Any warehouse supervisor can tell you that a clean warehouse is an efficient warehouse, and therefore it's vital for everyone from an entry-level employee to a c-suite executive to buy into the idea that cleanliness should be a paramount concern.
Below are seven tips to help you achieve that goal:
1) Empty the trash regularly
One of the biggest issues in warehouses is a lack of collective investment in keeping things tidy, according to Return Loads. However, that starts from the top down, and if management doesn't make a point to ensure garbage cans and recycling bins are cleared out regularly, employees may not feel there's any need to start cleaning up themselves either.
2) "If you see it, pick it up"
Along similar lines, it might be wise to encourage employees to proactively pick up any trash or debris they see on the ground, Return Loads advised. Doing so will make them more invested in keeping the warehouse clean, rather than thinking, "That's someone else's responsibility."
3) Have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand
Of course, when you want people to take initiative in cleaning up messes, it's vital to have plenty of supplies on hand to help them do that on an ongoing basis, Return Loads cautioned. Workers should always cleaning materials within a short distance of where they are, and be trained on proper use.
4) Assign people to sections
Another way to ensure there's more buy-in on your clean-up plans is to put people in charge of keeping certain parts of the warehouse neat, according to Cisco Eagle. That way, there can be no ambiguity about whose responsibility a certain effort should be. Simply put, if employees know they're responsible for a certain area's cleanliness and that someone is checking up on them, they aren't likely to let even the little things slip past.
5) Set goals, reward excellence
Whether you're monitoring how clean an entire facility is, or you're breaking things down into sections, it's important that everyone knows what they're working toward, Cisco Eagle added. When employees are incentivized to keep up with cleaning efforts, they are more likely to follow through on company goals.
6) Reprioritize organization
Often, messes arise because companies are not proactive enough about making sure the space is well-organized and stock is being moved out efficiently so there's no buildup, according to Centre Point Logistics CEO Torben Eskelund, writing for LinkedIn. When businesses prioritize having enough space to store everything - such as with new shelving or racks - there's far less clutter to deal with.
7) Review regularly
Finally, executives should always strive to be on top of these issues, but also working to ensure there's room for improvement, Eskelund noted. Keeping careful records of how effective cleanup efforts have been, and reviewing them to see which areas could be made even better, will typically go a long way toward ensuring companies continually improve their tidiness and efficiency.