4 Tips for Spring Cleaning a Warehouse

Meagan Douglas
Tue, Mar 29, 2016
A clean warehouse is easier to operate.
A clean warehouse is easier to operate.

Whether a retail business stocks up on extra inventory for the holidays or snow prevents deliveries and other outdoor tasks, a company warehouse can become fairly cluttered during the winter. Spring cleaning is a chance to reorganize a business space to match information collected throughout the year and plan inventory picking and deliveries around new insights. Here are four suggestions for what to keep in mind when going through inventory aisles to prioritize efficiency, convenience and cleanliness:

1. Throw Out What Isn't Working
Rack Express, a warehouse supply company, said one of the most important pieces of equipment used for spring cleaning is a dumpster. Companies have to be ready to remove rubbish from the warehouse. This means removing documents that are no longer relevant, garbage generated by daily activities and possibly renting equipment like power washers to get spaces looking as good as new. Debris can be dangerous and the cleaner a space is, the fewer distractions or obstacles blocking daily success.

Businesses also have to be ready to remove inventory that's getting in the way of optimal picking. While companies may want back-up stock for emergencies, warehouse management professionals should compare current inventory levels to demand data and future projections to see how lean warehouses can be.

Retailers shouldn't immediately throw out merchandise, even when it's fallen out of demand. There may be an opportunity to sell the products at a reduced price or donate it for a tax credit. Retail Minded suggested bundling different goods together to make special group offers or gift packages.

2. Clear Paths for Efficiency
Spring isn't the only reason retailers launch cleaning initiatives. A company may invest in a new piece of equipment like a forklift and need to create wider paths. Every time managers plan a warehouse reorganization, they need to prioritize making movement through the warehouse as easy as possible with the business's current assets.

When planning cleaning projects, a company may want to think of current obstacles to employee success and bring in new solutions. This may mean buying taller shelves so the warehouse can make use of vertical space. The business may always want to invest in intelligence assets, so workers can perform hands free tasks through voice picking or other technologically assisted strategies. Mobile data collection devices can create accurate real-time data records, which will make it easier for managers to create future cleaning goals.

3. Create Safer Shelves
Managers must create standards for employee safety as well as convenience. Not only should inventory be moved so high-demand objects are closer to shipping docks, but heavier items should be put on lower shelves to prevent accidents and injury.

While performing daily tasks, safety sometimes becomes a secondary concern. Obstacles can pile up and risks may be ignored. Spring cleaning - or other warehouse organization projects - is an opportunity to reintroduce employees to safety standards and reinforce rules for compliance. For example, barcode software solutions can create strategies for labeling inventory and shelves to ensure merchandise is put in the right place.

4. A Cleaner Future
If employees found most of the garbage from a spring cleaning project came from a singular location in a warehouse, this may be a sign to managers a convenient trash bin is necessary. Inventory Operations Consulting LLC said individual sorting activities should lead to long-term solutions. Once a retailer gets a warehouse space clean and orderly it needs to take steps to ensure it stays that way.

This is a chance to introduce new responsibilities or cleaning schedules. Data collection devices that can increase productivity show the benefits of a clean, efficient warehouse demonstrate the value of order and helps managers hold employees to new ideas.

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