Apart from general cleaning, various categories of warehouses need customized cleaning solutions. So, FMCG would have its own specific requirement to keep its non-durable products as liquids, processed foods, toiletries, and others, hygienically. Similarly, warehouses housing agri products like food grains or the CFS/ ICDs that house imported or exported goods before they are cleared for dispatch by the customs department, or even the electronic goods warehouse where the constant battle is to have a fungus and humidity free environment, all these have their varying needs and the cleaning industry claims to have solutions to most of these problems with their specialized equipment. Products like scissor lifts and aerial maintenance platforms for hard to reach areas as the high ceiling, wet and dry vacuum cleaners for spillages collection, high pressure cleaners for removal of dirt, scrubber dryers that can easily be manoeuvred between racks and large open areas, pressure washers and so on and so forth, are major requirements for any big structure like a warehouse for efficient cleaning.
The equipment also becomes important to keep the warehouse safe from any accidents. Spillage from chemicals if not cleaned properly may lead to fire. Most warehouses have special flooring which is resistant to such strong products. Maintaining these floors is also important in the long run which can be ensured with the help of correct cleaning supplies and equipment used. Warehouses have their standard operating procedures (SOP) that help them maintain this big property on a daily basis. However, how big is cleanliness a part of it, is something that is really subjective.
There are many who prefer hiring regular maintenance staff for manual cleaning of the warehouse, but refrain from investing in big machines and equipment.
Nirav Doshi, Managing Director, Nido Machineries Pvt Ltd elaborates, “Many warehouse operators still think that it is cheaper to employ labour for manual cleaning. They often ignore implementing the cleaning standards which leads to unhygienic working condition, lesser efficiency among workers, absenteeism and less profitability. Proper awareness is required to make them realise about the importance of automated cleaning that can produce better safety, efficiency and profitability.”
Investment not significant
A 2011 Price water house Coopers study in collaboration with the CII Institute of Logistics titled Building Warehousing Competitiveness cites absence of standardized operating processes and procedures at warehouses as a key challenge that limits their potential for growth. Nevertheless, Sumeet Bansal, DGM – Marketing & Sales at Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd., believes the investment on cleaning equipment is not significant in terms of total investment on warehouses. He explains, “Racks, warehouse equipment, floor and land cost constitute major cost. The challenge is most of 3PL companies do not invest in correct cleaning solutions and end up buying small electric or manual cleaning equipment.” Cost is a major consideration when it comes to spending money on cleaning supplies for warehouse owners/managers. Adds Bansal, “Investment on racks and flooring runs into crores. One material handling equipment for high rise warehouses costs about `30 lakh. One needs to have 2-3 units for average size of warehouses.” He suggests 3PL (third party logistics) companies spend on medium ride on scrubbers which help them clean warehouses quickly and if required multiple times a day, depending on the size of the warehouse.