If you own, manage or operate a warehouse, then you know that warehouse maintenance can be a challenging task. There are so many things to consider to maintain order. This can be especially difficult for larger warehouses or those that see constant activity and foot traffic. Regardless of the difficulty, however, all warehouses need to be maintained properly. Maintenance helps keep your employees safe and your inventory intact.
Why is Regular Maintenance Important?
The success of a business relies on many different factors. A well-kept warehouse is one of these. To make sure that your business operates to the best of its ability, then you need to ensure proper maintenance. To do so, you need to be aware of the two main types of maintenance:
- Regular maintenance: Regular maintenance is the maintenance you do on a normal basis to keep things in good working order. Routine maintenance tasks include cleaning up, taking inventory, equipment upkeep, and structural checks, among others. Doing this properly is crucial for your operations to continue smoothly and without snags.
- Emergency maintenance: Emergency maintenance is what you do in the case of an event that disrupts normal operations. Examples include breakage of equipment and accidents. Incidents like these are all too common in warehouses. Performing regular maintenance and following safety guidelines can keep these incidences low.
Implementing all types of maintenance can positively impact your business in terms of safety, efficiency and compliance.
- Safety: Warehouses are often hazard-prone areas due to the items or equipment and the activities that go on within the facility. As such, it is vital to keep safety a priority, keeping the well-being of employees in mind. Performing warehouse maintenance can help increase overall safety. It aids in hazard detection, risk assessment, and damage repair.
- Efficiency: Regular maintenance keeps everything in your warehouse – from inventory to equipment – in good working order. If everything works properly and is accounted for, then your overall efficiency increases. This prevents any disruptions that can interfere with your regular operations.
- Compliance: Several Australian laws regulate the structure of warehouses and the operations that occur within them. These laws ensure the safety of both the infrastructure and the people involved. Performing maintenance ensures that your warehouse remains compliant with these laws. It can also help you avoid penalties.
Warehouse maintenance may sound simple; however, there are many things to keep in mind to do maintenance efficiently. Fortunately, we have compiled an extensive list of tips that you can do. Remember the acronym PEEKS: Policies, Employees, Equipment, Knowledge, and Seasonal maintenance.
Warehouse Maintenance Tip #1: P for Policies -Put policies in place.
The first thing you should do is to put certain policies in place in your warehouse. These policies should aim to increase transparency and efficiency regarding your warehouse’s processes. Some of the best policies that you can focus on include the following:
1. Have a regular maintenance schedule.
Having a schedule for maintenance dramatically helps since regular maintenance is crucial to keeping operations smoothly. It ensures you don’t miss anything that you have to maintain. Since activity is usually high in warehouses, they are usually in a constant state of change. Inventories shift, equipment gets worn down, and shelves move. Scheduling regular maintenance keeps track of all these changes.
Also, make sure that you post maintenance schedules in a visible area so that every stakeholder – including employees and visitors to the premises – is aware of when maintenance is due to take place.
2. Keep a physical logbook.
Larger warehouses are often maintained by multiple people. Maintenance depends on a person’s role, expertise, and shift schedules. Keeping logbooks can help those responsible for maintenance informed of any actions or issues.
Note down all points of concern when performing maintenance. Examples include inventory inconsistencies, maintenance problems, or equipment damage. Your logbook should include all these to prevent any problems from being overlooked.
3. Digitise everything
Physical logbooks are excellent but are prone to be misplaced. Make sure that you also assign someone to digitise all the contents of the logbook regularly. Digitisation allows you to have extra copies of your records, reducing the risks of these records being lost. Another advantage of digitising is that auditing is also much easier when done digitally.
4. Have a system for tracking your inventory
Taking inventory is one of the most confusing parts of warehouse maintenance. As such, it helps to have a system for tracking any changes in your inventory. Some ways to do this include:
- Keeping physical and digital records of your SKUs and stock
- Tracking day-to-day or week-to-week changes in stock
- Auditing regularly
- Recording product information
Systems vary from one warehouse to another, so make sure to find out the ones that work best for the type of items that you keep.
5. Involve your employees
One person alone cannot maintain an entire warehouse. It takes a team to perform proper maintenance and track inventory. Involving employees that have nothing to do with maintenance, however, can be beneficial. It increases awareness of inventory changes, cost of upkeep, equipment safety, and more.
Warehouse Maintenance Tip #2: E for Employees – Focus on your employees.
We have mentioned earlier that involving everyone is essential to maintaining a warehouse. Everyone involved has a role and making sure that everyone does theirs properly is important. Focusing on your employees and their skills can significantly help with maintenance. Some of the best ways of doing so are the following:
When you recruit new employees, it’s best to hire those with qualifications for maintenance and previous experience with the equipment you have.
2. Safety training
Both new hires and experienced employees will benefit from safety training. Make sure that you conduct this with the help of safety professionals as it is especially important given the hazards that many warehouses face daily. Keeping your employees, equipment, and inventory safe helps your warehouse run more smoothly.
Your employees may be highly skilled at performing warehouse maintenance. However, there are always new skills that can help. Seminars can vastly benefit your employees by equipping them with new and helpful skills. For example, having employees well-versed at using new software or equipment can help warehouse operations become more efficient.
4. Post reminders
We all need reminders about safety procedures and critical processes every once in a while. For your employees to stay updated and not forget, it helps to post reminders.
Warehouse Maintenance Tip 3: E for Equipment – Be properly equipped.
You can’t do maintenance without being equipped for the job. Make sure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment for your maintenance employees to properly do their tasks. Some of the essential items needed for proper maintenance include the following:
1. Equipment for mechanical maintenance
Warehouses, especially the larger ones, often have heavy equipment. Similarly, most warehouses have mechanical mechanisms that need to be maintained regularly. Make sure that you have the proper equipment for these. Mechanical parts are prone to wear-and-tear with regular use. As such, you’ll need the appropriate equipment to ensure that these remain in fine working order.
2. Cleaning equipment
The constant activity inside warehouses makes them prone to accumulating dirt, dust, grime, and other residues. If left unchecked, these can damage your inventory, mechanical equipment, and even serve as health hazards for employees. Reliable cleaning equipment is necessary to get rid of dirt and other agents that can negatively impact your operations.
3. Safety equipment
As mentioned above, warehouses usually have multiple hazards. Safety equipment is necessary to prevent these from causing harm to your employees and your business. Good safety equipment to invest in includes:
- Column protectors for reducing damage to your pillars and shelves
- Corner mirrors for safety and increasing visibility
- Reflectors and lighting equipment for signalling
- Bollards for marking pathways and preventing damage.
Assess the operations and structure of your warehouse properly to know which safety equipment you need.
Warehouse Maintenance Tip 4: K for Knowledge – Know the essential things to check for.
With everything that goes on in a warehouse, maintenance can be quite tricky and overwhelming. You want to make sure that you keep everything in proper working order. Thus, knowing where to look to do maintenance is of utmost importance.
1. Pillars, walls, and infrastructure
The structural integrity of the warehouse is the most crucial factor that you have to survey. Make sure to regularly survey the warehouse’s walls, pillars, and other structural parts.
2. Mechanical equipment and digital equipment
Mechanical and digital equipment is more prone to damage. It is necessary to check any vulnerable equipment you have on a regular basis, especially anything that sees heavy use.
Many accidents that occur in warehouses involve shelving accidents which often occur through collisions or shelf damage. If you want to prevent these, make sure to check the structural integrity of your shelves. Watch out for fractures and rust, and anything else that might compromise the strength of the units.
4. Safety equipment
Your safety equipment also needs attention to keep them working properly. Always check for the following:
- Ensure that all vehicle mirrors are clean and kept clear at all times. Remove any obstructions that can block the view.
- Check your bollards and column protectors for any structural damage.
- Keep your reflectors and lighting equipment free of grime.
Keeping your safety equipment in good condition makes sure that your inventory and employees are kept safe.
Warehouse Maintenance Tip 5: S for Seasonal maintenance – Be aware of the seasonal maintenance must-dos
There are seasonal maintenance tasks on top of the regular ones that you have to do. These are the ones that do not need to be done frequently, but do need to be done regularly.
1. Pest control
Pest control ensures that your warehouse is free from rats, termites, roaches, and any other living thing that could damage your stock. Apart from this, pest control also helps in giving your employees a clean and healthy working environment. While pest control is seasonal, it is still necessary to always be on the lookout for pests. Set a portion of the budget for regular pest inspection and hire emergency pest control services when necessary.
Warehouse plumbing is also important, especially for cleaning tasks. Be sure that all pipes are in proper working order. It wouldn’t hurt to have a licensed plumber check all the pipes for damage once in a while.
3. Thorough cleaning
Cleaning should always be done regularly. There are always places you can’t reach with regular cleaning, however. A thorough clean-up will make sure that these places are properly cleared of dirt. Make sure that you schedule these once every few months.
4. Know that seasonal checks aren’t always seasonal
Seasonal checks don’t strictly have to happen once in a while. Remember also to do emergency maintenance regarding these tasks when needed. Pest control, for example, should always be on the watch list.
Proper Warehouse Maintenance Will Lead to the Success of Your Business
Many businesses rely on the success of the operations that occur in their warehouses. As such, it is necessary always to keep these operations in good working order. The best way of doing this is by properly maintaining the warehouse.
Many of the tips we have mentioned above stress the necessity of safety equipment. For your inventory and employees to be safe, make sure that you only get the best safety equipment. If you’re looking for a company for these supplies, Verge Safety Barriers is your best choice. We carry the products you need to help prevent workplace accidents and injuries disruptive to a warehouse environment. If you want your warehouse to be as safe as it can be, call us now at 1800 765 539.