There are many old sayings that highlight the importance of preventative maintenance (or preventive maintenance), such as “a stitch in time saves nine” or “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These lines, clichéd as they are, exist for a reason: Taking measures to prevent a critical situation from happening is often easier and less costly than taking a “wait and see” approach that tries to fix things only after they break.
Every warehouse/distribution center should enact a preventative maintenance program for the various aspects of their operations, from their docks & doors, to their motive power fleet solutions, to their rack systems and in-plant offices.
Why should you keep your warehouse to a strict preventative maintenance schedule? Here are a few reasons you should consider:
1: Preventative Maintenance Improves Employee Safety
Worn equipment is dangerous equipment. Whether it’s a damaged rack suddenly dumping heavy pallets on passing employees, faulty forklifts running amok, or wet flooring near improperly-sealed dock doors causing employees to slip, there are numerous safety hazards that can happen when different aspects of your warehouse’s operations fall behind on their planned preventative maintenance schedule.
By engaging in preventive maintenance planning, you can avoid sudden and unexpected catastrophic failures in your warehouse that lead to severe employee injuries. This, in turn, helps avoid:
- Losing productive time to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations (and potential OSHA fines);
- Suffering reduced labor capacity (from the missing injured worker);
- Expensive workman’s comp claims; and
- Indirect costs for recruiting and onboarding replacement employees.
2: Preventative Maintenance Helps Reduce Warehouse Costs
Which is cheaper: a quick patch to a worn shelf, or replacing an entire racking system because it broke? Odds are, the patch will be much less expensive to make than the replacement cost of a whole racking system—or even just one rack on that system.
The same is true for planned preventative maintenance for forklifts, dock doors, and other high-value or complex objects around the warehouse. By sticking to a preventive maintenance plan that emphasizes making small repairs before bigger issues can crop up, you can minimize the total cost of ownership for many items in your warehouse. Not to mention how improving maintenance improves safety to avoid various fines and medical/insurance expenses.
3: Effective Preventative Maintenance Schedules Improve Battery Life and Performance
Motive power fleet maintenance is a major issue in any warehouse. However, it is all too easy to forget about proper forklift battery maintenance needs, such as keeping the battery properly watered and preventing corrosion of the battery leads. When batteries aren’t properly maintained, they can corrode or become damaged to the point where they don’t provide enough charge to properly power a forklift.
This leads to needing to replace forklift batteries more frequently, driving up the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your warehouse’s motive power fleet as well as lost productivity for your forklifts.
By engaging in a preventative maintenance program for your forklift batteries, you can prevent batteries from becoming sulfated/corroded and prolong their useful life—not to mention help them maintain an optimal output that keeps your forklifts operating a peak efficiency.
Create a Comprehensive Warehouse Preventative Maintenance Checklist!
Before launching a preventative maintenance plan, it’s important to have an idea of what you should look out for. Here, creating a comprehensive preventative maintenance checklist for your motive power, storage & handling, and dock & door operations can be incredibly useful for ensuring that your planned maintenance is conducted as efficiently as possible while creating the best effect for safety, cost savings, and productivity in your warehouse.
Need help with your planned maintenance scheduling? Contact the experts at Southern States today. We can help you optimize your maintenance schedule to best meet your highest operating priorities for safety, efficiency, and/or compliance with OSHA regulations.