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An End-of-the-Year Cleaning Checklist: Why Every Warehouse Needs One

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Warehousing, Logistics, and Distribution Management (284-slide PowerPoint presentation). Unlocking Seamless Operations: Introducing the Ultimate Warehousing, Logistics, and Distribution Management Toolkit In the fast-paced world of modern business, effective supply chain management, logistics, and distribution are pivotal to success. Every delay, mismanagement, or inefficiency can [read more]

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A new year brings a new list of operational priorities. As we close out 2020, it’s time to get your warehouse in shape for a new set of challenges. Experts recommend doing a deep clean every month or every few months, whichever is best for your warehouse. Dirt can collect more easily in hard-to-reach places, so it all depends on the layout of your facility.

Take a few minutes to learn why every warehouse needs a deep clean and how to make sure your facility is ready for the new year.

Why Your Warehouse Needs a Deep Clean

Health and Safety

The health of your employees should be top of mind when starting out the new year. 2020 was a year unlike any other as businesses all over the world quickly adjusted their workplaces to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to daily disinfections, your deep clean should focus on disinfecting every surface of your warehouse to prevent the spread of disease.

Excess dust and dirt go hand-in-hand with the spread of disease. Getting rid of these particles will improve air quality inside your facility so your workers won’t have to worry about breathing in contaminants that could affect their health. Dust, dirt and mold can lead to respiratory infection and allergic reactions, while putting those with asthma and other pre-existing conditions at risk.

The coronavirus pandemic has forever changed the way we think about workplace safety. Incorporate these habits into your daily routine–even as we start to get the virus under control.

Productivity and Worker Efficiency

Cleaning up your workplace will boost productivity in the new year. The best warehouses adapt their operations as their needs change over time, and your facility should do the same. Keeping your stack racks and shelves clean keeps them mobile so you can rearrange the space over time. With a clean workspace, you can easily move shelves and racks according to demand.

If there are piles of dust collecting in the corners of your warehouse, consider upgrading the layout of the space. It may also be a sign that you’re paying too much for storage. Get rid of empty space that’s just collecting dust by either paring down your inventory or moving some of your goods off-site.

With a dirty workspace, your workers may have to slow down to wipe the dust off their goggles and gloves. They may need more time to scan barcodes and labels if they are hard to see.

Overall, cleanliness promotes efficiency. Studies show maintaining a clean workspace can boost productivity and worker satisfaction. Your team will feel more motivated on the job if they have access to clean, sanitary equipment. No one wants to spend their time walking up and down dusty shelves that make it difficult to breathe.

Improving the Integrity of Your Products

All that extra dust and dirt can also put your products at risk. Packages can easily go missing when there’s a lot of clutter in the space. Your workers should be able to quickly scan their surroundings to find what they need without going too far out of their way.

Dust, dirt and crumbs can also be an invitation for rodents and pests. This increases the chances of disease. Some of your packages or products may be contaminated without your knowledge.

Cleaning your workspace gives you a chance to address potential issues before they turn into major headaches. While cleaning, look out for drafts, leaks and strange smells that can turn into mold.

Your team shouldn’t have to worry about wiping down your products before sending them out for delivery. Give your customers more peace of mind by keeping your storage area as clean as possible.

Warehouse Cleaning Tips to Keep in Mind

Consider Hiring a Professional

As you can see, cleanliness is more than skin deep. If you and your team aren’t sure how to go about cleaning up the space, consider hiring a professional. A team of industrial cleaners can whip your facility into shape in just a few hours, depending on the size. If it’s been a few months, or even years, since your last deep clean, now’s the time to invest.

How to Clean

There are several key factors in warehouse cleaning that every owner should keep in mind. Use high-pressure hoses to blast away dirt and dust. Mixing water with some chemicals can also lead to the buildup of dirt. Focus on disinfecting surfaces and choose your cleaning products wisely. It’s best to use cleaning products with at least 70 percent alcohol content to remove all viruses, bacteria and germs that can lead to disease.

Simplify the Space

If cleaning turns out to be more time-consuming and expensive than you realized, it might be time to change the way you store your goods and equipment. Consider sealing off part of your inventory to reduce the spread of dust. Use industrial storage bins to cut down on the number of packages. These durable containers will keep your goods safe from dust, dirt and moisture.

For food and beverage products, we recommend using a food grade IBC tote. One container can hold up to 330 gallons. The container seals off your products, limiting their exposure to the elements. Use the built-in tap to quickly retrieve your products. Consider using industrial wire baskets with minimal surface area to get rid of dust and dirt. Rearrange the space so that your racks are accessible from both sides for an easier clean.

Owning a warehouse comes with plenty of responsibility. You may not pay too much attention to the nooks and crannies of the space, but they can affect your workers, nonetheless.

Keeping your warehouse clean can be difficult as demand changes over time. Learn how to adapt your warehouse with sudden changes in the supply chain to get rid of dirt before it turns into a major problem down the line.

33-slide PowerPoint presentation
Companies are constantly looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs. One area that has a significant potential for achieving both is the Supply Chain. Companies generally neglect Supply Chain simply because they do not consider it their core competency. Warehousing and Transportation in [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Supply Chain Management (SCM)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Supply Chain Management (SCM). Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of Supply Chain activities. It also captures the management of the flow of goods and services.

In February of 2020, COVID-19 disrupted—and in many cases halted—global Supply Chains, revealing just how fragile they have become. By April, many countries experienced declines of over 40% in domestic and international trade.

COVID-19 has likewise changed how Supply Chain Executives approach and think about SCM. In the pre-COVID-19 era of globalization, the objective was to be Lean and Cost-effective. In the post-COVID-19 world, companies must now focus on making their Supply Chains Resilient, Agile, and Smart. Additional trends include Digitization, Sustainability, and Manufacturing Reshoring.

Learn about our Supply Chain Management (SCM) Best Practice Frameworks here.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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