It's Springtime at Cromer, which means we're in Spring Cleaning season. If you want to prepare for a busy summer, Spring Cleaning applies to you too...including your docks and doors.
These are the points of entry for product, forklifts, and people all day long. This is a great time to put in a good cleaning. Let us help with some advice on where a Spring Cleaning helps, and how to do one to maximum effectiveness.
Why Clean Now? Warehouse Performance and Working Conditions
I see two reasons for a good Spring Cleaning in the warehouse.
One, you'll need peak performance in the coming months.
Summer orders, harvest/crush...the summer rush is on its way. All of us need as much (safe) productivity as we can get. Slow equipment, snags, and broken dock access affects everyone's workflow.
Two, we're changing seasons. Moving from cold and wet to hot and dry.
This increases allergens, heat issues for people and equipment...and bugs. Don't know about you, but I really hate bugs flying into my warehouses. If you store & move produce in yours, I completely sympathize!
What to Clean, Service, or Replace for your Docks and Doors
Cleaning now prepares the docks for dealing with the seasonal changes. It also helps you identify what will need service or repair, before summer heat & activity increase the chances of contamination or an accident.
Let's look at dock & door elements that benefit from a "Spring Cleaning" check and service. You probably check these a few times a year, so think of these as maintenance reminders. It's a good time to review them all.
- Loading Doors. If a door's slow or squeaks a lot, it needs some lubrication. That's an easy one. However, if the door cannot close, makes clicking sounds, or comes off its tracks, it's time for maintenance. Otherwise, you risk hot air leaking into the warehouse, corrosion, and worker accidents if the door jams or collapses down.
- Pay special attention to the door's ratchet bar. Does it look worn? If so, replace it as soon as possible. A failed ratchet bar can cause a serious door accident in 2 seconds.
- Bug Doors. Bug doors can tear at seams, or develop holes from use. These damage the door's ability to do its job—keeping bugs out! You'll find the tears/holes with a flashlight and close side-to-side inspection.
- Loading Dock Levelers. These do need regular service, like any other warehouse system. Especially their hydraulic and electrical wiring, which can fail under hot weather. This article from Ritehite.com gives us a few signs that your dock levelers need service.
- Docks. 25% of all reported warehouse accidents occur at the dock. All the weight passing through can lead unstable dock plates, uneven dock levelers, and debris in the area. Grab a box and walk up & down the dock, back and forth until you've covered the whole thing. Feel any weak spots or teetering? The dock needs maintenance.
- Dock Seals. Cracked or torn seals happen. A lot. Press the seals in and pull them out to test. You may think small tears are no big deal...but they have a bad habit of making the whole dock experience worse. Increased heating/cooling costs in particular.
- Look at the brushes as well. They should be intact all the way through. Shine a light past them with someone else standing on the opposite side. They should not see any light through the brushes. If they do, the brushes aren't holding properly & need replacement.
- Dock Lights. As we pointed out in a past newsletter, dock lights boost warehouse efficiency, even in summertime. That is, if they work properly. You'll know if a light's out during a nighttime inspection (see Tip #1 below).
- Dust In/Around Door Frames. Maybe a little obvious, but dust collections can contaminate product, and make allergy-prone workers miserable. Nobody wants that. Shine a flashlight up and around the door frame; dust collections should catch the light.
6 Tips for Effective Warehouse Spring Cleaning
How should we approach an industrial "Spring Cleaning?" I suggest examining the docks & doors as indicated. Then clean up what needs cleaning. Then arrange for maintenance and/or repair of the issues you found.
These six tips will help you with the first step, examination. They do apply to all warehouse systems, not just docks & doors, so reuse them whenever you like.
- Do TWO rounds of checks—one during daytime, and one at night with a strong flashlight. At night, you'll see seal cracks & broken lights you would miss in the daytime.
- Check for oil drips on and around the docks. You may need to pour a little water down to see the oil contrast.
- Watch how water flows off the dock. If a dock plate's unstable or the leveler's uneven, you'll see wiggles in the runoff.
- Request floor managers check their areas & report any issues.
- Get out the brooms! Sweep, mop, and dust around every dock. We always find debris underneath the dock (and I'm sure you do too). Use a blower to save time.
- 6. Make sure to get any cobwebs up top of the doors as well. They love to collect dust and rain it down on everyone.
If you do find dock equipment or doors in need of repair, call your local Cromer. Our Warehouse Systems techs will take care of any dock inspections you need, as well as full maintenance service, including parts replacement if needed.
Until next month!
Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
Cromer Material Handling