Running a warehouse environment, whether as a standalone fulfillment center or as part of a wider industrial enterprise can present unique issues from logistical problems to health and safety concerns and beyond.
A cluttered warehouse often results from poor management or overstretched staff; a clean environment, while tough to keep, can make all the difference to your business.
The positives of keeping your warehouse or fulfillment center clean and well-organized are fairly plain to see. There is no secret ancillary benefit to proper warehouse organization and cleanliness or any shock benefits to enjoy. Proper warehouse management simply allows your business to run as smoothly and safely as it possibly can.
The Benefits of a Clean and Tidy Warehouse
Clean warehouses are less susceptible to workplace injury, as hazards are less likely to be left for workers to inadvertently find. Properly-attended warehouses enjoy lower risks of fire, too.
With minimal clutter and a maximally efficient approach to inventory organization, logistics staff can work at pace and with fewer errors – making for faster deliveries and fulfilments and happier clients.
The ‘why’s of warehouse management and maintenance is certainly not the challenge facing a business whether new or established. Instead, it is the ‘how’s.
How can a business effectively institute warehouse organization initiatives? What does a comprehensive ‘tidiness protocol’ look like? Put simply: what can you do to achieve an organized warehouse?
Warehouse tidiness might result in considerable improvements to workplace efficiency and expediency, but arguably the most important reason to focus more intently on cleanliness and tidiness is worker safety.
Every business in the US is beholden to health and safety law, from the provision of proper protective equipment to the safe storage of hazardous materials.
But one of the more effective ways to keep workers safe in your warehouse is through carrying out regular workplace risk assessments. Through these, you undertake a walkthrough of your warehouse environment, identifying potential hazards and the ways in which they could be mitigated or altogether eliminated.
For example, you may have trailing cables between aisles, that present a trip hazard to anyone walking across them. A solution could be to write a policy ensuring that loose cables are kept in their relevant cable reels if necessary, and that permanent cable installations are carried out using trays and overhead runners.
The key part of your risk assessment is assigning responsibility; giving someone the task of ensuring the changes are made ensures that progress is made.
With regard to inventory storage, there are ways and means of coordinating your inventory so as to improve efficiency and safety. One such measure is called ‘ABC analysis’, and seeks to organize your stock by importance.
Your “A” stock is the stock you most commonly need to access, whether sold the most, or most required for manufacture – and should be stored at the most easily-accessible parts of your warehouse.
Conversely, your “C” stock, which is likely big-ticket items that get sold or accessed rarely, should be stored in the least accessible parts of your warehouse – freeing space for other items and ensuring stock does not get in the way of more popular stock.