All warehouses need regular maintenance in order to function properly. However, specialized storage spaces, like cold storage facilities, require a unique kind of maintenance to protect products and operate at total capacity. While you can apply many general warehouse preventative measures to cold storage facilities, some techniques are specific to the site.
While the primary concern in cold storage warehouses surrounds temperature maintenance, there are other areas that leadership can focus on to make necessary improvements. Doing so has many valuable benefits that will only increase revenue and productivity. If you’re looking for ways to optimize your site, here are some best practices for maintaining a cold storage facility.
What Is Different About Cold Storage Maintenance?
While cold storage facilities are part of the warehouse industry, some key differences affect how management runs and operates their job sites. The most significant difference between general and cold storage warehouses is their functions. General warehouses can store all kinds of products and materials; cold storage facilities house perishable items like food, pharmaceuticals, and plants.
Since they have different purposes, some maintenance tips between warehouses and cold storage facilities can vary. Cold storage sites have unique challenges and safety concerns that other types of storage sites won’t face. For these reasons, it’s helpful to talk about cold storage maintenance separately from their more general counterparts.
Cold Storage Facility Maintenance Tips
Cold storage upkeep can be the difference between a successful facility and a failing one. Preventative and restorative maintenance impacts these sites in so many areas and can dramatically influence output. If you want to know the best practices for maintaining a cold storage facility, keep some of the following tips in mind and implement them in your daily procedures.
Monitor Temperatures Constantly
Temperature is perhaps the most crucial element of a cold storage facility. Cold storage items rely on specific heat and cooling levels to stay fresh until they are ready for shipment. If you want to maintain the right kind of environment for these products, make sure to monitor temperatures constantly.
Use smart technology, like temperature sensors, to regulate temperature-controlled areas. These devices can sense when levels are too high or too low and make quick adjustments. It’s also helpful to teach employees to be mindful about allowing cold air to escape; make sure everyone knows to close doors and windows tightly and seal any areas that could cause a leak.
Taking care of your cold storage facility means embracing automation and other technological advancements. While it may seem like a significant investment, automated racking systems and equipment make maintenance easy. By taking repetitive tasks out of the hands of employees, you reduce the chances of something malfunctioning due to human error.
Automated software and devices also reduce spending. Since they can complete specific tasks, you will need fewer people on your payroll. Automatic machines typically use less power than manual pieces of equipment and have energy-saving technology incorporated into their design as well. Saving money allows managers to reinvest funds into facility maintenance initiatives that can improve the workplace.
Use Proper Equipment
Without proper equipment, nobody will be able to perform their jobs correctly. This is true of any industry, but especially in cold storage facilities. Extreme temperatures leave specialized tools vulnerable to damage, so make sure only to use equipment compatible with freezing temperatures. Cold environments generate condensation, so make sure to seal and protect all electronic and sensitive machines from moisture.
It’s also helpful to use cold-friendly accessories in these types of facilities. Batteries die quickly in extreme environments, so replace them with high-voltage options to extend their longevity. You might even consider revamping all buttons, levers, and switches to make operations easier while employees wear thick gloves for warmth.
Have Regular Inspections
You should have your cold storage facility regularly inspected to identify any problems. Some businesses keep an in-house expert on payroll to check out equipment and conditions, while others employ a third party. Either way, you should entrust someone with advanced knowledge about the industry to ensure your facility is up to standards.
Qualified inspectors can locate problem areas you or your staff may have missed. They can also point out areas that you can improve upon to avoid any damage in the future. This makes cold storage facility maintenance easy to stay on top of, so you don’t waste time or money fixing faulty equipment.
Make Repairs ASAP
Whether an inspector identified the damage or you noticed it yourself, you should avoid putting off repairs for a later date. Fix any problem areas as soon as they occur to sustain high standards and keep operations going. This includes fixing broken pallets, servicing malfunctioning equipment, and optimizing the work floor to promote better performance.
Don’t forget about the facility itself. Make sure to perform maintenance on important building components, like HVAC and lighting systems. Because of the nature of cold storage warehouses, the actual structure may lose integrity more quickly while being exposed to extreme temperatures.
Why Is Cold Storage Facility Maintenance Important?
Maintaining your cold storage facility is so essential if you want it to be successful. But, there are more benefits to proper maintenance than making and saving money. A well-cared-for warehouse will operate more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. There will be less downtime fixing machines and less confusion among departments. Efficient warehouses run smoother and are generally a more enjoyable place to work at.
Perhaps most importantly, correctly maintaining your cold storage facility increases safety standards. Slipping hazards are at an all-time high in these locations, and heavy machinery can cause severe injuries among employees. Caring for your establishment will reduce hazardous conditions and protect the health and safety of your staff. The fewer injuries that occur on your jobsite, the less time you’ll waste finding coverage and replacing things that needed fixing a long time ago.
While operating a cold storage facility has its own set of unique challenges, it is entirely doable with the right resources. Taking the time to research best practices will set you and your business up for success in the long run.
In the meantime, use Hammerhead for all of your cold storage facility needs. We offer a wide range of products and services, including warehouse rack repair, to get all of your equipment in top shape. Contact us today and let us know how we can improve conditions in your cold storage warehouse.