Warehousing and logistics is a 24/7, 365 days a year industry. It’s time-sensitive and efficiency-driven and often involves large volumes of pallets being moved as quickly as possible. The challenge is that it’s extremely difficult to remain efficient if there is debris in the way.
Consider how quickly an isle can become unusable once there are pieces of broken pallets, wood, cardboard, plastic and shrink wrap in the way. Pallet jacks and forklifts need space to maneuver, which quickly becomes impossible if isles are not clear.
Here’s the problem. If warehouse employees need to be picking and packing 24/7, there is no time to clean, and yet without cleaning taking place continuously, isles become unusable, and forklifts have to take indirect routes to get the job done. Productivity suffers and valuable hours (and rands) are lost.
It’s a challenge that we have embraced at Capability. In many industries, specifically, where food hygiene is involved and there are Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), professional cleaning is built into the process. However, what happens when professional cleaning is critical for efficiencies, but is often viewed by employees on the ground as a barrier to productivity?
We’ve approached warehousing and logistics with this in mind. When an isle is being cleaned, employees cannot reach the boxes and pallets they need. But without cleaning services, efficiencies plummet. How could we add value to our clients in this sector without being viewed as in the way by employees on the ground?
1. Embed professional cleaning in the entire picking and packing process
Professional cleaning services add value if the professional cleaning partner understands each client’s business and key objectives. Before we can become valuable partners, we need to understand the levels of output required across a warehouse and what each employee on the ground needs to achieve. We need a clear view of the picking and packing process so that we can keep isles clear without impacting productivity.
2. Work with pickers and packers, not against them
This seems obvious, but cleaning crews can often be more of a nuisance than a help when it comes to efficiencies. We’ve developed strong partnerships that allow us to work with pickers and packers. One of the reasons for this is speed. We understand the importance of getting in and out of isles as quickly as possible. We also design our services around how the warehouse operates – where are trucks arriving and waiting for boxes and pallets? How do we streamline the process? How do our teams support logistics? We analyse our clients’ needs and design a cleaning process that adds value.
3. Use appropriate cleaning methodologies and equipment
It’s easy to go into an isle with a cherry picker, but that means that forklifts and pallet jacks cannot use those isles while our teams are there, which can have a serious knock-on impact right across the logistics supply chain, from the distribution centre all the way down to a store level. The solution is to find new ways to deliver the same level of cleanliness. For example, we’ve developed methods to clean from the ground to avoid disrupting picking and packing. We also proactively monitor where there are any potential blockages to ensure we clear an area as quickly as possible. The goal is to always keep things moving.
4. Offer a fully managed service that reduces costs while improving efficiencies
Offering a focused, niche and professional managed service requires tailored solutions that solve specific client needs. We’ve built our business through these specialisations. Our managed cleaning service leverages the correct cleaning staff, chemicals, equipment, methodologies, and technologies to support warehousing and logistics. The entire process is managed on an hourly basis to ensure that everything is on track, at all times. Our goal is not to keep our clients’ businesses operating at maximum productivity levels.
Find out more about Capability Cleaning by Adcorp here!