Fighting a constant war against pests eager to infiltrate your company facilities isn’t generally what new business owners have in mind when they first begin their brick-and-mortar operations, but the burden of pest management is one we all must bear.
Following protective best practices and recognizing the early signs of a possible contamination problem can go a long way to avoiding costly infestations and keeping your supply chain operations running smoothly. Here’s more on how proactively training your staff, maintaining clean facilities, and vetting your vendors properly can save you the headache of unwanted guests finding a home in your warehouse.
Awareness and Prevention Is Key: Adopting a Holistic Approach to Pest Control
Good pest management practices require more than simply reacting to warehouse infestations. Proactively controlling pest problems means businesses fortifying their facilities and training workers ahead of time with all the tools necessary to thwart pest problems before they happen. Not only do pests threaten to throw a wrench in your day-to-day operations by delaying shipments and frustrating customers, they also hurt your bottom line more than you might think. Damage caused by invasive pests amounts to billions in lost revenue each year.
Pest control management includes eliminating potential risk factors for your own employees, maintaining squeaky-clean facilities, and delivering goods on time to customers without the risk of product spoilage or infestation that can severely impact your business’ reputation.
How IPM Exceeds Common Practices
There’s a key difference between your base-level pest control practices and an integrated pest management (IPM) program. That difference is in the number of safeguards and training in place throughout your company to protect your products from infestation before one actually occurs.
An IPM approach embraces strategies and programs with multiple layers of protection to keep pests at bay and requires workers at each stage of shipping, storage, and delivery to understand how they contribute to successful IPM practices. Where many companies might employ a simple “see bug, kill bug” approach to pest control, smarter businesses know the importance of a detailed strategy in place to keep bugs out of daily operations, to begin with.
Every Informed Employee Bolsters Your Line of Defense
It’s everyone’s responsibility not only to know and recognize the signs of an active pest infestation but to proactively identify ways to shore up defenses against one ever occurring. Employees need training and practice to notice the common environments in which certain pests thrive, as well as damage or wear in existing equipment or facilities that might invite pests into your operation.
Keeping food and drink out of reach, preventing garbage from piling up in dumpsters or outside of facilities, and even spotting cracks, leaks or breaks in windows or door frames is a significant advantage in the fight to keep pests out of workplaces. Prioritizing employee training and identifying the roles each employee can play in keeping their own work environment safe is the sort of investment that pays major dividends down the road.
Inspection Tips and Other Best Practices
Did you know receiving areas are likely your facility’s weakest point in the fight against infestation? For a relatively simple-sounding task, keeping your workplace pest-free is a taller order than you might expect with goods constantly cycling through various methods of storage and transport. Here are some highly recommended best practices employees and supervisors should keep in mind as food and other goods are received and stored:
- Learn to look for early signs of pests in each shipment, including gnaw marks, droppings, webbing, trails, or live pests — also know the most common locations for these warning signs (for example, seams of packages or holes in wooden pallets).
- If you suspect a contaminated shipment, immediately quarantine and inspect it thoroughly (and be willing to refuse it if necessary).
- Use black lights to easily identify potential rodent infestations (rodent urine on packaging or products will glow under black light).
- Document signs of potential pests and, when necessary, collect a sample for inspection by a professional. Keep record of suppliers and vendors who regularly encounter issues with pests and determine whether frequent offenders can be replaced.
- Rotate your stock regularly.
- Avoid storing goods anywhere that might keep pests hidden — use open-backed shelving whenever possible.
- Avoid storing or stacking products on the floor or packing too many products on shelves at once in an effort to save space.
- Sanitize your equipment, your workspaces, your break rooms, employee locker rooms, and anywhere else in your facility, even if goods aren’t directly stored there.
- Don’t let messes linger — piling up garbage in a break room or a spilled shipment in the receiving area can quickly attract unwanted guests.
- Identify and seal any new (or previously untreated) cracks or gaps in floors, walls, and especially doorways.
- In all facilities and in every circumstance, keep things cool, dry, well-ventilated, and properly illuminated.
Vet Your Vendors — Pest Management is Everyone’s Responsibility
Prevention has never been more crucial to each link of the supply chain. Facilities that ship, receive, and store human or animal food are expected to comply with preventative measures set forth by the FDA. Require your vendors to have a plan in place to keep goods free of pests and to manage sudden infestations efficiently. Enacting a plan to successfully keep warehouses, trucks, facilities, and vendors pest-free will yield significant benefits both now and in the future.
Protect Your Products from Pests with First Call Logistics
Whether your product is stored at one of our shared warehousing facilities or is in transit to its final destination, First Call Logistics takes pest prevention seriously. To learn more about First Call’s integrated pest management program and adherence to regulatory standards, Contact Us today.