- In one summer day warehouse managers for Blue Apron dealt with an active shooter threat, a sexual assault and thousands-of-dollars in warehouse safety penalties at its Richmond, CA packaging facility, according to a BuzzFeed News report.
- The recipe-and-ingredients delivery startup requires incredible logistical coordination. The company must source fresh ingredients to a refrigerated facility, package them, and deliver to homes in the U.S. The idea has taken off, and so have the logistics demands.
- But at best, the startup has shown inexperience. That one day was far from an isolated incident. BuzzFeed News reports the Richmond Police Department has paid two consular visits to the facility to discuss weapon threats, bomb alerts and assaults recorded in a 38 month period.
While a supply chain manager may typically be concerned with inventory optimization and picking practices, disruptions in the warehouse are driven by people's daily actions. Bomb threats, physical assaults and active shooter concerns can not only halt production, it can also demoralize workers and decrease overall productivity. Recent surveys of warehouse workers show they are very concerned with work-life balance.
Yet, this can all be lost on startups looking to scale as quickly as possible while reducing costs. In the light of inexpensive real estate, low pay and specific demands it may be easy to launch an independent warehouse endeavor. But there is value in the experience, not to say certifications, often brought by 3PLs.
While the drive to manage the entire supply chain is notable, supply chain managers know one of the most important ways to keep the supply chain running is positive relationship management through consistent communication, whether through data or personal engagement.