The British winter weather is, more often than not, to thank for the more downtime within a warehouse or distribution centre. Dangerous weather conditions result in there likely being less projects running and less deliveries needed.
With all this downtime it can be a perfect chance to increase efficiencies.
With high staff, high footfalls and automation a major part of the inner workings of a warehouse, Surfacing is something that can often be a quick win to ensuring people know where they are going and keeping this in good condition and clearly delineated will often reap massive rewards, for efficiencies.
If your warehouse receives a lot of traffic daily, it will eventually become apparent that your line markings will fade or start to rub off. This could not only cause complications for anyone working in the warehouse, but could become unsafe as walkways and loading bays may become indecipherable, possibly resulting in an incident. As well as this, it is likely to increase downtime and slow down work rate as people will not have a clear idea of where to go.
Therefore, this is currently the best time of year for you to refresh your warehouse’s surface:
Mark out clear zones within the warehouse
This is one of the most crucial steps your to improving lean management within the workplace. If every zone is clearly marked out, people will know where to go to get their job done.
The 5S are often used in lean manage to help create and increase efficiencies, for a great blog on 5S check this out HERE. Marking out clear zones can assist with S: Sort. If everything within the warehouse has its own marked out area, not only will work be made easier by the elimination of obstacles, but muda (waste) will be reduced due to less time spent looking for things. The elimination of muda is the primary focus of lean management.
CREATE PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS
Pedestrian walkways are a must when you are marking out your warehouse. Not only do they give the same benefits as mentioned before, but radically increase health and safety within the warehouse. This means a much lesser chance of an incident occurring, which would be very damaging to the company. This can be done with a number of products including paints, tapes and machines.
Creating pedestrian walkways is an example of another key feature of lean management: Continuous Flow. This is where work-in-process smoothly flows through production with minimal (or no) buffers between steps of the manufacturing process. With walkways created for pedestrians and ‘tracks’ for vehicles to follow, you are enhancing the continuous flow of the workplace as there will be little-to-no need for stopping or any collisions.
REPAIR ANY SURFACE DAMAGE
Any damage to the surface could potentially become a hazard, as anyone walking could trip, and this becomes even more dangerous if the person is carrying something large/heavy. The same reasoning goes for vehicles, such as forklifts. Damage to the surface could cause the vehicle to crash or force it in another direction, becoming a potential danger to the operator and anyone else in the warehouse. This would affect the 3rd of the 5 S’s: Shine.
Shine relates to the cleanliness and safety of your warehouse. For example, regular cleaning is mandatory, and you must ensure your warehouse is in the best condition possible. This also results in the reduction of muda, firstly because any mess could become an obstacle and therefore could possibly cause an accident, resulting in time spent resolving this. Secondly, if the warehouse and what it contains is not looked after, parts could become nonfunctioning, massively slowing down any work being done, which can extend to the external surfacing as well.