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Five tips for keeping your warehouse healthy in 2021

07 January 2021

The peak holiday season can be a stressful time for warehouse personnel—and equipment. In many organisations meeting peak demands requires automation equipment to run at maximum capacity, often without regularly scheduled system maintenance. This tendency to defer maintenance due to high demand was even more prevalent in 2020 as many organisations saw above-normal demand for extended periods during the pandemic.

Now, as demand ebbs, it’s a good time to evaluate the previous year and address vulnerabilities that may have emerged. Here are five actions warehouse managers can take now to maintain high levels of uptime in the coming year and ensure they are prepared for the next peak. 

1. Get back on schedule with regular maintenance

The first concern is always minimising downtime. It isn’t always practical to schedule maintenance during peak periods, but it is important not to wait too long to get back on schedule once demand drops to more manageable levels. That makes the early part of the year an ideal time to get back on schedule and catch up on needed preventive maintenance.

2. Identify opportunities to unlock value

While the peak season is still fresh in your mind, take some time to assess what worked well and where there are opportunities for improvement. Did you experience higher than expected break-fix events during the peak season? Did bottlenecks emerge as volumes ramped up? 

3. Identify needed parts and obsolete components

The worst time to figure out whether you have the right spare parts on hand is when you need them. That’s why the beginning of the year is an excellent time to audit your parts inventory and make sure you have what you need while also clearing out any dead stock.

4. Evaluate new maintenance technologies

Maintenance practices continue to evolve with technology. Business intelligence tools, for example, can enable more efficient and effective system maintenance. Swisslog’s Availability Manager calculates system availability across different flows, such as picking or inbound, and presents a holistic view of availability at a glance. 

5. Reinforce training

With turnover rates remaining high in warehouses today, the need for training is constant. Ask your automation supplier about the availability of learning management systems that simplify the task of keeping maintenance personnel up to date on best practices and onboarding new operators.

To read the full article, visit www.swisslog.com/Healthy-Warehouse-2021