Facility management is a multi-faceted field that relies on several parts coming together seamlessly. Building maintenance keeps the physical assets in good condition, capital forecasting and budgeting ensures that there's enough gas in the proverbial tank to keep the lights on, and record-keeping and inspections ensure administrators and facility managers all stay on the same page.
But there's another element of facility management that's just as important - storage. While people tend to adhere to the maxim "out of sight, out of mind," this shouldn't be the case when it comes to storage. Achieving an effective and efficient storage solution will help you lay the foundation for better facility operation at all levels further up the chain. Here are a few ways you can get the most out of your facility's storage solutions.
Have a plan
You wouldn't approach your maintenance operations or personnel issues spontaneously and without a plan, so why would you do the same for your storage solutions? It's tempting to treat storing unused or overstocked items as an afterthought, with storage rooms and closets quickly turning into inventory graveyards. But not having a proactive storage strategy can quickly lead to lost productivity and inefficient inventory management, which costs you money.
FacilitiesNet further highlighted the importance of this strategic planning process. The first thing that will affect your storage plan is the type of facility you operate, and what sorts of items and equipment need to be taken into account. For example, the source pointed out that manufacturing plants typically have small mechanical parts that need storing, and can plan around modular bins. Athletic facilities, in contrast, require more large-scale solutions to accommodate bulky sporting equipment, while office complexes have documents and other similar assets to account for. Assess your facility's size and purpose, and that will be immensely helpful in panning the rest of your strategy.
Keep it agile
As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change, and your storage solution should be developed with this in mind. Agility and flexibility are two qualities that you'll want to incorporate into your strategy to be prepared for moves or other unforeseen changes. Athletic Business noted that filing cabinets, for example, are a popular solution for storing documents, but their rolling cousins should be prioritized since the wheels make them easier to move than their bulkier stationary counterparts.
Shelving, another essential component of storage, can also take this agility into account. Built-in shelving units and cubbies can be useful for saving space, but may create serious problems when it comes time to move or reorganize. Instead, modular shelving units offer the flexibility to adapt to any changes that may arise.
Secure what's important
Storage is about more than just stashing unused items out of the way - it's also an important part of your building's safety and security. This focus on security is twofold. First, many facilities have a need to store sensitive information, expensive equipment or other proprietary assets. Just like you wouldn't park a Ferrari on the street with the keys in it or leave your bike in your front yard, you want to avoid similarly careless practices in your facility. Access control can be a key component in storing essential equipment. Even better, many CMMS and building automation systems can incorporate electronic locks directly into the system, making it possible to track any access to secured areas.
Just as important as keeping unauthorized personnel out is keeping potentially hazardous materials or equipment in. Chemical cleaning agents, boilers, dangerous tools and a variety of other assets that should all be handled with care need to be stored with an eye to safety.