Storage - 13 Steps for Highly Effective Storage

PROGRAM OPERATIONS Storage – 13 Steps for Highly Effective Storage

Some of the information in this article was excerpted from the PIOC Webinar on Storage, hosted by Carolyn Phillips on May 20, 2008. The complete transcript is available under “Webinars” on the Pass It On Center website.

1. Think safety first! – for the workers Consider ergonomics and design with those principles in mind. Equipment should be within easy reach and the task fitted to the “picker” instead of making the picker adapt to an inadequately designed storage area. The following resources are useful for designing with worker safety in mind. See the Resource Links for easy access to the websites.

OSHA's website contains excellent resources, including analytical tools, case studies and operating guidelines. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website contains information and a downloadable version of the institute's Elements of Ergonomics Programs. Stone Wheel Works provides free, downloadable ergonomics-analysis tools that can help quantify and abate risk. Washington State's Department of Labor and Industry includes helpful advice and case studies on its website.

2. Think safety first! – for the consumer Triage the equipment as it arrives and keep it segregated appropriately as it moves through the workflow. Don’t mix sanitized equipment with dirty equipment. 3. Think safety first! – when handling chemicals and flammable materials Properly dispose of any flammable materials such as batteries and soiled, oily rags. Also, be sure to keep potentially harmful chemicals in their original containers with labels and instructions intact. Be sure that the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are current, complete and easily accessible. Have hand and eyewash stations readily accessible. 4. Consider accessibility Can people move around the storage area? Are signs and/or pictures used for ease of communication? Is the storage area labeled clearly to make everyone aware of the equipment, tools, parts and supply locations? 5. Consider the temperature and humidity. Are there significant highs and lows, or extreme variations in temperatire? What is the potential climatic impact on workers and on stored items? Is humidity a potential problem? (High humidity fosters mold and mildew growth, which poses a threat to the equipment and to worker health.) 6. Plan for the future. Hold a "clear out" day twice a year during which the storage area is de-cluttered and unneeded items are sold or given away. Restore the area to the planned organization. Anticipate future storage needs by leaving some empty space. Also, consider storage possibilities whenever any piece of furniture or equipment is purchased or added. 7. Observe, measure, and document the current storage area. Take a fresh look at the storage area. Find out where people and machines sit idle as they wait to access pick slots or storage locations. Document changes that need to be made to the workflow. 8. Analyze the AT reuse data. Profile inventory and shipment data to identify fast-moving and slow-moving reused equipment. 9. Ask for input from staff and develop recommendations to improve storage policies and procedures. Include quick fixes and short-term and long-term solutions. Determine space, labor, equipment, and cost requirements for each recommendation. 10. Evaluate the options. Base evaluations on safety, costs, ease of implementation and ease of operation. Prioritize storage by placing often-used items in the most convenient locations. Many layout-based storage solutions pay for themselves in less than a year. 11. Select and verify the best design Identify weaknesses and test "what-if" scenarios. 12. Implement the design Plan a phased-in approach to ensure minimal disruption to current operations. 13. Evaluate and Evolve Be proactive in storage solutions. Grow with the program.


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This work is supported under a five-year cooperative agreement # H235V060016 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and is administered by the Pass It On Center of the Georgia Department of Labor – Tools for Life.  However, the contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the Department of Education, or the Georgia Department of Labor, and you should not assume endorsements of this document by the Federal government or the Georgia Department of Labor.


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Title: Storage - 13 Steps for Highly Effective Storage
Module: Program Operations
Author: Carolyn Phillips
Audience: Administrator
Sub Title:
Organization Source: Pass It On Center
Last Reviewed: 10-25-2009 4:57 PM