There are two working descriptions for any warehouse: “super busy” and “needs cleaning up”. The problem is trying to balance these two issues. It is possible to create a viable schedule for cleaning up without hitting the work schedule.
The commercial issues in a clean up
There are several practical questions to answer in a clean up scenario:
- What needs doing?
- How much time will it take?
- What sort of resources are required?
- What external resources, if any, are needed?
- How might cleaning potentially interference with warehouse operations?
- What clean up quality controls are necessary?
These very basic issues are also costs, both in money and time. The definition of a good clean up schedule is one which is viable in both senses.
Organising a clean up
In order to create an effective clean up schedule, each of the above questions must be answered.
- What needs doing: This has to be clearly mapped out. You need to define each part of the clean up job as a task.
- How much time it will take:Time is more than money. It’s time not being spent on business. Realistic time frames are required. That means real scheduling, not the “cosmetic” kind. Allow appropriate time frames for each task. Ensure that enough time is allowed.
- What sort of resources are required:This is a case of “more is better”. The more cleaning up you can do, the less time, money and effort is required. More resources over a shorter time frame are the better option, if at all possible.
- External resources, if needed: External resources, if required, add a degree of difficulty, costs, in addition to likely affecting times. Make absolutely sure that you have all these factors pinned down and well organised within your schedule.
- Possible interference with warehouse operations: This must be avoided at all costs. Each clean up task should be scheduled to avoid any possibility of downtime.
- Clean up quality controls:The story here is that you must set standards for your clean up. You want to achieve a real clean up, get rid of clutter and unwanted materials, and ensure that all areas are included. Create a clear picture of your intended results as an objective.
Practical issues: Carrying out the clean up and setting up the operation
The most important practical issue to manage is ensuring that everyone is understands exactly what’s being done, when it’s being done, and who is responsible for which tasks.
Therefore it is important to always:
- Inform all staff of the clean up schedule, times and their roles. Also make it clear what’s to be done, how it’s to be done, and any procedures required.
- Coordinate with managers to ensure minimisation of any disruption to operations. This means plenty of warning beforehand.
- Brief any external service providers about how to operate, OHS issues and warehouse procedures beforehand. This prevents communication from becoming an issue.
A warehouse clean up can be approached like any other job task. As long as the message is clear, the job is simple. Stick to clear objectives and methods, and you can’t go wrong.