Our Global Industrial Geniuses Answer Your Top Winter Warehouse Prep Questions
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Although it helps to start early, it’s never too late to ensure your facility is ready for colder temperatures, shorter days, and the potential for snow and ice that cuts power and snarls traffic. Those preparations require more than stocking extra bags of rock salt and replacing last year’s broken shovels, however. And it involves indoor spaces as well as the great outdoors.
Below, Global Industrial product experts answer some of the most common questions from customers about gearing up their facility for winter.
What is the most overlooked winter maintenance task you see across your customer base?
Many operators don’t realize that the residue left behind by salt and other ice-melt can damage their floors. Of course, we don’t advise skipping ice melt, because it’s critical for preventing slips and skidding in icy weather and makes it easy for people to get in and out of your facility. However, adding an ice melt residue cleaner to your janitorial kit can help protect floors, as well as carpets and mats, against corrosion from the combination of salt/ice melt and water that get tracked in. You can also use it on the sidewalk and any equipment that’s exposed to ice melt.
I usually focus winter prep on areas immediately inside and outside my facility. How far beyond my facility should winter prep occur? And are there areas within my facility I’m forgetting about?
Winter prep goes well beyond the entry to your facility, so you’re on the right track. Here are a few other areas to consider: If regular snow is expected, consider adding extra wayfinding to your parking lot, such as parking curbs, bollards, and signs with anchored bases. This will help people safely navigate the lot when the striping is covered with snow. You’ll also want to inspect exterior lighting and replace lamps and fixtures as needed—it helps to do this before daylight hours dwindle. Finally, look inside: Do you have a plan for keeping the spaces beyond the entryway doormats free of moisture and corrosive ice melt residue? Solutions could include more frequent service from your janitorial team, additional floor mats and runners, and wet floor signage.
Procuring supplies last-minute can be tough. What do you recommend purchasing early?
We can’t say it enough: Make sure you have enough salt or ice-melt on hand to last the season, and factor in at least a few extra snowfalls and deep freezes. Being out of salt, when everyone’s scrambling for the available supply, can leave you with treacherous, and even impassible, parking lots and docks. That can put you behind. Other items to make sure are in good condition and that you have enough of include ice sprayers/dispensers, shovels and drying mops. Also check your floor mats and replace them if they are worn out. Now is also the time to inspect your snow blowers and snow plows and replace parts or upgrade as needed.
My maintenance backlog grew last winter because I had fewer staff on-hand due to COVID-19. What are some steps I can take now to make sure my team is ready to tackle a bigger load of maintenance projects this winter?
There are a few steps to take. First, inspect your facility and make note of the work that needs done, then rank the tasks in priority order based on their impact to your operations. Create a schedule that shows which projects will take place when, and which members of the team are responsible for completing them. It’s easier to ensure the work is completed if you remember what needs done. Plus, it can be satisfying to cross items off the list. We recommend following the 5S Lean Management methodology for workplace organization:
- Sort: Keep only what’s needed.
- Set: Arrange and label necessary items for easy access and storage.
- Shine: Keep things clean and maintained.
- Standardize: Complete the same tasks in the same ways.
- Sustain: Make these processes a habit.
Preparing your facility for winter starts well before you feel a chill in the air. And it’s a task Global Industrial can help you with. Contact our product experts to find the supplies you need to keep your space in optimal condition from one season to the next.
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