In the current era of heightened competitiveness, warehouse efficiency is paramount. A smooth-running warehouse translates to faster order fulfillment, lower costs, and happier customers.

But with daily operations demanding your constant attention, warehouse building maintenance can easily fall by the wayside.

This can be a costly oversight. Without proper maintenance, minor issues can lead into major problems, leading to:

  • Disruptions in workflow: Equipment breakdowns and repairs can significantly slow down your operations, delaying shipments and frustrating customers.

    For example, many times our team has responded to numerous calls for assistance with overhead doors that won’t close. The culprit? Often, it’s a faulty cable that has either slipped out of its drum or torn.

    Quarterly building inspections and repairs could prevent this from happening. At closing hours, it is a frustration to the warehouse.
  • Safety hazards:Unchecked wear and tear can create safety hazards for your employees, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Cracked walls, uneven floors, or malfunctioning dock levelers can all pose serious threats.

    Cracked walls could be a sign of major structural issues.

    Uneven floors pose danger to merchandise, to people nearby a passing forklift, and to forklift operators if they drop the merchandise. A serious accident could happen.

    With dock levelers, we have knowledge of cases where they come loose with forklift drivers boarding merchandise and falling 4 ft to the ground.
Warehouse Building Maintenance - Safety Hazard Cracked Floors
  • Increased costs: Ignoring maintenance needs can lead to expensive repairs or even premature equipment failure, requiring costly replacements. Issues worsen when ignored for too long. Not only that, but they also accumulate. Now, it is more of a project than a simple repair. What this could mean, depending on warehouse operations, is not being able to use warehouse installations in full capacity. Not only does this cause high upfront costs, but it also disrupts operations, leading to double or triple the cost compared to prompt repairs by warehouses. And let’s not ignored the effort it takes to get back to normal.

If you’re unsure about warehouse building maintenance or haven’t yet developed a plan, this blog post is for you. We’ll answer your key questions, explore the different types of maintenance services available, and guide you through choosing the right company for your needs.

The Power of Proactive Maintenance

Think of your warehouse as a complex machine. Every component, from the roof to the intricate dock levelers, plays a vital role. Regular maintenance ensures everything functions smoothly and prevents minor issues from becoming major headaches. Here’s how proactive maintenance benefits your warehouse:

  • Improved Performance: Regular maintenance keeps your equipment running efficiently, minimizing downtime and delays. A well-maintained warehouse allows for smooth product flow and faster order fulfillment, keeping your customers satisfied. Well-maintained facilities contribute to constant employer morale, as working in deteriorated facilities is not pleasing.
  • Reduced Costs: Catching minor problems early on saves you money in the long run. Early intervention prevents them from escalating into expensive repairs or replacements down the road. Let’s not forget the effort that is made to plan and work around repairs in your daily operations.
  • Enhanced Safety: A safe working environment is critical. Regular maintenance identifies and addresses potential safety hazards before they can cause accidents and injuries to your employees. Proactive maintenance gives you peace of mind, knowing your warehouse is a safe environment for your team.
  • Extended Building Lifespan: Proper care extends the lifespan of your warehouse and its components. This translates to significant cost savings over time as you avoid the need for premature replacements. The major benefit being a warehouse lasting for decades with proper care, eliminating the financial burden of a complete rebuild because of neglected maintenance.

Beyond Reactive Maintenance: A Spectrum of Services

There are three major categories of warehouse building maintenance services, each serving a distinct purpose:

  • Preventive Maintenance (Planned): This proactive approach focuses on preventing problems before they occur. It includes routine inspections, equipment lubrication, inspecting the building for structural problems, and checking all building systems. Adopting this strategy ensures everything is in top condition and identifying any potential issues before they become serious.
  • Reactive Maintenance (Fix-It-When-It-Breaks): This is the more traditional “fix it when it breaks” approach. While reactive maintenance can address immediate issues, it doesn’t prevent future problems and can lead to higher costs in the long run. Let’s take, for example, a dock leveler coming loose. Although you can hire a company to reweld it, that may not be the issue with it. The leveler may be nearing its end, so it’s wise to consider replacing it for long-term savings.
  • Predictive Maintenance: This cutting-edge approach uses technology to monitor equipment performance and predict potential failures. Sensors and data analysis can identify subtle changes that indicate potential problems, allowing for targeted maintenance before they arise. The initial extra cost for installing this technology is the only downside, but it will pay off in the long run.

Tailoring a Maintenance Plan to Your Needs

A one-size-fits-all approach to warehouse maintenance doesn’t work. Every warehouse has unique needs based on factors like size, age, and the type of products stored. Some services that can be part of a custom maintenance plan are:

  • Facility Assessment and Inspection Services: A thorough inspection by a qualified professional identifies potential problems and areas for improvement. A qualified professional carries this process out to maintain the integrity of the building and its operational systems.
  • Energy Efficiency Audits and Solutions: Energy-efficient warehouses can save on operational costs. An audit can help identify areas for improvement, such as lighting, insulation, or HVAC systems. For new warehouses, this shouldn’t be a concern, as designers should have considered energy efficiency during the planning process. But for warehouses with 20+ years old, this approach could potentially impact their bottom line.
  • Technology Upgrades for Efficiency Gains: Implementing modern technology and automation can improve efficiency and reduce maintenance needs in the long run. This technology upgrade can include from restroom plumbing fixtures sensors and lighting fixtures with sensors to roof systems with insulation.
  • Staff Training and Skill Development Programs: Well-trained staff can help identify maintenance issues early and perform basic maintenance tasks, reducing the need for external services.
  • Documentation and Record-Keeping Services: Maintaining detailed records of maintenance activities can help track equipment performance and systems over time. This could be the difference between repairing or replacing equipment.
  • Budgeting and Cost Estimation Services: Understanding the costs associated with maintenance can help you plan and budget effectively. If you are outsourcing repair services, it is good practice to keep a record of previous services to have a benchmark of what is costing over time to service your building. Also, having several estimates from reliable companies for a given service is a must to make the best decision. Avoid going for the lowest price, since what you want is to have reliable contractors for the long run.
  • Facility Renovation and Modernization Services: Updating and modernizing your facility can improve its overall functionality and reduce maintenance needs. This helps from a building standpoint and all its value keeping properties, but also it is more beneficial to keep employees productive and align to company culture. This alone should be your main reason you are doing renovation and modernization projects as opposed to how much it’s going to cost. Yes, cost plays an important role when deciding on projects of this size, but it’s more important to have modern installations to keep employees and customers loyal to your company.

How to choose a warehouse building maintenance company

When selecting a warehouse building maintenance company, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Assessing Your Maintenance Needs

Identifying specific maintenance requirements for your warehouse, such as the type of equipment and systems that need maintenance and determining the frequency of maintenance services needed. This should include knowing exactly what type of materials you want serviced or repaired, as opposed to just leaving it to the discretion of others. By doing this, you would be saving money in the long run by installing what is best needed for your building. If you need new light fixtures, then doing research into which light fixtures fit your budget and desired features is just what needs to be done. If you leave this to others, they may not prioritize your best interest and choose the most cost-effective option.

A good example would be LED lights that, by definition, should save you on electricity when compared to fluorescent lighting. But if you neglect to install motion sensors with these lights in low-trafficked areas, then you will have limited savings. 

Researching Potential Companies

Searching for warehouse building maintenance companies that have experience in your industry and reviewing their backgrounds, experience, and reputation pays to your overall goals. Seat down with a couple of them and ask what their resources are and what their time of completion looks like. Decide who fits better to your personality and goals. Don’t just hire for best prices, hire for long-term benefits.

Questions to ask potential warehouse building maintenance companies.

When evaluating potential maintenance companies, consider asking the following questions:

Expertise and Qualifications

Inquire about the company’s experience with brands and types of equipment relevant to your warehouse. Furthermore, inquire about their experience with projects of varying scales, both large and small.

Inquire if they have insurance coverage. Although you can provide insurance for them, a company that carries their own insurance is usually more reliable. With reliability comes planning and execution, so fewer headaches.

Finally, inquire about the payment terms. Good payment terms are 15 days net after job completion. This gives you enough time to identify faulty installations and also avoids facility maintenance companies from overpricing you and keeps facility maintenance companies with constant cash flow, which, in turn, keeps them motivated to keep you as a customer.  

Pricing and Contracts

It is convenient for warehouses to establish contracts with facility maintenance companies, not only for operating procedures but also for pricing. There are natural price increases every year on everything and what better way to protect your warehouse than to have pre-established pricing.

Although pricing is and should differ from service to service, service providers can pre-establish pricing under contract. This is especially true for routine maintenance and inspections. It is more difficult to establish pricing for emergency repairs, but nonetheless, something could be worked out. Established companies will have an edge due to their experience.  

Communication and Responsiveness

Communication is essential for warehouse building maintenance services. From whom to contact for a specific service to how a facility maintenance company responds to your requests.

Ask how they communicate. Ask if they have software that would centralize all communications and keep records of repairs and replacements. The best companies have software that just adds you as an owner to their software platform and then you can track all your requests.

The next best thing is to keep all communications by email. This ensures you have all communications and issues on your server for future reference.

Always avoid hiring individuals or companies who do not provide proof of their work, as well as minor exchange or pictures and emails. They’ll keep you guessing their performance and many times it could turn out disastrous even after your agreed payment period.

Dock Leveler Maintenance

If your warehouse uses dock levelers, inquire about the company’s experience and expertise in maintaining and repairing these critical components.

By considering these factors and asking the right questions, you can find a warehouse building maintenance company that meets your specific needs and helps keep your facility in optimal condition.

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