack replacements.
The lack of consistency in the rack safety inspection process from one store to the next caused wide discrepancies.
The cost of their lack of expertise led to an average cost of $10,000 / year per store for the replacement of racking components.
The retailer sought to find an alternative solution to their racking inspection issues due to the vendor’s poor performance: that’s when Damotech came into play.
Work smarter for better warehouse maintenance
With over 30 years in business, Damotech is the largest provider of rack safety solutions in North America. With a meticulous engineering team, Damotech offers conformity inspections, load capacity calculations, and employee training to ensure safety in warehouses. We also manufacture and install the industry's top-performing rack protection and rack repair kits.
Once Damotech took over the retailer’s contract: over $10M in savings
Pilot inspections were conducted in a selection of stores to check the work of the initial vendor’s inspections.
Damotech’s engineering expertise and standardized process for conducting inspections led to the identification of far fewer rack safety deficiencies. This meant less money invested in “useless” replacements for the US-based retailer.
110,000 DAMO GUARDS were installed, which meant from now on, the protected locations were 10x less likely to be replaced due to damage.
Damotech engineers’ expertise and sophisticated inspection methodologies yielded a 100% on-time reporting score and a reduction of over 70% in per-store spending for replacement rack components per year.
Damotech eventually replaced the incumbent vendor and was awarded a multi-year contract.
A simpler and safer way to manage rack safety - peace of mind included
The first full year of inspections was successfully conducted in November 2020, and the contract was renewed for two years. Among the benefits Damotech brought to its client, peace of mind is one of the most important ones. Knowing that the warehouse environment is kept safe thanks to the expertise of engineers is a priceless gift to the management team. Among the other benefits they get from choosing Damotech:
Detailed inspection reports: Damotech's reports are the most detailed in the industry. All reports contain scope, procedure, key findings, found issues, photos, and much more.
Access to rack inspection management software: the client can read the complete reports and use the platform for real-time remote access to rack inspection data through the cloud. They can organize the data by priority level, which makes it easier to plan and track rack repairs and maintenance.
Access to professional engineers’ expertise: all the reports are stamped by engineers who are extensively trained by Damotech's professional instructors.
Seismic Expertise: inspections and calculations take into consideration the site location and seismic effects on the racks.
Anywhere in North America: all the retailer’s facilities are covered by Damotech’s racking experts and engineers, who travel across the U.S. and Canada.
Most trusted warehouse safety inspectors
Like many top large corporations, the US-based retailer trusts Damotech's professionals with the safety of its pallet racking systems. Thanks to good choices in safety measures, warehouse workers feel safer, and the workplace culture has improved greatly. New tools are frequently introduced to keep everyone focused on safety, and training provided to all the employees empowers them to develop better safety habits.
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