Spring has officially sprung, and with the changing of the seasons comes an annual tradition—spring cleaning. Most people associate this chore with home improvements, but this is a wonderful opportunity to take a look at cleaning and reworking your warehouse.
Undertaking such a project can sound daunting, but a spring cleaning is also a chance to assess warehouse safety and streamline your workflow. Many warehouses also use this time to implement a regularly scheduled maintenance program to sustain the progress made during warehouse and equipment spring cleaning.
No matter what tasks you tackle—re-evaluating your fleet needs or updating your janitorial schedules and policies—there are four key areas that you should make sure you include on your spring cleaning checklist.
1. Aisles, parking lots, loading dock ramps, yard ramps
All of these locations in and around a warehouse are where people and vehicles travel, making their cleanliness of the utmost importance. For equipment safety and employee safety, these areas should always be kept clean and clear of debris and clutter.
This also means, unfortunately, that these are high-use areas, making them more difficult to clean. One option is to utilize flooring cleaning equipment that saves you manpower hours and can be scheduled to run at times that don’t disrupt efficiency and workflows.
Once you’ve completed this season’s cleaning of aisles, parking lots, ramps, and loading docks, consider creating a year-round cleaning schedule to save you valuable time come next spring. This is also a great time to re-evaluate whether you’re using the ideal vehicles for the tasks performed in and around your aisles, parking lots, loading dock ramps, yard ramps.
2. Machine maintenance and replacement
This is probably part of your regularly scheduled processes, but an extra-thorough cleaning and tune-up of machinery and equipment is a must for warehouse spring cleaning. Check batteries, gas lines, brake lines, wind shields, and more, and ensure they are working properly and up to code. If needed, give them a tune-up or schedule a professional company to come service your equipment.
Once you’ve cleaned and assessed your fleet, replace any parts or machines that need it. Tires are a commonly overlooked item but are vital for maximizing efficiency. If entire pieces of equipment need replacing, check out new, used and lease options from dealers. Used equipment from NITCO can be an excellent long-term investment that saves you thousands of dollars.
It can’t be avoided: Idle inventory collects dust in any warehouse. After you clean up shelving, boxes and your product, implement a rotation schedule. Turning boxes will reduce mess and dust buildup over time, saving you lots of cleaning time and money on ruined goods.
To do this effectively, start by making sure you have the right equipment for the job. Forklifts and materials handling equipment run the gamut, so check the options at your disposal. The shelving used to store your goods is also important, both for accessibility and safety. Try the 80/20 rule: keep the 20% of inventory that gets the most touches in an easy-to-access zone, as this is what your employees will be picking 80% of the time.
4. Spring-cleaning your processes
Now that you’ve made your warehouse and equipment spotless, it’s time to spring clean your processes! This is the perfect opportunity to evaluate and re-evaluate your operations to see where improvements can be made.
Take a big-picture look at the functionality of your business. Are your aisles set up in the most efficient way possible? Could you add or subtract shelving solutions to maximize your space and employee productivity? Could a barcode system to streamline inventory processes be a valuable upgrade? Maybe a new stretch-wrap system could make your pallet processing even faster.
One innovation many are exploring is warehouse automation. What used to be an ambitious undertaking is now easier than ever, with user-friendly equipment that can impact and improve nearly every area of warehouse operations.