Logistics provider for Kroger, Procter & Gamble, and L'Oreal decreased vehicle safety incidents by 80% and halved ergonomics incidents in 5 months.
Verst Logistics, a renowned logistics provider headquartered in Kentucky, has been setting benchmarks in the industry with its forward-thinking approach to adopting advanced logistics technology. With a network of 23 warehouse locations sprawled across 5 states, Verst offers not only traditional pallet-in, pallet-out warehousing but also a suite of value-added services. These services include manufacturing support, kitting, labeling, assembly, and more, catering to the diverse needs of a prestigious clientele, such as Toyota, Kroger, P&G, Celanese, L’Oreal, Campari Brands, and Honda.
In an industry where efficiency, safety, and innovation are critical, Verst's commitment to continuous improvement has led them to seek out cutting-edge solutions to address prevalent safety concerns. To tackle issues related to powered industrial truck (forklift) safety and lifting ergonomics, Verst turned to Voxel's AI-powered site visibility platform. Voxel leverages existing security camera systems to provide real-time monitoring and advanced analytics to help companies optimize their operations while ensuring the highest safety standards.
Verst conducted a pilot program at its facility in Hebron, Kentucky. By implementing solutions driven by Voxel’s AI, Verst successfully decreased vehicle safety incidents by 80% and cut ergonomics incidents by half within a short span of just five months. The promising results of this initial trial prompted the company to expand the implementation of Voxel's platform across its logistics network.
Immediate Impact: Vehicle Safety Incidents Drop 82%
Voxel's site visibility platform made a swift and significant impact on vehicle safety at the Hebron Fulfillment Warehouse. Early on, Verst leadership observed a concerning spike in 'No Stop at Intersection' incidents, which involved powered vehicles failing to stop at designated intersections. Compliance with vehicle stop protocols is crucial in a warehouse environment, as it minimizes the risk of collisions, equipment damage, and potential injuries to personnel. To rectify this issue, the leadership team decided to install stop signs at all intersections, in addition to flagging any instances where their automated guided vehicles (AGVs) traveled through stop signs.
Another area of focus was the high frequency of 'No Stop at End of Aisle' incidents. Just like stopping at intersections, ensuring that vehicles stop at the end of aisles is a critical safety protocol that prevents accidents and maintains a smooth workflow within the warehouse. This kind of compliance ensures that drivers are aware of their surroundings and are operating vehicles cautiously, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.
To address these safety concerns, the site's safety leaders employed video-based coaching, using incident clips captured by Voxel. This method allowed them to periodically retrain their drivers on safe driving habits, reinforcing the importance of adhering to safety protocols and correcting any observed mistakes. The coaching sessions served as an opportunity to review specific incidents, offering drivers tangible examples and constructive feedback for improvement.
The effectiveness of these measures is evident in the data. In October 2022, the Hebron Fulfillment Warehouse experienced an average of 19 vehicle safety incidents per day. However, by February 2023, this number had dropped to only 3 vehicle safety incidents per day. This remarkable reduction in incidents can be attributed to the timely interventions and proactive measures taken by the site's leadership in response to the insights provided by Voxel's site visibility platform.
Data-Driven Risk Engineering
A critical aspect of warehouse safety is the continuous monitoring and evaluation of operations to identify areas that require improvement or adjustment. By leveraging the data collected by Voxel's site visibility platform, Verst's management was able to pinpoint specific regions within the warehouse where vehicle incidents occurred most frequently. This information allowed them to make key adjustments to the work environment, enhancing safety and reducing the potential for accidents.
A core concern in warehouse safety is the effective management of mixed vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The presence of blind spots in these areas can significantly increase the risk of collisions between vehicles and pedestrians, leading to injuries and disruptions in operations. Voxel's operational analyst observed a large number of incidents in which a pallet obstructed the view of a pedestrian pathway where forklifts frequently cross.
To address this issue, Hebron painted yellow lines on the floor to demarcate a region where pallets should not be placed. This simple but effective solution ensured that forklift drivers always have a clear view of pedestrians in that area, reducing the likelihood of accidents and promoting safer navigation throughout the warehouse.
Seasonal Spike in Ergonomics Incidents
During the holiday rush season in November 2022, the Hebron Fulfillment Warehouse experienced a significant spike in ergonomic incidents. This increase can be attributed to the influx of temporary workers on staff, who may not have received the same level of training and familiarity with safety protocols as their full-time counterparts. These temporary workers, brought on board to handle the increased workload during peak seasons, may be more susceptible to workplace injuries due to their limited experience in the warehouse environment.
In response to the rise in ergonomic incidents, Hebron took several proactive measures to mitigate risks in the shipping area. First, they assigned additional personnel to help break down pallets, ensuring that tasks previously completed by a single worker were now distributed among a team. This approach reduced the physical strain on individual workers and promoted teamwork, ultimately leading to a safer work environment.
Moreover, Voxel's operational experts advised Hebron to incorporate additional stretching and hydration breaks into the workday. These measures help prevent muscle strain injuries by allowing workers to maintain flexibility and remain hydrated, which are essential for maintaining overall health and safety in a physically demanding work environment.
Although ergonomic incidents remained elevated during November, the site leadership's key interventions during this period likely prevented the number of incidents from being much higher. The experience of addressing these challenges during the holiday rush season has equipped Verst's management with valuable insights and strategies for future peak seasons.
Armed with this knowledge, the Hebron Fulfillment Warehouse can now focus on addressing ergonomic issues early on, making necessary adjustments, and preparing for the next holiday peak season more effectively. By continually refining safety measures and protocols, Hebron demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the well-being of both its full-time associates and temporary workers during times of increased demand.
Verst’s safety leaders made diligent efforts to implement proactive measures and strengthen the safety culture of their worksite. The result has been a significant reduction in safety incidents and a better understanding of how to manage risks. Verst’s management continuously reviews and refines SOPs based on the insights gained from Voxel's site visibility platform. This iterative process allows them to stay ahead of potential safety hazards, adapt to the ever-changing warehouse environment, and ensure that their team remains on the cutting-edge of best safety practices.
Verst’s engineers have applied the insights they gained at the Hebron Fulfillment Warehouse toward the design and architecture of new distribution centers, with plans to optimize their future buildings for maximum camera visibility. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and committing to the continuous improvement of warehouse safety measures, Verst has created a safer work environment for its team members. This commitment to safety not only helps protect the well-being of employees but also contributes to improved operational efficiency and overall warehouse performance.
Sorry, this case study is not available yet.
Cold storage distribution center eliminated lost-time injuries, reduced equipment & property damage, and optimized refrigerator energy usage for annual savings of over $1 million.
Lumber & building materials distribution center decreased risky bending incidents by 85% and overreaching incidents by 80% with data-driven safety reforms.