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Boost Mechanic Shop Productivity with a Spring Deep Clean

clean your mechanic working area

Now that spring is approaching, let’s reflect a little on the past several months. It was cold. Dark. Icy. And more than a little worrisome for your businesses. The fact is, we’ve all been learning the hard way the impact COVID-19 has been having on our businesses. That means staying profitable, without making major investments, has probably never been so important … or challenging.

The good news: one of the fastest (and generally most cost-effective) ways to do so is by boosting your workplace productivity with a thorough spring cleaning.

Clean Workspaces Pay Huge Dividends

Mechanical repair shops, bodywork facilities, machine shops, fleet garages and more can all benefit from a good spring cleaning regimen. Consider what’s to be gained:

Increased Productivity

Maintaining a tidy, uncluttered environment makes it easy for employees to quickly find supplies and equipment, which directly increases productivity. When employees know that management is dedicating time and resources to keeping the workplace safe, clean, and efficient, it automatically evokes a sense of pride and motivation to perform their work meticulously. In addition, studies show that cluttered and untidy environments are distracting. Since distraction in the workplace can cost your business valuable man-hours, it’s definitely something you want to avoid.

Enhanced Worker Safety

Disorganization and clutter can lead directly to injuries. Neat floor spaces reduce the danger of slipping and tripping, giving workers a clear path to safety in case of an emergency evacuation. According to estimates from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), there may be as many as 650,000 hazardous chemical products at work in the United States. Following safe storage procedures and maintaining accurate Safety Data Sheets (link to “Chemical Safety In the Workplace post) for flammables and/or explosive chemicals helps keep workers and the workplace free of chemical-related accidents.

Higher Accuracy of Inventory Levels

Well-organized workspaces provide more precise inventory levels, allowing your company to:

●     Streamline inventory orders

●     Lower holding costs of inventory

●     Reduce chances of overstocking or stock outs

●     Monitor shelf-life of products

●     Better manage write-offs

Spring’s Deep Cleaning
While daily shop cleanings will remove the most obvious dirt and debris, they aren’t always sufficient in the total removal of buildup from lubricants, antifreeze, brake and power-steering fluids, and other chemicals you’ve used throughout the winter. A Spring Deep Cleaning through the entire shop -- floors, walls, windows, restrooms, office space, shelves, storage lockers, the works -- will produce the desired results.

Cleanliness 24/7/365
One thing to keep in mind is that cleanliness is an ongoing concern. Once your Spring Deep Clean has been completed, make plans to keep your shop’s cleanliness, organization, safety and image remains intact.

1. Plan daily floor maintenance. Shop floor cleanliness is increasingly important as many technicians take customers into the service area to discuss their vehicle’s condition. To keep floors in the service area clean, develop daily floor cleaning protocols to remove any debris accumulated throughout the day. Create cleaning schedules based on peak business times and train employees in proper techniques. Maintain cleanliness by stocking important supplies such as oil containment products to handle unsightly and dangerous spills.

2. Provide effective cleaning tools. Chemical dispensing units guarantee that solutions are mixed correctly each time to boost effectiveness of cleaning programs and employee safety. These units also save time by eliminating manual mixing and providing quick access to properly diluted chemicals. Microfiber mops and dual chamber mopping buckets reduce the spread of contaminants from the service area to customer facilities.

3. Implement matting systems. Mats capture shop lubricants and fluids and prevent their spread into customer areas. Combine scraper and carpet mats at all entrances to prevent the spread of debris throughout the shop. Place anti-fatigue mats in high-productivity zones to catch any spills and reduce worker injury. In addition to placement, make sure that mats remain clean and functional by partnering with a professional mat laundering service.

4. Improve employee appearance. Ensure that personnel look and feel their best by implementing a uniform program. Partner with an apparel rental service to make sure that employees consistently greet customers with a freshly laundered uniform. Provide scratch less belts to ensure that customer vehicles stay in top condition while employees execute services. Promote the shop’s image with uniforms that display company logos and employee names to personalize the guest experience and boost employee morale.

5. Promote clean hands. Since technicians are constantly working with harsh oils and liquids, ensure they are greeting customers with clean hands. Provide hand washing stations supplied with heavy-duty soaps to cut harsh grease and oil. Make sure that clean towels are readily available. Additionally, provide protective gloves for employees performing more intensive services.

6. Provide clean towels. Prevent the accumulation of unsightly soiled shop towels throughout the shop by partnering with a laundry service provider. Service providers will deliver laundered shop towels based on individual shop needs.

7. Provide a safe parts washer. Refrain from using solvent-based parts cleaners as inhalation can cause nervous system damage, lung injury and death. To keep employees safe, make sure that the washer uses bio-based and pH-neutral cleaning solutions to reduce hazards and improve indoor air quality throughout the shop.

8. Maintain waiting areas. As a customer’s first impression, this space should always remain in top condition. Develop daily cleaning schedules to disinfect and sanitize all hard surfaces including chairs, tables and floors.

9. Focus on restrooms. Whether the shop has customer-only restrooms or shared facilities, restrooms should always be pristine. Ensure that restrooms have a continuous supply of the essentials including soap, paper towels and toilet paper. At least once a day, all restroom surfaces should be sanitized and disinfected.

10. Above all, let employees know that everyone, not just those with a “housekeeping” title, are responsible for workplace  cleanliness upkeep. Some tasks are daily, others are periodic, but good housekeeping is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done task.  Make it easy by providing brooms, bushes, vacuums and other cleaning materials. A checklist will help employees keep track of what needs to be done.

Inventory Double-Check
Spring Deep Cleaning is also a great time to perform an inventory audit of the supplies you use to get the job done, especially the small things you may overlook such as stock of most-used fasteners.

Need ideas on where to start your own Spring Deep Cleaning?

Contact your Dedicated Account Advisor at Imperial Supplies. We’ll help you get a handle on your efforts to clean and organize before the busy summer months hit. We’re ready to help at a moment's notice.

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