15 Tips To Keeping Your Warehouse Productive This Summer

For some of us, the summer heat has already made an appearance (for others, it’s yet to happen). But, as we enter the year’s hottest months, it’s safe to say that working in a warehouse can become an exhausting and challenging activity.

So, how can you ensure your staff are comfortable and your operation remains productive even when the mercury rises? Well, here are a few tips to help…

START FANNING OUT

When it comes to cooling the air in a vast warehouse space, air conditioning costs can quickly spiral out of control. The solution then is high volume, low speed (HVLS) fans. These ceiling-mounted behemoths are not only energy efficient, but are capable of achieving coverage of over 1,800 m² with just 7 m blades.

To further illustrate their efficiency and effectiveness, a single HVLS fan can replace up to 20 floor or smaller ceiling fans.

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Tip 1

Always try to prevent temperatures in the warehouse reaching around 30 °C

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Tip 2

Invest in HVLS fans to ensure widespread coverage of cooler air in an energy-efficient way

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Tip 3

When necessary, combine air conditioning with HVLS fans to achieve a faster drop in temperature

At 29.5 °C, each employee loses 8.8% of his or her productivity

EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT

During the warm summer months, it’s important to remember that heat affects people differently. Some employees may be able to handle the hotter temperatures, whereas others will begin to struggle. With this in mind, pay close attention to older employees or staff who ar e new to manual work. And of course, always make allowances for workers who suffer from illnesses as they may need special attention.

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Tip 4

Allow warehouse workers to drink water every 15 minutes or so

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Tip 5

Invest in HVLS fans to ensure widespread coverage of cooler air in an energy-efficient way

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Tip 6

Pay close attention to older employees and those with illnesses

20 °C is the ideal temperature for factory and warehouse workers – the Health and Safety Executive

DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLUTIONS

Having achieved a comfortable temperature in the warehouse, it would be a shame to see this cool air literally fly out the door . Now, given that a warehouse typically has many doors and loading bays, these openings need to be considered and prepared appropriately.

As expected, the obvious solution is to keep doors closed. However, when this is not possible, vinyl strip doors or curtains are the ideal tools. Not only will they keep cool air in and warm air out, they’r e also hugely energy efficient as there is less need to continually overcome increases in temperature.

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Tip 7

Identify all openings in your warehouse including doors, bays, and windows

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Tip 8

Aim to keep all doors closed – trapping the cool air inside

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Tip 9

For high traffic areas, use vinyl strip curtains to create a dynamic barrier that prevents cold air exiting

The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the environmental temperature climbs to 26 °C or higher

KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED

In a warehouse environment, there are typically hundreds and even thousands of moving parts and components. Now, during warmer weather, these parts can expand and become more susceptible to friction. Of course, friction causes heat, which in turn will make this situation worse until such times as there is a breakdown or catastrophic failure.

So, during the summer months, just be awar e that it’s not only your employees that need your attention, your machinery and equipment do too.

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Tip 10

Ensure warehouse parts and components are regularly serviced and maintained

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Tip 11

During periods of warm weather, keep a close eye on performance levels and operating temperatures

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Tip 12

Train employees to spot the tell-tale signs of overheating and implement a reporting procedure

Bar code scanners normally operate in a temperature range from 0 °C to 40 °C

THE GREAT GETAWAY

The kids are off school, barbecues and al fresco dinners are being planned, and family activities are in full swing. Suffice to say, the summer months can be a huge distraction for your warehouse employees when they are at work.

So, plan as best you can to ensur e staff can take annual leave as and when they want it. Not only will this enable them to spend time with their families and loved ones, but will also give them time to relax,
recuperate and recharge before returning to your warehouse.

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Tip 13

Plan summer months effectively to ensure maximum vacation days for workers

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Tip 14

Post staff holiday bookings publically within the team so everyone is aware of availability

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Tip 15

Where possible, allow employees to swap and trade vacation days to suit themselves

Over 66% of workers say their productivity is compromised when they cannot take leave when needed

THE ONE STOP SHOP

It doesn’t matter if the weather is scorching hot, freezing cold, or somewhere in between, running a continually efficient and pr oductive warehouse can be a challenge. But that’s where we can help. At Locators, we use our experience to recommend and supply the right materials handling and storage systems for every warehouse environment.

With a view of the end user in every project and application, we provide a complete consultancy service from start to finish, along with all the tools/ products you could need. So, whether it’s racking, forklifts, pickers or a variety of other solutions, we can ensure your warehouse remains productive… whatever the weather.

What our clients say

Every time we look at an application, Locators approach it like a blank canvas and always recommend the best equipment for our business. Locators have proved themselves as a very reliable and proactive service provider by keeping our trucks working and our fleet costs as low as possible.

Adam Conrad
Group Transport Manager for Covers

Being able to work with one supplier for storage and materials handling has been a benefit to us. Locators managed the complete installation and ensured the correct materials handling equipment was specified for their design. They also service and maintain all of the equipment they have supplied and offer a rack inspection service to make sure our warehouse remains a safe working environment. We are very happy with our new facility and we believe we have made the best use of the available space.

Marc Congdon
Engineering Manager, Costa

We have worked with Locators for nearly 20 years. We are confident they can always make the best use of the space we have available and provide us with forklifts that are well suited for the long loads and other stock we have to move.

Colin Macgregor
Director, Y Goldberg

We purchased our first Toyota forklift from Locators 14 years ago for our farm. This truck has been very reliable and is still in service so we had no hesitation in deciding to purchase another Toyota machine. Locators recommended an electric forklift for our machinery depot as it is very quiet, has low running costs and does not create any pollution, making it ideal for working both inside and outside. Our operators are very pleased with our new Toyota truck and our business is very happy to be operating a forklift that has such a low impact on the environment.

Ed Smales
Director, NFFM

Locators installed the new racking system within a tight timeframe while our business was fully operational. They have provided us with a facility that has a similar storage capacity and reduced the size of our forklift fleet allowing us to lease one building instead of two. We are very happy with the outcome.

Paul Bickell
Nippon Express

Locators gave us the benefit of working with just one supplier for all of the storage and materials handling requirements of this project. By mixing 3 and 4 wheel trucks from the same model range, we have gained extra pallet locations and have the option to battery change between them and work multi-shift in the future. I was initially sceptical that electric trucks could replace LPG, but I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project.

Mark Davis
Logistics Supervisor for Hall & Woodhouse brewery

We are very pleased with the change from an engine to an electric fleet. The trucks have been well received by our operators as they are comfortable and quiet to drive and give excellent protection from the elements. We even have the option and flexibility to use spare batteries and a simple battery change system if we ever want to work back to back shifts in the future. Locators also design, supply and install all types of racking and storage systems. They reconfigured the CooperVision warehouse for narrow aisle operation which increases the storage density and pallet locations. Locators supplied Aisle-Master articulated forklifts to work in this area.

Coopervision, Hamble

It is a great benefit to us that we have a single source supplier who understands the needs of our business. This saves us time, improves efficiency and ultimately reduces cost.

Richard Horrocks
Smurfitt Kappa