Be Prepared: Christmas Is Coming….In August

Can we talk about the C word yet?

Whilst there seems to be some unwritten rule that the season of good cheer can’t be mentioned until Halloween has passed, for many in retail, manufacturing and other industries, Christmas preparation has already begun.

From assembling additional storage to bringing in extra staff and equipment, there are a great many different ways that you can help ease the strain on your business.

It may seem strange to discuss a time of year typically associated with coloured lights and snow, especially when we’re experiencing some of the hottest weather on record, but taking the time to put processes in place now could prevent you from falling behind when the Christmas rush really begins, and time is running out.

 

But Why Now?

Simply because planning ahead could save you a great deal of stress. Taking a good look at your warehouse, facility or yard and analysing which areas could be improved is a great way to start:

  • Do you struggle with having enough storage space?
  • Do you find your material handling equipment fulfils your needs?
  • Do your walkaways get cluttered?
  • Do you have maintenance work that needs carrying out?
  • Could production be improved?
  • Do your operatives struggle to carry out certain tasks quickly and safely?
  • Do you want to expand your operations/stock range before the Christmas rush?

Whilst these are some useful questions, they certainly don’t cover all the areas you could consider. It’s also important to be realistic when it comes to making changes. For example; unless you’re able to purchase additional storage space, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to increase storage capacity by 100%. Setting realistic goals is key to figuring out a simple plan for success in the run up to Christmas.

But let’s take a look at the different areas you could focus on in more detail…

 

Maintenance

One of the easiest things you can do to prepare for Christmas (but also in general for the seasons of autumn and winter) is take stock of what maintenance your facility requires. Whether its indoors or out, having a summer ‘spring clean’ and making sure that any repair work is done could save you time and money.

Here’s a short list of things to look out for:

  • Light bulbs that need replacing
  • Ceilings that need cleaning and/or painting
  • Floors that need resurfacing
  • Damaged racking/doors etc.
  • Windows/glass that needs replacing
  • Any additional repair work that needs completing
  • Any holes need filling in your yard
  • Mounted lights/apparatus that needs securing

By taking the time to ensure that your facility is up to scratch in the summer, you’ll be ensuring that it can better withstand the cold and the wet of winter. This in turn helps to protect your employees, stock and equipment. You can even short-term hire scissor lifts to clean high ceilings and change the bulbs of suspended lights, leaving no stone untouched in your quest for a perfectly functioning facility.

Warehouse Optimisation

Sometimes one of the best ways to find out how to improve your business, is to take a walk round your facility. Checking what routes are available for staff and equipment to use and if they are clear/quick/effective is a great place to start.

Walk the aisles, production lines and walkways, observe any obstructions; are boxes on the floor where there’s not enough storage? Do cleaning materials get left behind? Are there any visibility issues which could result in accident? Do your machines cause frequent damage to the facility? Are there shorter routes that could be created which are faster and safer?

Take note of each issue and don’t worry – there’s plenty of solutions.

Need more storage space? Consider changing up your racking configuration; adding more aisles or even raising them up a level could provide you with the space you need.

Machines too big? There’s a whole range of alternatives. Need material handling equipment, but don’t have really have enough room to manoeuvre with your counterbalance? Consider an articulated or reach truck.

Visibility problems? Mounting mirrors on the racking could help prevent your employees from wandering out into the path of a forklift, additional training could also help operators to drive safely. By ensuring walkways are clear and clearly marked, it gives both pedestrians and operators a safe space to move.

If you manufacture and/or pack and send off goods on site, do they have separate areas?

Compartmentalising your facility can be a fantastic way of optimising – manufacture can take place without ever interacting with pick and pack, who can make their way to the packing bay without getting in the way of production lines or goods in. This can also limit the amount of interaction between pedestrian and machine, as they can be kept mostly (if not completely) separate.

 

A Dream Team

Having the right employees makes any business work.

By having a clear chain of command and ensuring that each job role is outlined and understood, you can avoid a lot of confusion. If you don’t have one in place already, hiring a warehouse manager can be a fantastic way of helping your team grow and develop.

For many businesses which sell goods to wholesalers, August through to October can be a very, very busy time, with a great many deliveries coming and going from the premises. Hiring in extra staff during these peak times can be a fantastic way of dealing with the additional strain. However, many companies can be, understandably, unsure about bringing in employees who don’t have the training to work in their facility.

One remedy is to have them quickly trained by a member of staff and then put to work. But what about the rest of the team? Over the course of a year, bad habits can develop and unsafe behaviour.

Why not consider a group training session? This can help get your new staff up to speed and also enforce safe behaviours and provide extra experience for your regular employees.

Refresher training can range from equipment courses (such as counterbalance and access) to manual handling and first aid. Get your whole team up to speed and on the mark and you can’t go wrong.

 

Wet Weather

Cleaning

Peak season for any business is manic (no matter how organised you are). Day to day tasks can become cumbersome and occasionally be put aside all together in favour of getting all the new, excess work done. One of the areas that this can particularly affect is cleaning.

Whilst we’re in summer, we don’t particularly have to worry about rain (apart from occasional showers). However, autumn and winter are a different story and definitely worth preparing for.

With the cold, wet weather, there’s a high chance that cleaning could become an endless and thankless job – especially if your facility requires a doors open approach and you have equipment frequently coming in from and going out to a yard.

Having a member of your team on stand by with a mop, bucket and broom is one remedy, but another could be hiring in cleaning equipment for the autumn and winter months. Pedestrian and ride along scrubber driers and sweepers can make quick work of a typically arduous task, improving cleanliness and safety along the way.

Outdoor Work

If you use outdoor equipment then the winter months can be very unforgiving. High winds and wet weather can inhibit the use of scissor lifts and open forklifts can leave operators exposed to the elements. To help keep your employees safe, consider hiring in forklifts that have enclosed cabs. These not only keep your operators dry and protected, but can also include heating, to keep fingers and toes toasty whilst at work in the rain.

It’s also important to make sure that your operatives have the correct protection from their clothing;

  • Waterproof safety boots
  • Waterproof, windproof, high visibility outerwear
  • Thermal layers
  • Gloves, hats etc.

It could also be worth your time looking at the assortment of attachments that are available for forklifts. During peak season, scoops and buckets can be used to keep your yard clean and tidy, whilst in the colder month, ploughs and gritters can be used to keep your safe accessible and safe.

 

Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways that you can prepare your facility for peak season and the Christmas rush. Whilst it can seem strange considering autumn and winter whilst the sun is bearing down, planning ahead could save you plenty of time, money and stress throughout peak season and when season of festive cheer finally comes around.

If you’d like to find out more about hiring any of the equipment mentioned, booking training for your team or need help optimising your warehouse or facility, why not give us a call? You can reach us on 01933 228127, by emailing info@askhitec.co.uk or by visiting our contact us page.

Cleaning Technologies; A Simple Solution to Transform Your Business

When you think of the necessities for improved warehouse operations, generally people may think of the following;

  • More staff
  • Better training
  • Material handling equipment
  • Fantastic productivity

Something people may not often consider is the cleanliness and tidiness of floor space. Whilst successful businesses obviously keep their facilities in order, a mop and broom take time and can also cause the employee who carries out these tasks a lot of strain. Not only this, but sometimes elbow grease just can’t cut it.

Cleaning technologies are a simple and effective solution. Let’s take a closer look at how they can help your business.

 

  1. Low Cost Solution for a Time-Consuming Problem

For many businesses, especially small to medium facilities, cost is everything. When it comes to keeping a clean area, sometimes a cleaner is employed, but often it’s the shared responsibility of the team.

Whether it’s paid hours or just an additional task, it’s an undoubted fact that cleaning takes time. This is especially the case when all that’s available is a mop, bucket and broom. If a facility is open to the elements, especially in autumn and winter, cleaning can become a full-time job, just to keep the area dry and safe.

Small pedestrian sweepers and scrubber driers (such as Hako’s Sweepmaster M600 and Scrubmaster B12) can make a massive difference. With excellent first-time results that mean secondary scrubbing or sweeping is rarely required, they can provide the deep cleaning solution needed. Not only this, but they’re low cost, low maintenance and with minimal downtime required for servicing, you won’t have to worry about breaking the budget.

If your facility is a little larger, then larger models (such as the Sweepmaster 650 and the Scrubmaster B45) are available to help cover more ground with even more cleaning power, all the while still remaining affordable.

 

  1. Low Impact Operation

Manual sweeping and mopping can be an arduous task – but it can also be a harmful one. Repeated motion can not only cause strains but repeatedly bending to sweep up rubbish/dust can cause back, shoulder and knee damage.

Pedestrian sweepers and/or scrubber driers offer a low impact solution. Employees and cleaners can use the equipment with minimum training and without the need to frequently stoop.

If your facility is bigger, then there are also ride on versions of sweepers and scrubbers which can eliminate the need to walk with the equipment. Perfect for large scale warehouses and buildings, the larger models require more due diligence as they’re powerful pieces of machinery, but are a perfectly safe alternative to traditional cleaning methods.

Speaking of safety…

 

  1. Improve Facility Safety

Did you know that the most common form of workplace injuries are slips, trips and falls?

At 31% of all non-fatal work injuries, the worrying part is that these accidents can mostly be avoided with good housekeeping (for more safety, see Hitec’s Top 10 Health and Safety Practices). If there’s been a spill, a leak or if water and other elements have managed to get into a facility from outdoors, there’s a chance that an employee could get hurt.

Sweepers and scrubber driers are ready for use at a moment’s notice. Has a crate of alcohol spilled? A sweeper can move all the glass safely away whilst a scrubber can come and take up the liquid, cleaning the floor thoroughly so that there’s no sticky residue or patches of wetness that could cause incident. Not only that, but they can do so far quicker than a mop ever could.

If you’re battling the weather and rain is constantly coming in, then it’s vital to keep the floors as dry as possible for pedestrians and moving equipment – a small scrubber drier can help do so. Quick to utilise and easy to use, it could help keep the floor safe and dry.

Need to move sharp or broken goods? A sweeper is an effective and safe way of clearing the problem without risking pick up and employees harming themselves.

 

  1. Compact and Green Solution

A common misconception that many businesses might have is that they would not have room for cleaning technologies, particularly if they have a lot of equipment already or are tight on space. However, you might be surprised as to how little space your cleaning equipment can take up.

Built to be compact, even ride on models can be kept in small areas and corners. As for charging? A majority of sweepers and scrubbers can simply be plugged into the mains; no fancy, large charging ports which can take up too much room.

With models available for all facility sizes, there’s bound to be cleaning equipment the correct size for your needs and business.

You don’t need to worry about environmental impact with sweepers and scrubbers either; all models (except outdoor sweepers) come in an electric powered option; giving your business the peace of mind that you’re keeping your facility, and the air, clean.

 

  1. Multi-functional

If you’re in need of cleaning technologies that can keep not only your outdoor facility clear and tidy, but also your yard and even grounds, look no further. Outdoor cleaners are fantastic, powerful pieces of kit that can do far more than sweep the floor.

With the ability to be hooked up to grounds maintenance and winter attachments, you can keep the area around your facility and yard in excellent order. Attachments include (but are not limited to);

  • Lawnmowers
  • Scoops
  • Ploughs
  • Snow Brushes
  • Gritters

Perfect for businesses that have primarily outdoor facilities, car parks, roads and grounds to care for, outdoor cleaners are a fantastic investment that can complete a multitude of tasks. With enclosed cabs to keep operators safe and warm, even in the cold months, outdoor cleaners could be the multi-functional cleaning equipment you need.

 

Conclusion

With cleaning technologies available in all sizes and suited to all types of facility (from warehouses to shopping centres, yards to showrooms), there’s a piece of equipment for every business. Even if you’re on a budget, you can still achieve the safe and clean floors that’ll boost your production and increase the safety of all of your employees.

If you’d like to find out more about the equipment mentioned or would like to consider purchasing or hiring cleaning equipment, then why not get in touch? Our expert team will be able to help you decide what would be best suited to your business and help find a solution that fits your budget. Call today on 01933 228127, email info@askhitec.co.uk or visit our contact page.