We visit a lot of building products facilities; we see facilities that are immaculate, and some that are less so. The really good facilities are clean, organized, well-lit and safe. These facilities not only have invested in organization, but also have developed a culture where everyone strives to keep things clean and organized. This seems to instill a sense of pride in the employee’s workplace. They also don't have to be "embarrassed" when an outsider comes to visit.
How to get there…
First step to getting an organized warehouse is identifying the areas that need help. Walk around the warehouse and take pictures of areas that are dirty and disorganized. Once all the areas have been identified and documented, create a plan to clean it up.
What can be thrown away? Is there dusty material in the area that we are never going to sell? Talk to sales and top management about donating it, auctioning it, or throwing it away. If possible, go ahead and move it to a clearance area so you can get your daily workspace clean and organized.
How should we organize this type of material? Look to some suppliers for some organizational aides. Talk to your racking supplier about what they offer for that style of racking. The best solutions make it very obvious which material goes in which location, but also allow for some flexibility if it becomes necessary to move material.
Get started. The toughest part of getting a large warehouse organized is actually beginning the process. But after taking the first few steps of cleaning and organizing, many companies are amazed at how much new usable space they discover after they put a little effort towards it.
How to keep it there…
It’s going to be difficult to complete the entire project all at once, but you can go area by area and work in phases to clean and organize as you have time. Once you’re able to clean up all the areas of your warehouse, the key is having a plan to keep it organized. If you don't, it can be easy to fall back into old habits and your time and effort will be wasted. Visit the area often for spot checks, talk to employees about the benefits of keeping things clean and organized,and come up with a schedule for housekeeping in each area that has a tendency to get messy.
Once you get your whole facility in good shape, you will be excited to show off your immaculately clean operation and will think of many different ways to use your new space.