Warehousekeeping: How Clean Should My Warehouse Be?

Image Courtesy of Intermec Inc.

How clean is your warehouse? Do you keep it clean enough to eat off of the floors? Or is it dusty and dirty and knee-deep in discarded packing peanuts?

How clean you keep your warehouse is a matter of personal preference, although obviously there are limits to how far your preferences can slide. Warehouses need to have aisles that are clear of obstructions, and safe to move people, inventory, and heavy equipment around inside. For the sake of worker respiratory health, warehouses shouldn’t be dusty or moldy, either.

As experts in warehouse management, PathGuide implementation specialists spend a lot of time on site at customer warehouses and distribution centers, and we’ve seen a wide range of workplace cleanliness and organization over the years.

Organizing bins and products is obviously our forte, and although we don’t personally offer housekeeping services, here are a few tips that PathGuide warehouse experts believe help keep a warehouse safe and clean.

  1. Label stock backings are slippery. Those little wax-coated squares of paper, combined with a dusty, polishes cement floor, creates a surface nearly as slippery as an oil slick. Many warehouses are in the habit of dropping label stock backings onto the ground, but this creates small yet dangerous walking hazards all over the place. The best warehouses have ample garbage and recycling bins placed throughout the facility to encourage employees to properly dispose of paper waste.
  2. Empty garbage bins regularly. Overflowing bins will simply lead to more trash on the ground.
  3. Make cleaning tools and implements readily available while keeping them out of the way. Several push brooms, dust pans, mops, and dusting poles should be kept in a visible location that doesn’t hamper operations. Never tolerate the presence of an idle broom on the picking floor – it is an accident waiting to happen.
  4. Make each employee responsible for their assigned zones. Many employees often specialize in a certain pick zone – make it hardfast rule that the zone needs to be cleaned before the employee leaves work for the day. This could include simple garbage pick, sweeping and dusting, or even washing floors or equipment (within reasonable safety standards). Turn idle moments into useful labor by having workers clean up on slow shipping days.
  5. Do you have order picker vehicles? Order pickers are often full of pockets and cup holders, which frequently become filled with garbage. Similar to your zoning assignments, you can assign specific order pickers to each employee, and require the machines to be inspected by your shift supervisor before the employee can clock out for the day.
  6. In this vein, make sure that employees have the correct safety equipment before assigning them to clean an are of a warehouse. If your DC specializes in toxic chemicals, you should only hire cleaning crews who specialize in working around hazardous materials.

For more information on warehousekeeping, download our free whitepaper.

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