Whether your business focuses on product management or your warehouse only represents a portion of your operations, maintaining your warehouse equipment and working space is vital to the efficiency and productivity of your organization. Here is a list of key items to stock in your warehouse to keep your equipment and operations running smoothly.
• In some operations, downtime for forklift repair can cost the company hundreds of dollars an hour for everything from employees sitting idle to missed shipments, contract delays, and even damage to customer relationships. Warehouse equipment needs regular maintenance and occasional repairs; to avoid a logjam in the workflow due to broken forklift equipment, you can take a few different approaches. Even if you have a dedicated equipment technician, keep a list of numbers or emails easily accessible for things like forklift mechanics or dealers in case the problem is more extensive than what your technician can repair.
Remember that many places like United Industrial, a forklift dealer in Agawam, MA, also provide rental services which can help your shop stay on target until your regular equipment is back online. You can also buy used lower-end backup equipment like pallet jacks to use in a pinch; these won’t cost as much to purchase or maintain as your normal equipment, but sometimes they can help keep things moving just enough during repairs that you don’t have to pay for a rental.
Dedicated Supply & Safety Center
If your company doesn’t have a dedicated equipment maintenance technician, you can still maintain a locking supply cabinet or designated area with various components needed for preventative maintenance to be performed by employees or management. For larger operations, you can even create a walled space near or within your warehouse using a ready-mix concrete supplier to delineate the area dedicated to warehouse equipment.
This are can include things like fluids, cleaning supplies, basic tools, and even things like spare batteries or tires (remember, propane or pressurized combustibles must be kept in outdoor storage areas), but also supplies for 5S and Safety markers throughout your shop. This can be a perfect area for a trashcan and cardboard recycling area to keep aisles and work areas uncluttered, and you can also keep things like box cutters and tie-downs here as well; maintaining organized work areas helps employees spend less time searching for what they need.
This supply center should also be at the heart of your safety and PM checklist system, where you can keep clipboards with daily inspection sheets, maintenance logs, order sheets, and much more. This spot can become the hub of your forklift safety program, including posters, guidelines, or even a daily message board. Making the time and space to put safety first can have a profound impact on your bottom line, reducing employee injuries, equipment downtime, and improving the efficiency of your operation.
Employees are the lifeblood of every company, and the more time and money you invest in providing your employees with top-quality safety and expertise training, the bigger your payoff in the long run. Workers comp claims and lawsuits can bleed a company dry, and consistently missed shipments or damaged parts can cause your customer base to dwindle over time. Putting effort into maintaining a highly-trained, safety-oriented workforce provides the front line of defense from a variety of problems that can tear into a company’s long-term viability.
Visual aids are often the most effective training materials to provide to your employees, so being able to share training videos with your staff is one of the easiest ways to avoid problems before they happen. Having guest speakers come to talk to your team is another way to provide expertise and training as well as keep your employees engaged in the process. Some organizations even create competitions and award systems to keep their employees safe on the job, because one of the most important components involving your warehouse equipment is the operator.