Unless you are a neat freak, keeping everything clean and organized is a daily hassle. When working on the road, you can save yourself headaches by following a few organizational best practices.Here’s some insight into the three biggest problems your mobile workers face on the road.
Avoid these 3 Major Problems with Fleet Organization
There are many problems that stem from unorganized and messy work vehicles. The list could go on and on. Let’s start with the biggest problem first and discover why these pain points kill productivity and efficiency.
Space ConstraintsYou may be asking yourself why space is your biggest problem. It’s really quite simple. If you don’t have space on your work trucks, you’re probably leaving something very important behind.
Workers have equipment that they need every day, at the ready, to get their jobs done. These are the items that must make it to the jobsite every day. Whether it’s building, repair work, welding, laying pipes, mining, drilling or maintenance work—the tools of their trade are number one.
What about the safety and environmental equipment they need? Is there room to store PPE like hard hats, gloves, fall protection or flame-resistant clothing? Do they have quick access to life-saving first aid supplies? Do workers have materials to handle sudden oil or fuel leaks or spills?
Or, have these items been left behind at the warehouse or storage facility because they take up too much room?
Messy WorkspaceThe second biggest problem is that no one wants to work in a messy space. It’s not good for productivity. And it’s not good for morale.
Employees that work in mobile applications often spend more time with their co-workers than with their own families. Their days are made up of long hours, cramped quarters, inclement weather conditions and safety hazards. When workspaces are cluttered and dirty, work can become even more stressful. And, a stressed out employee does not equal a productive one.
Imagine how much happier and productive workers would be if their shared workspaces were more pleasing to work in?
That’s why it’s important to organize these on-the-go spaces. Create a standardized system that designates specific storage locations for equipment. Include time in the worker’s day for cleaning and maintaining their work vehicle to dispose of trash and unnecessary items.
Wasted TimeAnother big problem that comes from unorganized spaces is wasted time. When you think about the sheer number of tools and equipment on board, it shouldn’t be surprising that things can be lost or misplaced rather easily. When a worker has to spend time searching for a particular item, not only is it frustrating, it's killing production times.
Searching for lost tools and parts can be maddening. And, it’s one of those things that usually doesn’t happen at the best time. Is there ever really a good time?
Usually, when a worker realizes they’re missing a critical piece of equipment, they’re already pressed for time. Or, they’re miles away from the shop. Some would call it Murphy’s Law, others say it’s just another day in the field.
When you organize your fleet vehicles properly, your workers have the equipment they need to stay safe and do their job. No matter when. No matter where.
Maximize your Mobile Workspace with this Organizational Checklist
- Identify problem areas that could be slowing down production.
Talk to employees about the common issues they face every day. Are misplaced tools a pain point? Do they struggle with having enough room to store tools, equipment and supplies? Now that you’ve identified the problem, you can work towards the solution.
- Focus on high-importance tools, equipment and supplies.
Are tools that are used for high frequency tasks kept next to the work area? Is storage ergonomically friendly? Do emergency items get buried behind the clutter?
- Get rid of the junk!
If your biggest challenge is space, it’s time to declutter! Take a look at your vehicle and decide what can stay and what can go. If you aren’t sure about a specific item, just “red tag” it for later. You can decide if it’s essential and needs to be sorted or if it can be thrown away.
- It’s time to clean house!
Once all the clutter is removed, it’s time to clean. No matter if it’s your home or work, a dirty environment is a downer. Take the time to regularly clean the inside and outside of your work vehicle. A clean workspace allows you to spot areas or equipment that may be in need of repair or maintenance. Bonus—a clean space inspires a sense of pride and investment in your job.
- Organize your tools.
Designate specific areas for equipment, tools and supplies. Think about how your team uses them and how they should be stored. Items that are used for similar tasks should be housed in the same location. And, items that are seldom used can be stored back at the facility. Imagine the time that can be saved if workers can quickly find the tools they are looking for!
- Find hidden storage spaces such as under seats, behind seats or in seatbacks.
- Use cabinets to store expensive or delicate items.
- Use drawer inserts or bolt bins for loose hardware, replacement parts or small tools.
- Shadow boards are a great way to make sure tools can be easily located.
- Interior doors are also great real estate for racks or shelves.
- Create an SOP.
Do you have a standard operating procedure in place for organizing your trucks or fleet vehicles? Create documented processes that everyone knows and understands to minimize any miscommunication.
Because the nature of your work is often fast paced, visual cues like these are a handy way to quickly communicate processes.
- Make it part of your company culture.
Instead of thinking about cleaning and organization as yearly spring cleaning, make it a habit. Train workers, especially new hires on the organization processes you have established. Do regular inspections and reward involvement. Make it fun with games and prizes and involve the entire company from upper management to field techs.
In order to provide our customers with the best possible solutions, we continuously ask them about the challenges they face every day. Time and time again, they mention that keeping their trucks clean and organized is nearly impossible. Even the most neat and tidy person can struggle with this. It’s not an uncommon problem in any line of work, especially in mobile industries such as electrical, utilities and maintenance.
Think about everything that needs to be stored on your company trucks just so workers can perform their job. No matter what line of work you’re in, company vehicles are more than just transportation. It’s a portable workspace your employees rely on to house all the tools, equipment and parts they need every day.
Do your workers struggle to organize all the tools and equipment they need?
- Batteries and generators
- Cables, wires, hardware and parts
- Computers, laptops and tablets
- Hand tools and power tools
- Personal protective equipment
- First aid kits
- Oil spill cleanup and containment
Sometimes when we face challenges at work, the solutions are right under our noses. If you struggle with limited space, then you need to have an organization process in place. By following this simple checklist you will see reduced waste, increased productivity, happier employees and a safer work environment.
Have questions about finding the right spill control products to meet your needs? Just ask. Give us your crappiest job and we will help you find a better way.