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Does your warehouse need a cleaning overhaul?

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
05 May, 2015

Have you ever heard the expression 'organised chaos'? Perhaps even your own warehouse manager has said it with a wry smile when confronted about the upheaval around him.

Frankly, any manager who believes that a warehouse disappearing beneath an avalanche of accumulated junk is still conducive to productivity is in serious denial. Clutter affects attitudes and undermines morale. For forklift drivers, it's like a warehouse full of speed humps; for everyone else it's a daily obstacle course impeding the natural flow of business.

And it's not just clutter that can seriously undermine your facility's ability to function at its peak; dirt is also a recipe for disorder. Here are the signs you need a cleanliness overhaul and how to get things shipshape.

Your aisles are dirt tracks

Have a walk around. Is there a layer of dust on your floors and on rack beams? If so what sort of signal is that sending to employees? If there's no sense of pride in their work environment, how can they be expected to take pride in their work?

Floors should be swept daily and racks dusted once a month. It's much easier to maintain a regular regimen of cleaning than to do a massive clean when conditions become unbearable. One of the best ways to instil an effective cleanliness culture is to ask your manager to always maintain his facility as if the CEO was about to visit. This immediately creates a more critical mindset.

Your floors are a shambles

If your workers are greeted by mess every morning, they're off to a bad start and are far more likely to carry a muddled attitude through the day. They will lack pride in their work and are far more likely to make costly mistakes, or worse, have an accident.

On the other hand, a tidy, ordered warehouse is a productive, safe and successful warehouse. When workers arrive into a smart, perfectly aligned facility with clear aisles and neatly stacked shelves, they begin the day as they should: with a sense of pride and satisfaction.

Take charge of cleanliness

Rotate sweeping and dusting duties on a monthly roster. Or break your facility into a grid and assign teams to maintain each section of the grid with their own roster. Not only does this create a sense of responsibility, it builds pride and competitiveness as each team tries to maintain their section better than anybody else. Insist that all warehouse staff tidy as they go and leave all workspaces as they found them.

This means stacking shelves properly and discarding all packing materials in the appropriate bins. Empty all bins regularly to avoid overflow or dangerous over-packing. Take leadership and make sure all staff know that taking cleanliness seriously isn't a choice, it's a responsibility.

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