Written by Jack Rubinger
Global companies like Nike, Kraft and Land’s End and your neighborhood grocery store all have at least one thing in common – managing inventory and distribution efficiently. There isn’t a company in the world that couldn’t benefit from better organization and workflow.
While coordinating a multi-acre distribution center’s traffic may dwarf managing a small storage area – the problem remains that as inventory grows and overflows, delivery slows. And when product is sitting in a warehouse, no one is making any money. And that’s a huge problem.
But when forklift drivers are blocked and aren’t sure which way to go, companies look for ways to direct traffic and the safe flow of goods.
One solution is floor marking tape which is cost-effective, highly visible and withstands the abuse of warehouse traffic.
Free Floor Marking Best Practices Guide
Improve safety and efficiency in the warehouse with floor marking.
Warehouse floor marking creates better organization and safety on the inventory floor by clearly indicating where inventory should be stored, what aisles and pathways to keep clear and by directing the flow of traffic within the warehouse. When people, vehicles and goods are flowing, everything is good.
But all floor marking tape is not created equal. Forklift trucks destroy inferior tape. For heavy duty facility traffic, DuraLabel has introduced a family of floor marking supplies that will take daily punishment from vehicles, enhance safety communications and direct people to exits and entrances.
Floor marking or floor striping, is used to define loading and unloading areas for inventory, safety and hazard zones, wayfinding or directional communications. When spills occur, floor marking visually warns us to avoid wet and slippery floors which may cause injuries. Ironically, floor marking is not limited to floors. Floor marking supplies outline doorways, line hand rails and step landings.
Some view floor marking as a component of the 5S lean manufacturing methodology – the “S” in Set in Order. Everything is organized and has its place, whether it’s a machine, a garbage can or a tool cabinet.
While large companies may have greater warehouse traffic, small firms may have complex and confusing warehouse layouts. Both will benefit from floor marking to alleviate potential bottlenecks.
At 200,000+ square-foot manufacturing facilities such as Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., visuals such as work instructions are used extensively on the plant floor including floor marking.
Floor Marking Benefits
Applying graphic or floor marking tape is quick and cost-effective compared to painted floors. Stenciling footprints on a floor is messy and paint wears off fairly quickly. The time required to prep for painting also limits access to those areas. Floor marking, by contrast, produces no fumes and needs no dry time or cure time.
How to Apply Floor Marking Tape
- Prepare the floor’s surface by cleaning with soap and water
- Determine areas to be sectioned off including aisles, electrical boxes, storage areas, eye wash stations, fire extinguishers, garbage cans, recycling stations
- Measure area widths
- Determine floor marking tape colors and other supplies based on inventory, traffic flow patterns, areas needing specific boundaries for safety, height, available light in the facility and corporate logos.
- Load up applicator with floor marking tape
- Apply tape
- Clean with damp mop
One indispensable tool for any warehouse, facility or supply chain manager is a thermal transfer printer to generate signs and labels that complement floor marking supplies. Graphic Products offers several thermal transfer printers that allow users to create their own on-site signs and labels for safety, efficiency, wayfinding and other applications.
With a thermal transfer printer, you can create custom safety signs and labels that complement floor marking.
DuraLabel printers ship complete with OSHA-compliant print templates, a huge catalog of symbols and an extensive font collection that can be utilized with popular word processing software. With these tools, you can print custom labels on-demand at your own facility.
Knowing where signs and labels complement floor marking and make the most impact in a facility is an important job for facility managers.
Clearly marking areas for pallets is just one of the roles floor marking tape plays in warehouses. If you can’t tell where to put the pallets, you’re wasting time, taking up valuable space and compromising safety. Floor marking helps organize the pallets based on their content or shipping destination.
While industrial and warehouse environments are likely the most common floor marking applications, forward thinking facility managers can also leverage floor marking strategies beyond tried and true environments.
Consider using floor marking at shipping loading docks, rail yards, cold storage areas, trade shows, sports stadiums, shopping malls, theme parks, hospitals, schools, retail, advertising signage at exhibit venues – virtually any where people and goods need to move in an organized flow, where safety is important or where messages need to be visually communicated.