We all have to roll our sleeves up and get stuck into some spring cleaning at home sooner or later, but what about inside the warehouse? This large and busy space deserves some attention too, especially as the busy summer season is not all that far away. In fact, scheduling a quarterly reorganisation and deep cleaning session for your warehouse should really help keep everything nicer, safer and more efficient all year round.
It’s best not to just jump in and start cleaning without a plan. After all, you may need to clean around normal business operations and you don’t want to compromise any existing routines or mess up a smooth and efficient workflow. Work out the time of day when your cleaning work will be least inconvenient and work out which areas you are going to tackle and in what order. Don’t forget to include external areas in the plan, particularly car parks, loading bays and visitor welcome booths.
Neat and tidy
A tidy, ordered warehouse will help operations move faster and more effectively. That much is obvious. So, work out where everything should live and work your way round the warehouse, systematically to make sure everything is stored correctly. Equipment and machinery should have designated areas where it can be safely kept when not in use, while your stock should be arranged in safe, sturdy racks and shelves, carefully labelled and organised so that your most popular products are easier to access. If you unearth any old, unwanted stock, hold a flash sale to free up some cash and gain yourself some extra storage space.
Labels and signs
Take a careful look at your labels, signs and floor markings. Are they clear enough? Have any become faded or damaged, or are any out of date following a warehouse reorganisation? Consider bringing in a professional line marking expert to refresh your lines and advise on suitable signage for the coming summer season. Don’t forget to check your safety signage, including fire exit routes, emergency directional signs, and vehicle and pedestrian segregation floor markings.
Less is more
Set aside some time to declutter the warehouse. This can be easier than it sounds, as there is often a lot of paper packaging, cardboard boxes and plastic shrink wrap laying around that can be cleared away for an easy win. Get rid of any broken machinery or damaged stock too, along with empty chemical storage containers or discarded wooden pallets. Less clutter hanging around a busy warehouse means fewer accidents from slips, trips and falls, which is an obvious advantage to completing this process.
Make your colleagues responsible for keeping their own areas of work clean. Provide waste bins and/or recycling facilities for easy disposal of food and drink packaging and personal rubbish. Also provide an easy place to drop oily rages, dirty overalls, gloves etc., to allow them to be placed in one area at the end of a shift and easily gathered up for removal or washing off-site. Encourage everyone to wipe up spills straight away and report any serious incidents. Go through all documentation to check that you aren’t keeping hold of out-of-date paperwork that can either be recycled or scanned for digital archive storage.