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While spring cleaning is often associated with the home, this is an optimal time to reassess and reorganize your warehouse—making improvements in safety and efficiency to prepare for a successful remainder of the year. 

Before beginning, we recommend creating a checklist that prioritizes your projects and their deadlines to help stay on track. These projects should be scheduled when the facility is least crowded to minimize downtime. 

Read on for five warehouse projects to tackle this spring. 

 

Pitch What Isn’t Needed

A lot of stuff can accumulate in a warehouse over time. Walking through area by area, collect any garbage, leftover materials, or misplaced items generated by daily activities, and either toss them or return them to their proper location. This also pertains to paperwork in the office. Be sure to sort through documents, removing any that are no longer relevant or needed. 

If you found that most of the garbage came from a singular location, this may be a sign to add additional trash cans or recycling bins—once you get a space clean, steps need to be taken to keep it that way. 

 

Deep Clean

After the winter season, you may find that grit, mud, and salt has it inside your facility. This debris is not only messy, but can cause maintenance issues with your equipment and increase the potential for accidents. Do a thorough cleaning of all floors, aisleways, and loading dock ramps. If any floor tape or safety warnings have become dirty or worn off, reapply so that employees and equipment can travel safely. 

Take this time to clean and tune-up machinery and equipment as well. Extreme weather changes and salt can cause damage, so check batteries, gas lines, brake lines, and windshields to see if anything needs to be repaired. Or, if any equipment is especially outdated, replace them. 

When it comes to keeping machine repair and cleaning supplies organized, find a single location that is easy to access and known to all staff. Storage bins can be used to store smaller products and labels can designate the homes of specific products. 

 

Review Items for Safety

The maintenance of safety is integral to any warehouse. Assess guard rails or bollards for damage, and review pallet racking for damaged uprights. You can also review your facility for areas that need additional safety precautions like pallet rack safety netting, post protectors, or safety mirrors. 

 Safety doesn’t stop with your products – take this time to review safety practices with your workers. For example, train staff on any new equipment, promote awareness of any safety hazards, and review the weight loads of various racking. 

Most warehouse accidents and associated OSHA fines for lack of compliance are completely preventable. We recommend taking a proactive approach by conducting warehouse safety inspections at least once a year. Shelving.com offers free virtual and in-person 10-point warehouse safety inspections, assessing for areas like upright comun integrity and beam rotation or deflection. 

 

Assess Inventory Storage for Inefficiencies 

Review your inventory storage methods for areas that are obstructing optimal picking. While you may want back-up stock, you can compare current inventory levels to future projections in order to see what changes can be made. 

Fast-moving products should be most accessible while slower-moving products can be shifted to a part of the warehouse that does not interfere with efficiency. We recommend using 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. 

High-demand items can be moved closer to shipping docks, and heavier items should be put on lower shelves to prevent accidents and injury. Using labels for inventory, aisles, and racking can also make locating items easier. 

 

Optimize Floor Space

Take a look at your current floor plan and talk to warehouse staff to see if there are any annoyances in their daily workflow. For example, are there products blocking a path that creates a bottleneck effect? 

With floor space at a premium, analyze where optimizations can be made to your storage. Assess areas that need additional shelving, such as underused corners. Use narrow aisle racking to reduce space, or maximize full vertical height by utilizing taller pallet racking. You can also increase your facility’s storage capacity with mezzanines, multilevel storage, and push back high density racking

We hope these ideas help kickstart your next project. If you have any other spring cleaning suggestions, drop a comment below.

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