Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Nowhere is this adage truer than when it comes to preparing your warehouse for the coming winter months.
Last year we saw record cold temps and snowfall totals across much of the US. This year, the south is predicted to be colder and wetter than normal, which could spell disaster during one of the busiest fulfillment and shipping seasons.
Take heed of the following winterization preventatives to insulate your warehouse from downtime this season.
Get Started Early
In reality, preventative maintenance is a year-round job and should follow a building maintenance schedule. However, companies that want to be on schedule need to get ahead of the cooler weather and start their prescribed winterization techniques in late summer. The heaviest and most involved winterization, like those on the north side of the building, are best accomplished between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the weather turns and while folks are taking advantage of late-season holidays.
Temperature sensitive glass and window frames have to bear the elemental extremes all year long. In the wake of these excessive highs and lows, windows and their exteriors could be more vulnerable during colder months.
Start by inspecting and addressing water penetration or water migration via the window frames. And make sure you do so before the season changes, since you can’t properly correct the issue once the moisture freezes.
An inexpensive solution is to invest in caulking to seal and use liberally on exterior areas, then give windows one last good washing of the year before temps dip.
If this winter is anything like the last, you’ll likely be working your heater overtime. Do yourself a favor and concentrate on making sure the heating plant has been overhauled, cleaned, and checked for leaks. Addressing them in warm or milder temps will keep your staff from being, literally, left out in the cold.
Take this time to also change furnace filters, check oil bearings on pumps and motors, and identify that the blower belt and blower doors are working properly. All vents and exhaust flutes should be cleaned and cleared of obstructions like foliage.
Roofs and Water Tanks
With the threat of possible ice and snow buildup, roof winterization is essential. Start by making sure your roofing structure is insulted with an ultraviolet roof coating of silver and petroleum-based product to create a solid barrier against ice and snow.
Double check to make sure all the seals on your water tank are tight and sans leaks. Also make sure it’s properly insulated unless you want to potentially deal with a frozen water supply or busted pipes.
Encourage staff to immediately report any damage, leaks, or significant cracks they come across in the warehouse. That way, maintenance can address them before they become costly repairs.
Keeping your staff safe and injury-free is the best way to ensure your warehouse can keep up with the influx of orders that trail in during the holiday season. For this reason, it’s best to prepare in advance when attempting to keep icy walkways clear. Don’t wait until the stores run out of salt to get started! Invest in deicers that slightly increase the surface temperature to help keep snow from sticking to the ground and getting impacted as it’s walked over.
Electricity & Technology Safeguards
Don’t let an unexpected power outage thwart your fulfillment efforts or sequester you from valuable customer or vendor data. Double check to make sure that all your data is backed-up onsite or in a cloud service. It’s always best to check and make sure this back-up system is fully operational before any inclement weather hits. If you have the budget to invest in backup generators we highly recommend it.
Make this the most wonderful, and productive, time of the year by ensuring these few essential winterization efforts are completed within your warehouse.