Cross your fingers all you like, but coming off the back of two blisteringly cold, overwhelmingly snowy winters, you might be alone in your hopes for a mild start to 2016. Some had it worse than others, but even the hardy denizens of Michigan and the Midwest were ready to cry uncle when the mercury froze in place for weeks on end. We didn't forget how to have fun in the cold. We were just sick and tired of the havoc it wreaked on our infrastructure, closing roads, cutting power, freezing engines, and damaging our property. There isn't a warehouse manager out there who isn't afraid of the toll another winter could take on operations. With the right amount of preparation, however, it is possible to get through a bad winter largely unscathed.
Warm your warehouse
If temperatures are expected to take a dip again this year, energy conservation is a big priority. Your warehouse's dock doors are the biggest areas of concern. Constantly opening and closing them to accommodate the flow of goods means they are the easiest way to lose heat. Do a thorough inspection of your doors before the air turns cold. Look for cracks and crumbling sealant. See if light gets through when they're closed, and plug up what you find. Consider installing air curtains or high speed doors to reduce heat loss. Lastly, inspect your doors' electronics and make sure the tracks are well lubricated to prevent equipment failures in a blizzard.
Look for leaks
Next up is a roof inspection. Check inside and out for leaks, stains, and cracks. If your warehouse has a flat roof, find where water pools and make plans to drain it effectively. Pay special attention to flashing near vents and other openings where water could seep in. Clear your gutters and downspouts to prevent clogging and water buildup. Once you've done the roof, look for cracks in your walls and foundation. Insulate yourself from the outside as best as you can.
Dodge data loss
The next step may require a trip to IT. While physical maintenance is being done, make sure your computer and other electronic equipment are protected from the ravages of winter. With the amount of paperwork stored in cyberspace now, you risk losing a whole lot of important data and even having to replace expensive hardware if your power conks out unexpectedly. Mitigate your risk by having emergency backups in place. Use surge protectors to prevent sensitive equipment from getting zapped during power ups. Install uninterruptible power supplies (UPS's) to reduce downtime, protect files, and maintain productivity. This all leads into the greatest IT rule of all time. Always, always back up your files. Even consider using a cloud storage service to ensure that data is being stored in a secure location offsite.
Use common sense
These are just a few of the worries you need to address in your warehouse or distribution center, but they rank among the most important. Maintenance managers who grew up shoveling their parents' driveways already know what winter can bring, and many of the things you need to watch out for are the same things you worry about happening to your own home. If you want more tips about protecting your warehouse from winter, or are looking for dock equipment and other winter warehouse supplies, contact the experts at Speedrack Midwest online or by calling 616-887-8886. We know warehouses, and boy do we know winter. We're happy to help you on both fronts.