Cleaning & maintenance is an essential aspect of warehousing management. Specific cleaning techniques are required owing to space constraints within warehouses and varied responsiveness of the stored stuffs. For e.g. electronic instruments and devices that may look robust otherwise are prone to fungus attacks. Similarly, Agro or food elements are prone to the humidity and temperature.
Major cleaning at warehouses include: ceiling, vents, shelving, walls, floor, air quality control and pressure washing, chemical degreasing and so on. At Warehouses, the safety pitfalls are very real. A forklift that leaks oil can create slippery spots where workers can be hurt and products might get damaged. More-often, Piles of banding, pallets, unnecessary things scattered random granules limits the visibility.
• Create regular cleaning goals. It’s much easier to keep a facility clean than it is to do a January 2016 massive cleaning (which will quickly become dirty again once complete). Assign cleaning tasks based on need to daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly rotation. Create documentation and calendar items for these tasks. For instance, floors should be swept daily. During that sweep, slick spots, damage, and other problems can be spotted. Racks could be scheduled for dusting on a monthly basis. Critical areas like shipping doors or work cells could require a daily regimen to ensure a clean appearance and safe operation.
• Empty your garbage bins regularly. Don ‘t let them get to the stage of overflow. Overflowing bins means people won’t dump trash when they should.
• Require clean-as-you-go. Many companies simply don’t consider a task complete until the mess is cleaned up. If a machine creates metal shavings, or a work shift results in a ton ofpackaging material waste at individual packing stations, the day isn’t done until it’s cleaned up. If a picking operation results in a pallet of stock left on the floor, don’t let it stay there.
• Assign employees a cleaning zone. If you are running a distribution operation, a picker might be made responsible for a certain amount of space around a conveyor line or shelving row. Don ‘t allow shift workers to leave a mess for the next shift. Reasonably quick cleanings on a daily basis help maintain your operation and make every shift more productive. These duties can be simple — sweeping, picking up debris, wiping down equipment, reorganizing materials, etc. Simple things like coffee cups left at a station can easily be addressed.
• Make cleaning supplies and equipment readily available. Obviously if you’re asking a picker to sweep, don’t make him walk half the warehouse for a broom. Garbage cans positioned near work areas are inexpensive and help encourage people to throw away papers and other trash. If they have to walk long distances for a trashcan, it’s a waste of their time and your money. If you are asking for people to wipe down machinery, make sure they have the right kinds of cleaners and materials.
• Regularly turn inventory. Aside from being expensive and taking space, outdated stock that sits in cartons or on racks are magnets for dust. They clutter and complicate the entire operation.
DHL Supply Chain has 100 plus warehouses in more than 40 cities covering over 5.6 million square feet across India. We have built quite a few “Built to Suit” sites wherein we control the specification, delivery and quality of the warehouse. Our key sectors include technology, retail, life sciences & healthcare, automotive, engineering & manufacturing, consumer and Spare Parts Logistics (SPL).
Cleaning of warehouses is outsourced. We have a workforce of around 560 for housekeeping. Each Warehouse supervisor would be in charge of ensuring that the facility is clean at all times. DHL we promotes a culture of ‘Clean-as-you-go’ making every employee responsible for keeping the surroundings neat and clean.
We actively promote the health & safety of our employees and provide them with a safe and clean working environment. This is our way of building and maintaining an able-bodied and motivated workforce.
Some of the cleaning solutions used at our warehouses include, battery operated ride-on scrubber drier from Roots Multiclean primarily for indoor cleaning. One of the biggest challenges we foresee for this sector would be the ready availability of professional cleaning machinery and trained workers who can quickly adapt to the requirements of large sites where needs for hygiene differ from that of a corporate office environment. Rajesh Shetty, Director – Operations Excellence, DHL Supply Chain on Warehouse Cleaning