If you’ve read our post on why you need to clean your warehouse, you understand the importance of maintaining a clean facility. But how do you approach this task? Here are some helpful tips and warehouse organization ideas from the experts at DAK.
Keep That Inventory Moving
It may sound like common sense, but inventory that sits around collects dust. If you have inventory that you don’t need anymore; sell it for a discount, recycle it, or pitch it. This frees up space in your warehouse for something that will actually sell.
Another way to keep the dust from building up on a single pallet is to utilize pallet flow racks, racks that allow for first-in first-out access. This ensures that no one pallet sticks around long enough to gather much dust.
Use Wire Racks
The typical inventory you keep will determine whether or not you are able to use wire decking. If you can use wire deck, it helps keep your dust under control by letting the dust fall to the floor. Dust on the floor is much more accessible and can be swept up on a regular basis, as opposed to dust that’s on solid decking that will seldom get dusted.
Create Cleaning Schedules
Let’s be honest: we seldom finish cleaning that we say “we’ll get to eventually.” If we do get to it, it’s a huge project that could take days. This creates bottlenecks in the warehouse as some employees have to abandon their regular duties to deep clean.
Instead of having a yearly cleaning of the warehouse, it’s a much better idea to set up regular cleaning schedules. The schedule can be time-based, such as having the entire warehouse crew devote 10 minutes to cleaning each day. Or it could be area-based, where the pallet rack rows are cleaned every Monday, the conveyor system every Tuesday, the material handling system every Wednesday, and so on.
Assign Cleaning Zones
The average employee does not clean for the sole purpose of pride in their work area, and that’s OK. While an employee might take pride in the job, whether that’s driving a forklift or organizing the pallet racks, few of them see “cleaning” as part of their duties. Most employees would rather do the tasks associated with their job title and leave the cleaning to someone else.
Assigning employees to certain cleaning zones is an excellent way to make use of their down time. Create some sort of reward system, or foster competition for who can keep the most clean workspace (and make sure the warehouse is safer at the same time!). Framing the cleaning around safety is actually an excellent way to entice workers to keep their spaces clean. Safety means fewer injuries to them and their co-workers, and it helps keep their insurance premiums lower.
Don’t Let Messes Linger
Letting messes stick around in one area of the warehouse can cause messes to show up elsewhere. When one person leaves a mess, it’s a signal to everyone else that they can leave messes behind as well.
That’s why it’s so important that no one leaves a mess behind. The attitude of every warehouse should be that “the job isn’t done until any mess it creates is gone.” If a pallet has been unwrapped and its contents loaded onto the conveyor system, the job isn’t done until someone discards the plastic wrapping. If one pallet of old inventory has to be moved to the floor so that three more can take its space on the storage racks, the job isn’t done until someone finds a home for the old pallet.
Be A Good Example
If you’re a warehouse manager, it’s important to walk the walk. You might have a modular office in the middle of the warehouse; make sure it’s not incredibly messy. If you’re walking along and find a spill, be a good example to your employees and clean it up. They’ll notice that keeping everything clean is a priority, especially if you join in on scheduled cleaning.
At the same time, make sure everyone knows that cleaning up isn’t exclusively your job. When employees see you clean up a mess that wasn’t yours, they’re more likely to help clean messes that they didn’t create.
Want to talk to our experts about other ways to improve your warehouse operations? Contact us at any time. Also, check out Part 2 of this post for even more warehouse cleaning ideas.