Warehouse management involves more than directing the traffic of items to and fro. You also need to keep everything in good condition, safe from contamination, damage or exceeding its sell-by date. Any problem during ingress, storage or egress procedures can create a domino effect and throw operations off-track and into disarray.
Letting the simplest task slide may be corrected, but if the flaw is not addressed, it can lead to delays in orders and increase the hours spent on each project. Inefficiency and delays can soon be felt by the customer, who always has the option to take their business elsewhere.
Warehouse management is not only about implementing efficient systems; it also involves maintaining a safe working environment.
Creating a maintenance framework
Regularly maintaining your warehouse enables risks and problems to be identified at an early stage, and avoids potential hazards. Ideally, every facility or warehouse should have a dedicated maintenance management team with skills appropriate for the function of the building. For example, if the warehouse is used for storage, someone should be familiar with pallet racking inspection, while others have general knowledge in building maintenance, electrical problems and fire safety.
For a building inspection, divide the structure into sections, so it’s easier to identify each part of the building and record any defects. In larger warehouses or factories with many rooms or equipment, you may have to subdivide each section. Develop a checklist and matrix per section identifying the inspection team, date, location, fault, remedy, and who is responsible for implementing the maintenance or repair. After the inspection is complete, the list is recorded, the manager is notified of any significant expenses, and the maintenance team work their way through the items.
Planning cyclic inspections
To ensure that you can detect any maintenance problem, have inspections conducted regularly. Although a proper building inspection can be executed monthly, encourage cleaners, forklift drivers, or other staff who regularly move around the premises to report anything that they consider irregular or defective.
In addition to the regular building inspections, a yearly warehouse safety audit ensures your warehouse complies with the government’s Worksafe standards and regulations. To check that the maintenance system is working, you may also consider implementing unscheduled inspections with the latest report to understand if tasks are completed correctly and efficiently; if not, you will then be able to locate the system breakdown.
Although the facility manager is responsible for overseeing the implementation of building inspections, some areas of expertise, such as storage for medicine, will require a qualified external technician to inspect and carry out maintenance. From regular building inspection reports, a data bank can be developed to identify the expected life of a component, such as pallets or shelving. The information allows you to establish a budget for maintenance expenses and a replacement schedule.
Building inspections and warehouse audits are ways to help maintain the safety of your staff and prolong the life of your facility. The results of inspection reports provide data that helps manage safety, reduce costs and increase productivity.