In order to run your company properly, you need the right tools for the job. However, there is a common error many warehouse and factory owners make. People obsess over getting the best, most high-tech equipment and gear, but they neglect the basics. You can have the best tools possible, but they won’t matter much if your basic equipment is lacking. This goes for everything, from production units, to transportation, to safety equipment. And today, we will be speaking about foundational material handling equipment every business needs.
Automated transportation gear
Once, automated machinery was a sign of a high-tech, highly advanced company. Nowadays you notice at least a couple of automatic units everywhere you go. Now, of course, there are various versions and varieties of this type of equipment, but the basic models all follow the same pattern (quite literally in some cases).
Namely, there are usual wires, magnets, or lasers that serve as markers on a factory or warehouse floor. These guide the machines and enable their movement. Depending on the size and the setup of your business these machines can either be a godsend or simply a useful tool to have around.
A conveyor belt
The good old conveyor belt. A staple and calling sign of modern industry, it earned its reputation for a reason. These are perfect to transport goods from one area to the next in a matter of minutes. They can transport goods both vertically and horizontally and can do wonders for your expenses. Your employees will have to move less and will make staying safe in warehouses that much easier. Less heavy lifting means fewer accidents after all.
An advanced version of a forklift, this should become a staple of any warehouse and factory. The main difference between a side loader and a forklift is the fact that, well, aside load picks up inventory on its side. This makes transportation much easier since you won’t have large cargo right in front of you.
They may be a bit more difficult to load up, however, but they are definitely easier to drive. They also do not have the same capacity as forklifts do, but are much faster and manoeuvrable. Basically, side loaders are perfect for factories and warehouses that have a lot of smaller cargo and goods.
Also known as dolly’s, or box carts, hand trucks are great for workers to move individual pieces of cargo around the workspace. They are very convenient, and can also be surprisingly effective. The main issue here, of course, is that there is only so much they can carry. However, even though a conveyor belt or a forklift can move more things in less time, you don’t really need to start a hand truck up.
Sometimes it’s just faster to carry an object in that way, instead of wasting fuel and time navigating the area with a forklift. You can have the best gadgets, the shiniest conveyor belt, the most modern electric forklift, but sometimes what you really need is a good hammer, a high-quality steel workbench, a good hand truck, and a hard worker.
You have to have a place to store all your equipment, merchandise, and goods. For that reason, you need to get a good set of racks, pallets, sliders, push backs… Basically a designated storage space. Now, this may sound simple and obvious, but this type of material handling equipment can really boost or drop your efficiency. Namely, you need to get the right racks for your company. The widths, size, the height of the racks, you need to take all these elements into account. Let’s say an employee needs to pick up an item from the rack every 5 minutes or so. This can take as little as a couple of seconds to a full minute. While this may not seem much, you need to take into account tens or hundreds of employees, for 8 hours every day, five days a week…. You get our point – it all adds up.
We all know warehouse employee motivation is important and trust us, low-quality gear will make said motivation plummets. So even an object as a simple pallet jack can mean the world to your people. The humble pallet jack is similar to the hand truck in that it’s sometimes easier and simple to do things manually. Every company should have a couple of these, just so you can speed up movement and transportation.
Material handling is a vital part of any company. But to make the most out of it, you need to get the right equipment and the right tools for the job. However, focus first on the basics. A good pallet jack or hand truck can be more efficient than a forklift at times. A proper conveyor belt, good racks, a side loader, and even some basic automated transportation gear can help you more than the newest, most modern and experimental forklift or robot.