While there’s nothing technically special about New Year’s Day— it simply means that we’ve gone around the sun one more time — it does give us a chance to reflect on the previous year and what we might want to change in the new year. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for your warehouse? Is anything going to change with your pallet racks in the coming year, or will everything look the same when 2020 rolls around? Here are some suggestions about what resolutions you might want to consider now that it’s January.
Keep It Clean
Warehouses tend to be busy places. Everyone always seems to be in a hurry, especially at the end of the day when inventory just has to be shipped out. Because of that, people often leave behind a mess. The most common is the cellophane wrapping that keeps boxes together on pallets, but sometimes it’s the boxes or the pallets themselves that just get left behind.
It can be easy to think “it’s not a big deal. Warehouses are pretty industrial, so a little mess isn’t a big deal.” The problem is that little messes can turn into big messes if you don’t enforce the idea of employees cleaning after themselves. One loose ball of cellophane in the corner can be joined by many others. That wrapping is then joined by broken-down boxes that people didn’t want to take to the baler, followed by un-broken down boxes in a heap. After that comes the discarded soda cups and broken box cutters. Before you know it, the trash corner has become the trash aisle, and nothing’s coming down from or going up onto your pallet rack system until it’s all cleaned up.
Of course, even small trash piles can cause problems. In most cases, a forklift driver is going to see if he can drive around it instead of getting out of their seat and moving the trash that’s in the way. As they’re trying to navigate the messy aisle, they are much more likely to get too close to the pallet rack shelving itself, and that can cause a big, big problem if there’s a collapse. Instead of inviting such a calamity, make a resolution to insist that everything is cleaned up by the end of the day.
And speaking of collapsing storage racking…
Consider Additional Safety Gear
Not every pallet rack has the protection it needs. The initial buyer might not have had the good sense to purchase it in the first place, or, if you bought it used, the safety gear might not have transferred with it.
This year, resolve to make sure all of your pallet racks — and the warehouse itself — have the proper safety gear. Pallet rack protection includes end-of-aisle and in-aisle protectors to help prevent collapse and to sacrifice themselves to the forklifts in order to save the industrial racking itself. If you need netting or mesh to keep tippy and precarious pallets from crashing to the floor, we can help with that too.
When it comes to the warehouse, take a look around to see if there are any areas that are under-guarded. Will you suffer a catastrophic loss if a forklift hits the sprinkler system? Consider getting sprinkler head guard cages. Are pedestrians in your warehouse almost getting hit by the forklifts? Designate walking areas with guard rails, especially outside any modular office that people might step out of before looking both ways. If you’ve had some close calls at the loading docks, keep your employees safe by installing loading dock gates.
If you’re the warehouse manager, it falls to you to make sure that the right safety equipment is in place to protect your employees and the inventory. Of course, one of the important resolutions you can make is to…
Get Pallet Rack Inspection Performed
Pallet racks are made from huge, heavy, strong pieces of metal that are meant to hold up to a specific load and withstand a certain amount of punishment. Unfortunately, they’re also huge, heavy, strong pieces of metal that can fall and kill a warehouse worker.
There are many reasons that industrial pallet racking might need to be inspected to make sure it’s withstanding the damage it might be subjected to. Sometimes too much weight was put on it, or an earthquake caused it to warp. But by far the most common reason that they can fail is due to hits from forklifts. Even the best forklift operators have hit industrial shelves at least once, and many of them will fail to tell you that it happened.
Since there’s probably damage you don’t know about, it’s important to get yearly racking inspection performed on your pallet racks by trained experts. This will not only protect the racking system itself but will also protect your inventory. Most important of all, it will protect your employees.
Rethink Your Pallet Racks
How are your pallet racks working out for you? If they’re absolutely perfect in every way, you can skip this section. But most warehouse managers aren’t happy with the way that every shelf is working. Maybe it’s all wire racking and the warehouse could really use some drive-in pallet racking. Or perhaps the focus of the company has pivoted and a few standard racks could go away in lieu of pallet flow racks and some conveyor systems.
If your pallet racks are making your warehouse more efficient, maybe 2019 is the year to get the racking solutions you really need. Remember, time is money, and if the current pallet racks are slowing you down then it could be much more cost effective to replace them with new ones.
Resolve To Improve Your Warehouse
Here at DAK Equipment and Engineering, our articles are all about making your warehouse a safer and more efficient place to work. There’s no better time than the New Year to make it happen, so we hope you’ll give us a call if you need new racking, pallet racking, or improved warehouse layout design. We hope to work with you soon!