A warehouse’s performance effectiveness is often judged by its overall cleanliness. The cleaner your warehouse, the more productive and safe your warehouse tends to be. Well-organized inventory, junk-free floors and well-maintained safety and mobility equipment are the hallmarks of a warehouse operating in peak condition.
Dusting off rack beams and cleaning conveyor legs may not seem like significant acts, but it communicates a message louder than words to all your employees: this workplace matters. Moreover, who doesn’t want to come to work in a clean, well-lit and lovingly maintained facility every day? Like all matters of business operations, though, you need to have a clear plan for keeping your facility clean.
Here’s an overview of the most important things you need to know about warehouse cleaning and maintenance.
- Establish Cleaning Goals
Any warehouse worker or manager will tell you it is far easier to maintain a clean facility than it is to conduct a full deep clean a few times a year. Smart warehouse operators know that all cleaning tasks need to be prioritized and scheduled on a weekly, monthly, daily and quarterly rotation. Don’t be sloppy about your organization, though. Document everything using calendar items for each task, and make sure that the calendar is clearly visible and available to the appropriate employees.
Floor sweeping, for example, usually gets scheduled as a daily task since the best way to catch other cleaning, maintenance and safety problems is making a daily inspection while sweeping. Other tasks, like rack cleaning, can be completed on a monthly basis due to their less essential nature. Last but not least, assess your facility and look for critical areas like work cells or shipping bays and doors that may require a daily cleaning regimen to maintain cleanliness and safety standards.
- Keep Garbage Bins Empty
Sometimes the simplest tasks can make the most significant differences. Trash and debris that fall out of overflowing trash cans and garbage bins will get kicked, dragged and blown around the inside of your facility if you don’t (literally) keep on top of things. It seems like it should be a simple matter, but many facilities don’t maintain a strict garbage collection and disposal schedule nearly as well as they should. Making this small change can make a big difference in how many other cleaning tasks you have to do, too
- Use Clean-As-You-Go Best Practices
This is a non-negotiable in any business regardless of industry. No task should be considered complete until the mess it generates has been properly cleaned up to a set standard of expectations.
Packing material waste from breaking down pallets needs to be disposed of immediately. Got a machine that creates metal shavings? Sweep and dump immediately. Nobody should be “done” and nobody should go home unless their packing station or work area is clean.
- Assign Each Employee A Cleaning Zone
Every worker in your warehouse should have a designated cleaning area for which they will take personal responsibility. In distribution warehouses, this would mean assigning a picker a section of the conveyor line or a shelving row that they will clean before their shift ends every day.
Set clear expectations, and hold employees accountable if they leave any cleaning work for the next shift. Keep tasks simple and easy to complete: sweeping, picking up debris, wiping equipment down, reorganizing materials at the picking station, etc. Not only does it help maintain a higher standard of cleanliness, but it also encourages each team member to take pride in their work space.
- Ensure Cleaning Supplies and Equipment Are Easily Available
Let’s stay on the distribution warehouse model for another moment: requiring pickers to sweep their stations at the end of their shift isn’t going to go over well if they have to walk halfway across the warehouse to find a broom. Additionally, placing garbage cans near work areas is an inexpensive and highly effective way to encourage workers to throw trash where it belongs. The further they have to go to dispose of trash,
- Turn Inventory Regularly
The reasons for this best practice are myriad: the old and outdated inventory sits in cartons and on the racks, collecting vast amounts of dust. Moreover, they clutter up your workspaces and operating areas, creating rate limiting steps and complicating operations across your facility. Keeps that stock cycling out, and you’ll increase your productivity and operations efficiency significantly, with just a little tidying up here and there.
- Maintain All Mobility and Safety Equipment
A worker is only as good as their tools, and this is especially true when it comes to safety and mobility equipment. Hard hats, high visibility vests, flashlights, spillage controls, first aid kits and similar gear needs to be checked, stocked and kept in good repair. Moreover, it’s important to keep all safety equipment easily accessible to workers near the appropriate workstations.
As for mobility equipment, conveyors, legs, bollards, barriers, forklifts, pallet jacks and picking/packing stations need to be regularly inspected, resupplied and kept in good repair. Routine maintenance is not only the best way to keep your facility neat and tidy, but it’s also the best way to keep your workers safe, productive and happy.
Running a clean and tidy warehouse facility provides many benefits to your business and helps control overhead in addition to operating costs and losses. It can seem like a mammoth task at times, but once you establish your cleaning protocols and get your workforce onboard these practices become routine.
Is your warehouse operation in need of professional cleaning services to help increase worker productivity and establish effective cleaning practices? Dallas Janitorial Services has the experience, knowledge and equipment you need to keep your facility running smoothly with minimal impact on your workers’ daily responsibilities. Contact us today to learn more about our professional warehouse cleaning services.