Spring is here!  …finally in Minnesota at least!  Warmer weather means it’s finally time to start cleaning out what may have been piling up in your warehouse over the winter. As a warehouse manager/director, you’re busy, and like most busy people, you don’t have much room on your plate for anything that isn’t already there. Just like you won’t have time for any potential on-the-job hazards, or forklift accidents. Routine warehouse maintenance is extremely important and will save you time, stress and money in the long run.

  • Make a checklist.
    If you’re stressed and at your max, try and take a step back to plan out how you’ll tackle the tasks at hand. There are a few simple steps to maximize your time spent on this process.

    • Organize as much as possible by creating a basic checklist
    • Order them by most important tasks first
    • Plot tasks by when they are due
    • Enforce deadlines when necessary, and keep going. You don’t want to get burnt out any more than you want your employees to lose motivation.
    • If you’ve got a big job ahead of you, split the workload between multiple employees to keep things progressing.
  • Have an “open door” policy.
    Your employees are a great asset in terms of their actual job functions, but it goes farther than that. They’re working in the warehouse and see the areas lacking and in need of improvement, so encourage an open door policy. This will create a trusting bond with your employees as well as give you insight to the innermost workings of your warehouse – the best solution is often right under our nose and in our employee’s hands.
  • Clean as you go.
    Cleaning your warehouse is important for production flow, safety and employee morale. An employee surrounded by chaos cannot work efficiently and will be less inclined to focus on the important goals you have given them. You want to pass inspection to keep your production on target, so make sure that your subordinates are regularly maintaining their work areas. Clean as you go is a great skill to learn for any part of life, but can be especially useful in the warehouse environment. Encourage cleanliness as often as you encourage timeliness to ensure your team is working at its full potential. When push comes to shove, give racks or pallets “purge by” dates to make sure that you’re staying on task and your employees are too.
  • Safety is up-to-date.
    Verify you’re following safe warehouse practices. Stay up to date on all safety policies and laws, especially anything regarding equipment. You don’t want to be slapped with a fine for something that was easily avoidable, or even worse, be faced with a workman’s comp claim due to inaccurate operating procedures. Keep all rules and regulations posted around your warehouse for everyone to see, that way everyone will be aware of recent updates and changes.
  • Hire some help.
    Don’t let yourself get bogged down by too many overwhelming tasks. Hire someone to come in and take some of the workload off your hands. Equipment maintenance and checkups should be done by a professional, but sometimes smaller tasks are better left up to someone that does it every day. In order to be at your best with your own clients, regulate minor cleaning tasks to an outside source.

There’s always a crisis to deal with, but keeping up on routine things like maintaining an organized warehouse will help to reduce potential incidents. A clean and tidy warehouse is a safe and productive warehouse.

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