UK business’ often see a summer shutdown as just a period where trading momentum falters and lost revenue occurs. Whilst not wanting to debate that issue, we would like to highlight some obvious benefits that can be derived with some careful advanced planning. Companies who put in place an effective use of their shutdown periods are preparing the ground for better future trading and measures that are designed as a sensible cost saving process. There are a whole host of activities that can take place by scheduling tasks that would otherwise disrupt the company’s work time. There is no better time to carry out this work than when there are no staff around or production activities in operation to impede the tasks in question.
Benefits that can be achieved by using this period wisely:
Repair and servicing of materials handling equipment
will prove to be a major cost saving exercise. Whether it be pallet trucks, stackers, scissor lifts, trucks/trolleys or warehouse steps. Basically any equipment that is used to complete the production and despatch process must be kept in good running order, otherwise unnecessary downtime in normal trading periods could become a costly error.
Health and safety checks
This should include the inspection of all plant and equipment, updating of emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, spill control kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), new signage, site barriers, safety matting and hazardous safety storage facilities. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers some good advice with the provision of industry checklists
that will help you to comply with the law.
We often find that businesses routinely clean their office spaces, but the other areas of the company can sometimes be overlooked: production areas, assembly lines, goods inwards/outwards, warehouses and storage areas. Component goods entering the building need to be kept in the cleanest condition possible for the final goods that are despatched to your customer to also be presented in absolute mint condition. This can only be achieved if all areas of the business are regularly cleaned. The shutdown period can be used to intensely clean the areas that might have been overlooked during normal working practises.
Increasing or better organising storage areas
This will provide a cost saving to your business. Space is money and if by adding to or re-organising shelving, racking or mezzanine floor facilities then you provide the most cost-effective way of utilising your floor space. This can often ‘free up’ areas that can then be used for other company activities. It is a worthwhile exercise to regularly review alternative or new storage equipment
that can help you to achieve the optimum storage capacity required.
Improving work areas
Those that suffer in either bad weather conditions or conversely in hot summer periods will often turn out to have long-term money saving benefits if you improve them. For instance, heat loss can be a problem that can easily be overcome with the installation of some simple PVC strip curtains
and better ventilation or temperature control will provide your employees with a safer and ultimately more productive environment to work in.
Should always be regularly checked and reviewed. The shutdown period gives you the best time to initiate safety checks of your ladders, platform steps, podiums, work platforms and scaffold towers
. Do they need replacement in order to prevent a potential injury to employees or can the supply of more suitable equipment provide a benefit? If your staff struggle to perform tasks through poorly suited equipment then this will impact on productivity rates, morale and ultimately profitability.
The month of June is the time to plan, purchase and schedule all the required activities that can take place during your shutdown period. So don’t leave matters until the last minute and then find that you have wasted a great opportunity!