Spring is in the air. And because we love material handling, it only makes sense to discuss the things that improve the warehouse such as spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning in the warehouse has similarities to spring cleaning in one’s home. It is a time to remove clutter and make the overall appearance better. But spring cleaning in the warehouse is much more than a superficial once over. Cleaning the warehouse is about improving safety and efficiency.
We are going to discuss the basics, which do involve cleaning and we will go into greater depth on the meaty aspects of cleaning/improving to become more productive.
The super six
1. Clean it up—get it out
Many portions of the country are literally digging out from a long, cold winter. Unlike some professions, ours is one that keeps going regardless of the weather. This means a lot grit, grime, mud, salt and who knows what made it inside your facility. This is far more than a cleanliness problem. That debris not only creates a mess, but often gets into equipment causing maintenance problems such as grit in gears and the needless corrosion from the salt. It also increases the potential for accidents. Your first order of business is taking all that debris and removing it from your warehouse.
2. Address the mess
Few of us want the job taking scrap and other garbage out to the dumpster in the middle of a snowstorm. It’s cold, messy and no fun. Therefore, items normally disposed of quickly in June wind up in a little used spot on the warehouse floor until the weather improves. The time for excuses is over because that little used spot will soon become a valuable piece of real estate. Get rid of it today.
3. Become a fixer upper
Extreme changes in the weather takes its toll on people and equipment. We might be cold or want to get home before the storm hits. So, we cut a few corners. This might result in accidents involving racks and vehicles. Similarly, extreme weather changes affect equipment, making strong metals brittle or allow the corrosive effects of road salt to cause damage. Now is the time to repair that equipment. Fixing is more than making repairs. You may want to consider adding some preventative products such as rack protectors, guardrails or bollards.
4. Commit to organizing
Winter can cause us to become a little lax for many reasons, particularly if the pace of your industry slows that time of year. It may have seemed convenient at the time to put pallets wherever there happened to an open space, but you will pay the price if you keep going down that path. Spring is a great time to get your warehouse space organized. Remove obstacles from your aisles. Put your pallets in the order that makes sense for your application. Products having a fast turnaround should be most accessible while placing those products moving less quickly in a part of the warehouse that’s still accessible but does not interfere with efficiency.
5. Space, the final frontier
Floor space in warehouses remains a very hot commodity. Organizing also means looking at your warehouse and to maximize floor space. Perhaps it means getting stronger and more durable by changing out shelving for sturdier pallet racks. It may mean more productivity with the addition of pick modules, saving your pickers from long walks through the facility. You may want to add a conveyor system to move product from one part of the warehouse to another. Or you may gain more space by going narrow and investing narrow aisle racking along with the related lift trucks.
6. Look up
Looking up opens many new possibilities to maximizing space. It is easy to consider a move when space gets tight. Finding a suitable location at an affordable price that makes for an easy transition is another story. Looking up opens new possibilities for storage using high rise racking and let’s you take advantage of the prime warehouse real estate in your current warehouse. It is almost like moving into a new facility without ever leaving the existing one.
Get cleaning–you will be glad you did
Springtime ushers in a welcome end to long, cold winters. It is a time of new beginnings. Get started on your spring cleaning today and make your warehouse, business-ready.