CHINA MAY be the manufacturing hub of the world at present, but with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the global players to ‘Make in India’, things can only be expected to go up from here in the manufacturing segment, along with the whole supply chain. Simply put, more manufacturing would mean more space required to store, package and transport products. This translates into requirement of huge warehouses. India’s traditional godowns with little or no maintenance have already evolved into modern warehouses categorized neatly into industry specific segments.
According to a 2013 Ernst & Young (EY) report on The Indian Warehousing Industry: An Overview, the Indian warehousing industry (across commodities and modes) is pegged at about `560 billion. This does not include inventory carrying costs which would amount to another `4,340 billion. The report states that the industrial/retail warehousing accounts for 55% of the total market share with cold stores comprising 16%, Agro warehousing making up 15% of the share and Container Freight Stations (CFS) and Inland Container Depots (ICD) taking on the rest 14%.
Warehousing accounts for roughly 5% of the Indian logistics market. A massive industry as this, it is only imperative that cleaning and maintenance make up a significant part of it. Like any other big industrial set-up, warehousing too requires a dedicated set-up for its cleaning and maintenance services. While some warehouses prefer to outsource their cleaning, others do it on their own by investing in equipment and processes. The realization that warehouse maintenance is as important as in other commercial entity is slowly dawning too. But, how receptive are businesses to the idea? What are the challenges facing this burgeoning industry segment? Clean India Journal spoke to some leading cleaning and material handling equipment suppliers to find the answers.
Importance of a cleaner warehouse
Warehouses can be broadly classified under three categories namely, liquids and non durable, solids and durable, and agriproducts which includes vegetable/grain storage. The last category can be further separated into cold storage and containers. Nowadays, most owners of warehouses realize the importance of having clean, spic-and-span interiors and green and clean exterior. The huge amount of products going in and out of the warehouse would automatically translate into dust, debris, dirty floor, soiled racks, and the like. Movement of huge equipment in the premises may mean tough stains on the floor. Regular cleaning ensures the inventory is safe and there is a little chance of it getting damaged or lost or being infested by pests. Employee’s health and safety are also to be addressed.
Sunil Kapoor, Country Manager, Nilfisk India Private Limited, broadly categorizes the kind of cleaning applications needed in a warehouse. These include floor sweeping, dust collection, spillages collection, removal of dirt and floor care. These basic applications can find solution in the form of sweeping machines, vacuum cleaners, high pressure cleaners and centralized vacuum cleaning equipment. He explains, “Oil spillages and tyre mark from forklifts etc, require aggressive and regular cleaning. Any delay in attending to this need often leads to a dense dirt accumulation. In warehousing management, material movement is the top priority hence cleaning cycles are escaped or at times unattended. Focus is on mainly material handling equipment and storage accessories. Hence proper identification of the cleaning equipment gets overlooked.”