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A Salute to Warehouse Workers

They're the backbone of our supply chain and the very definition of essential

orders being packed at a distribution facility

During the Covid-19 crisis, many office workers are sheltering in place. They’re working through conference calls, web meetings and mobile technology. They are also ordering groceries and other staples and having it delivered to their doors to help prevent the spread of the virus. They’re hitting retail stores. All of this is helping reduce future cases of the virus.

It’s also straining the retail and eCommerce supply chains, and someone has to fill those orders: The warehouse worker.

Essential supply chains are staffed with people working long hours to ensure shelves are stocked and packages delivered. When the history of this crisis is written, what they are doing to help keep us safe cannot be overstated. They pick, pack, and ship. They keep all of us safer, and it’s time they were recognized.

The essence of essential

Most understand what an “essential industry” is, but perhaps not the entirety of how many industries that includes. It’s easy to understand that food processing, medical and pharmaceutical operations must continue, but all of the industries that support them must also function. Suppliers down the line have to operate, and that can include companies that provide bulk materials, companies that provide service and other support industries.

The invisible heroes of the Covid-19 crisis are warehouse workers who pick, pack and ship orders. They operate so we can isolate

Essential services also include companies outside the realm of food and medicine. Companies that provide paper goods are a good example. Companies who work in national defense, aerospace, trucking and many other areas are also essential. Energy sector companies must continue to operate. Our information infrastructure has never been more essential, after all, with tens of millions of Americans working remotely.

The unsung heroes

Cisco-Eagle president Darein Gandall

Certainly, there isn’t any lack of everyday heroes: doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are fighting for us all. So are first responders like EMTs, firemen, police and social workers who must work in public spaces. Retail workers are laboring long hours and risking exposure in stores to keep critical supplies flowing to the public.

Right: Alfredo, who works in Cisco-Eagle’s warehouse shipping orders to critical food and medical customers along with the rest of our crew

Many of our employee-owners are working remotely, but like other companies, Cisco-Eagle has workers who can’t do that. Our warehouse ships goods to the critical food and medical sectors. Our Field Services group is hard at work, helping companies keep their material handling systems running as demand accelerates. They cannot work from home, and are vital to keep the supply chain running.

Cisco-Eagle field services crew in Houston, Texas

Above: Cisco-Eagle Field Services Technicians are working in the field every day

Workers in an essential needs warehouse can’t self-isolate; they must come to work so the rest of us don’t have to. The hours are long and difficult as demand accelerates for grocery distribution and retail order fulfillment. Amazon and other eCommerce providers must operate so that others can isolate. Even in tightly controlled, sanitary warehouses, they’re risking themselves to ensure the supply chain remains intact.

Most Americans don’t think about these workers; they just know the box arrives at their doorstep

They know that there are groceries on the shelves, but don’t consider the people who loaded the trucks at the distribution center. When this is said and done, the people who pick, pack, process and ship orders should get a statue right along with the nurses, doctors, truckers, retail workers and first responders who are working for us in this crisis.

Next time you click the buy button, remember the men and women behind the scenes who make that possible. They were always heroes, and it’s never been more true than today.

If you pick, pack, ship or receive orders: thank you!

More information

Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.

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