Here, Barry Crackett from Brushtec, a business that designs and manufactures specialty cleaning brushware, tells us how sticking to a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your warehouse can be vital to productivity.
In the last financial quarter, the total manufacturing output in the UK reached its lowest point since June 2017 (Office for National Statistics). And, with productivity so low, you might be looking at ways you can improve your warehouse processes to increase it.
Cleaning your warehouse is vital, so you should have a regular cleaning routine to ensure you’re doing the best job. Not only will it mean you’re adhering to the relevant health and safety laws, like The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, to assess, prevent and monitor workplace obstructions, but you’ll also be boosting your productivity.
Below, I’ll be going through the ways cleaning your warehouse regularly can improve productivity.
Your warehouse machinery and equipment can gather a lot of dust and debris as it gets used. If this dirt is allowed to build up, it can start to affect the efficiency of your machinery, and it could soon stop working altogether, which can put a halt to your operations. So, you should be making sure large debris is cleaned up after each use, and machines, worksurfaces and floors are cleaned thoroughly at least once a week to clear up any obstructions that could affect work.
To make the cleaning process quicker and more efficient, you should invest in specialist technology to carry out your maintenance tasks. For example, you can invest in floor cleaning brushes that attach to your current machinery, like your forklifts, without the need for any extra equipment, which can save you time and money. Plus, if you buy the right equipment for your job, like conveyor cleaning brushes for conveyor belts, you know you’re going to be getting a much deeper clean because they’ve been specifically designed to clean that area best. A deeper clean means debris is less likely to build up, resulting in less downtime and higher productivity.
Over the last year, there have been around 581,000 non-fatal injuries in the workplace, 443,000 of which have resulted in at least 7 day’s absence (HSE). 29% of these injuries happen due to basic slips, tips or falls on the same level. By cleaning your warehouse floors regularly, removing any obstructions and cleaning any wet or sticky surfaces, you can help to keep your workers free of injury. This means your employees are less likely to take days off, and your warehouse productivity will receive a boost.
You should also make sure that any spillages are dealt with quickly to avoid accidents. Employees should be reminded to put out safety signs as soon as a spill occurs and either clean it up or inform any cleaning staff right away. You should also ensure that you’re performing regular risk assessments to highlight any areas that could benefit from some improvement, for example if they’re more prone to accumulated dirt or liquids that could cause an accident.
It’s not only injuries that can put a halt to your work, but illnesses too. Last year, an estimated 141.4 million working days were lost in the labour market due to employee absence and sickness days. That’s around 4.4 working days per person (Office for National Statistics). The most common reason for these absences were minor illnesses such as coughs and colds. But, by sticking to a regular cleaning schedule, you can kill germs and avoid them spreading, leading to fewer sick days and increased productivity.
A lot of the productivity of your warehouse relies on good organisation, which means a messy and dirty workplace can lead to longer working times and lower productivity. So, maintaining a regular cleaning schedule and ensuring employees are clean and organised means you can effectively manage your stock and monitor inventory levels. It can also reduce the amount of time staff will spend searching for equipment and items, and more time doing important tasks.
It can also help to reorganise your cleaning responsibilities. To make sure your staff are sticking to a regular cleaning schedule, it can help to assign different tasks to each member of staff. This will make it easier to check who has and hasn’t done their role, and cleaning will be a lot more efficient if each employee is responsible for one job.
Encourages greater care
If you show your employees that you’re committed to providing them with a safe and clean environment, they’re more likely to show the same commitment to their work. Being open about health and safety means your staff will be more dedicated to cleaning up after themselves, and cleaning tasks will be finished quickly, saving more time to get other work done. Plus, if your staff know you’re putting effort into making their working environment more pleasant, they’re going to be happier and work harder, too.
Maintaining a strict cleaning and maintenance schedule is pivotal to your warehouse productivity. By reducing the likelihood of injury, sickness and downtime, your processes could benefit from a serious boost.