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Warehouse Start-Up Checklist

This checklist is designed to provide reminders to help ensure that nothing is overlooked during the busy time
before you open a new facility. We would never suggest that this is a complete list. We hope that each user
will consider it as a starter and will add additional checkpoints to cover specific features of your own operation.

1. Personnel Administration
Is the application form used for hiring thorough
and in compliance with Federal and local law?
Are adequate personnel available to carefully and
thoroughly interview each job applicant?
Has a company doctor been selected to perform
physical examinations for each new person hired?
Has a personnel manual been prepared to explain
responsibilities, benefits, and personnel
Has a detailed training program been prepared for
both warehousing and clerical personnel?
Who will supervise the training? Is an adequate
cadre of experienced people available to train the
new people in the new operation?
Are all supervisory personnel hired and already in
place before hiring hourly people?
What checking procedures are available to detect
problems with substance abuse, dishonesty, or
credit problems of job applicants?
2. Receiving
Has a detailed procedure been prepared for
receiving of freight? Is a manifest or other form
designed to cover receiving? Will bar coding be
used to identify received materials correctly?
What procedure will be used for shipments that
arrive without manifests or without any advance
notification of what is in the load?
What procedure is established to handle
overages, shortage, and damage (OS&D)? Who
will be responsible for checking OS&D reports?
Who will be responsible for checking the accuracy
of each receipt?
What procedure will be followed to document the
time that each vehicle is held at the dock in order
to approve or dispute carrier detention charges?
What procedure variations will be established for
receipt of merchandise returned by customers?
How will receiving reports and other reports fro
the receiving dock be routed through the
warehouse office?

If lot numbers are used, how will they be assigned

at the receiving dock?
When products are palletized at the receiving
dock, what pallet pattern will be used? What
control will be exercised to be sure that all product
is palletized according to the prescribed pattern?
How will storage location be determined when
goods are received at the dock?
As merchandise is staged to be moved to storage,
how will stacking limitations, stock rotation and
other storage specifications be communicated?
If a locator system is used, what checks will be
made to be sure that the product is actually stored
where ordered?
Has an appointment procedure for inbound
carriers been established? How will it be
Do all inventory procedures go as far as they
could to prevent fraud or dishonesty in receiving?
3. Shipping
Has a detailed shipping procedure been
Will there be a priority system for handling of
outbound orders?
What checking procedure will be established to
insure accuracy in shipping?
Has an appointment procedure for outbound
carriers been established? How will it be
What procedure will be followed for including a
manifest or load plan with the outbound
Will these documents be sent with the freight or
mailed separately?
Will special procedures be developed for shipping
hazardous products, freezable merchandise, or
other goods requiring special treatment in transit?
Do all inventory procedures go as far as they
could to prevent fraud or dishonesty in shipping?

4. Materials Handling Operations
Will forklift trucks or other mobile equipment be
owned or leased?
Are the specifications for this equipment
appropriate for the new warehouse operation?
Will aisle turning radius be adequate? Are lift
heights adequate?
Is each piece of mobile equipment properly
identified, equipped with an hour meter, and
covered by a thorough preventive maintenance
If used equipment will be acquired, is all of it in
perfect operating condition?
Is there a training procedure to orient equipment
operators on safety, preventive maintenance, and
productive use of the equipment?
Is storage equipment adequate to save space,
allow proper control, and to maximize cube
utilization in the new building?
In storage equipment, what mix of pallet rack,
drive-in rack, drive-through rack, flow rack, self
supporting pallet rack, or other materials will be
Has all rack been carefully installed and lag bolted
to the warehouse floor?
Is there a training procedure to protect against
abuse of storage rack through careless handling?
Have the safety hazards for each piece of mobile
and storage equipment been determined and
properly communicated in personnel training
Are records adequate to record the age,
maintenance cost and maintenance cost per year
for each piece of equipment used in the
5. Use of Space
Will one person be designated as a space
What space planning procedures will be followed?
Which merchandise, if any, must be controlled on
a first-in-first-out basis?
Has a detailed layout for the warehouse been
prepared and checked?
Has the layout been reconciled with the types of
storage and handling equipment that will be used?
Has the layout been reconciled with existing fire
regulations, floor load limits, and safety
What procedures will be followed to enforce
proper storage procedures, including maintenance

of integrity of aisles, housekeeping, and stacking

What procedures will be used to minimize space
losses though honeycombing?
Is the location, width and number of aisles
adequate to allow effective storage and
movement of all materials?
Is adequate space provided for staging of inbound
and outbound freight?
Are storage pallets of uniform specification, in
good repair, and in sufficient quantity to hold the
planned inventory?
Where will surplus pallets be stored?
Is storage of surplus pallets in compliance with fire
Will storage locations be random, fixed, or a
combination of the two?
Will a pick line be used for all or a portion of the
Do you know how many units of product can be
stored in your new warehouse?
Will you have a means of determining the percent
of capacity occupied at any given time?

6. Sanitation, Security and Safety

Has a detailed housekeeping procedure been
Do you know which stockkeeping units, if any, are
subject to inspection by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA)?
If a portion of the product is FDA controlled, do
you know FDAs requirements for safe storage of
this product?
Will one member of the warehouse staff be
specifically assigned to sanitation maintenance?
Will that individual also be responsible for safety
and security?
Has a professional sanitation and pest control
service been retained?
Have specific training procedures for sanitation
maintenance been established?
Will an independent sanitation inspection service
be retained?
Is there a specific safety and accident prevention
training program?
Is there a procedure for checking the percentage
of lost time accidents to total hours worked and
comparing the safety record with other

Have the safety hazards of all equipment been
identified and made part of the training program?
Have all appropriate safety devices been acquired
and put into place with proper training for their
Have any safety guards or other safety devices
been deactivated for any reason?
Have you anticipated all the ways in which
equipment or tools might be used in an unsafe
Have refueling procedures been reviewed from
the standpoint of safety?
Have all warehouse operations procedures been
reviewed from the standpoint of safety?
Have all warehouse operations procedures been
reviewed by insurance underwriting inspectors to
check on fire safety?
Is a no smoking policy strictly enforced? If not,
where are exceptions made?
Are hazardous materials segregated from other
Who will be responsible for maintenance of loss
prevention inspection reports and compliance with
inspecting authorities?

What specific procedures will be established to

maintain or improve plant security?
Will random unloading and reloading of outbound
shipments be performed? If so, how frequently will
random checks be made?99
Will check weighing procedures be established to
prevent deliberate overloading of outbound
vehicles or under-receiving of inbounds?
How and when will physical counting procedures
be used to improve security and control?
What procedures will be used to control pilferage?
Do training procedures adequately warn every
employee of the consequences of pilferage or
Will undercover procedures be used to detect
What procedures will be used to prevent
unauthorized people from entering into parking
lots, grounds, or other outdoor property adjacent
to the warehouse facility?
How will lighting be used to discourage
unauthorized entry?
What kinds of alarms, watch services, or other
procedures will be used to detect unauthorized

This checklist is courtesy of Kenneth B. Ackerman Company, Warehousing Tips, copyright 2002. All rights reserved.