After a long winter, summer is finally here!
However, after dealing with the extreme cold of a harsh winter, it is now time to prepare for rising temperatures.
It is extremely important that warehouse managers prepare for the summer weather because high heats can cause lots of problems for a warehouse.
The heat can damage, possibly destroy, inventory. Damaged stock can lead to unsatisfied customers, whether it is because their product isn’t in top condition or if it is because your inventory isn’t accurate anymore, causing a delay in delivery.
The summer heat can also be a threat to your employees, your warehouse supplies, and your electricity bill.
Here are some ways you can beat the heat this summer to keep your warehouse running smoothly.
1. Install Screen Doors
The first thing Smith Corona did to prepare their warehouse for the summer heat was the installation of metal screen doors. We wanted a way to increase the airflow in the warehouse and wanted to allow nice breezes to come in. Screen doors are a lot better than just leaving a door open.
Screen doors will prevent random people from walking into the warehouse, therefore, keeping your employees safe. The screen doors will also prevent any birds or bugs from getting in. No one likes dead insects on their products.
Having metal screen doors has shown improvement in the temperature of our warehouse and are just one of the few things that can be done to keep the temperature down.
2. Keep Your Warehouse Cool
Keeping an office space cool and keeping a warehouse cool are very different. There is a lot more space for heat to come in and for cool air to escape.
It is also essential to make sure that your warehouse is adequately insulated. Not only is this an advantage to keep cold air in, but it also helps to keep cold air out during the winter.
Once you are confident that your warehouse is adequately insulated, you can start looking at airflow without worrying about wasting energy and money.
An air conditioning unit doesn’t always do the trick, especially in a large warehouse where air flow is limited. If air conditioning isn’t cutting it, ceiling fans can help with the air flow. However, the higher your warehouse ceiling is, the less effective the fans will be.
If you have large ceilings, you can consider using fans with high volume and low speed. These fans will increase ventilation and can cover up to 20,000 square feet with a 24-inch fan.
SkyBlade fans cover from 11,300 square feet to 45,000 square feet and have an operating cost of about a dollar a day. Their fans also help during the winter by minimizing the temperature in the room and mixing the air.
Another solution can be industrial fans for areas that aren’t getting any cold air. This includes areas with lots of workers or machines.
Industrial fans from Northern Tool and Equipment can keep your warehouse cool without all the noise due to their belt-drive motors and low vibration levels. They also have rubber wheels so you can easily transport the fan to areas of the warehouse that need the most attention.
Take a look at the machinery in your warehouse. Running machines all day long can increase the temperature, so keep things efficient and only have machines running when they need to be running.
3. Keep Up with Cold Storage
Keeping your warehouse nice and cool is especially vital for companies who need the cold to keep their products fresh, like if they are dealing with food.
If you experience a power outage in the summer, your product could go bad very quickly. Make sure to have some backup generators to protect the refrigeration of your products.
You also must keep track of your industrial freezers and make sure that they are running properly and have had any maintenance problems taken care of. That way you can have your freezer running at full power throughout the entire summer.
It also isn’t a bad idea to get an alarm system for your cold storage units. If something does go wrong and your temperatures start to drop too low, you’re going to want to be on top of it and know that there is a problem as soon as it happens. In case of a temperature drop, you will have about four hours to restore your food to the proper temperature.
Another important aspect is to keep your cold storage away from any poorly insulated parts of your building. This includes entrances and exits to the warehouse so your products can be exposed to as little heat as possible.
Watch for how often doors are opened to enter and exit the warehouse. Doing this will keep your fridges and products cool and easier to keep cool so you can save money.
4. Examine Your Warehouse Supplies
Not all warehouse supplies are made to endure the heat of the summer. If your warehouse gets extreme heat in these summer months, it is essential that you choose the supplies that match your environment. One great example of that is your thermal labels.
It is important to choose the right labels while preparing for the summer heat. Not all labels are the same, and extreme temperatures can lead to label damage. Higher temperatures can cause labels and barcodes to shrink, peel, crack and become distorted.
Thermal transfer labels can be a good solution for lasting labels that will be durable in the heat.
The face sheet of a label is a coating applied to protect the label from damage. There can be many different face sheets to use with thermal transfer labels that will help with the heat.
Polypropylene is a thick plastic that can withstand temperatures up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Polyester is a thin face sheet that can protect labels against chemicals and solvents while withstanding temperatures from 270 – 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Polyimide is an industrial label that can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and are a high resistance tool for a variety of chemicals.
Another solution could be a top-coated direct thermal label. This will be most resistant to scratches, temperature, light, and chemical which will make the label last for a longer period of time.
5. Keep your Employees Happy and Healthy
Heat isn’t only a problem for customers and inventory, but it can also result in unhappy employees. No one likes to work in the heat and employees will be less motivated to do their best work. A cool warehouse will help keep morale high.
A happy worker is a productive worker. It can be hard to keep a warehouse at a comfortable temperature, so it is crucial that your employees are not only happy on a hot day but healthy as well.
Heat exhaustion is common in the summer and can be caused by high temperatures or humidity, heat sources like heavy machinery, or physical activity. It can lead to employees being unable to work, which will not only hurt the employee, but it will also slow down productivity.
Heat exhaustion can cause a decrease in awareness and performance and can even lead to fainting, which can be extremely dangerous in a warehouse environment. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include red skin, high fevers, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.
To avoid heat exhaustion, make sure employees are properly hydrated and have enough breaks throughout the day to cool down if necessary. Educate your employees on heat exhaustion and tips to avoid it, like wearing light-colored and comfortable clothing and staying hydrated.
6. Maintain Proper Inventory Control
Proper inventory control is always essential to any warehouse, but it is especially important in the summer.
The fewer items in your inventory, the fewer things you have to keep cool. In the end, it is better to have a higher electricity bill than it is to have to replace bundles of damaged inventory.
To avoid this, make sure your inventory is in top shape and doesn’t have a lot of excess stock that isn’t needed. Keep buffer stock to guard against shortages, but make sure it is at a minimum.
The summer may call for a new warehouse layout depending on which parts of the facility have the best airflow. You don’t want to place any inventory near hot machinery to increase the temperature of the stock more. You also want to avoid putting heat-emitting equipment in proximity to each other.
7. Utilize Dehumidifiers
High humidity levels in a warehouse can make it feel hotter than it really is. Using dehumidifiers to take the moisture out of the air can have a cooling effect on the facility.
Combined with air conditioning, dehumidifiers can fight the heat with better cost efficiency.
8. Keep Doors and Gates Closed
Even with proper insulation, cold air can still find a way to escape. Exits and dock doors can become a problem when left open for long periods of time, mainly when they don’t need to be left open.
To combat this, strip doors or curtains can keep some of the air from escaping and prevent hot air from coming inside.
You can also utilize curtains and strip doors for hotter areas of the warehouse, like where heavy machinery is operating. These tools allow for easy access to rooms and won’t interfere with the productivity of the warehouse.
9. Replace Your Roof
A long-term option to keeping your warehouse cool is to think about what type of roof you have. Roof materials can get as high as 190-degree Fahrenheit, and that temperature will transfer into the warehouse.
A cool roof can stay cooler in the summer, therefore, reducing AC and energy costs. A light colored and reflective roof will be your best option if you want as little heat as possible to get through the roof. It may seem pricey now but can save your company a lot of money in the long run.
10. Think Outside the Warehouse
There are a lot of things you can do on the inside to keep your warehouse cool and depending on your facilities you may be able to improve conditions from the outside.
Trees are a great way to shade your warehouse and prevent the exterior from getting too hot. In return, less hot air gets into the building. Plant trees strategically so that hotter parts of your building are in the shade.
While considering which trees to plant, it is important to think about the winter as well. You will want a tree that drops leaves in the winter so when you are trying to keep your warehouse warm you can have as much sunlight as possible.