You may have heard the phrase, “There’s a tool for every job.” Well, that saying holds true for heavy material handling equipment too.
Using the right tools can increase productivity, save you money, and improve your efficiency. But you may be wondering how to determine what type of equipment you need.
Begin by looking at the materials you’re handling and finding the best way to get the job done. To do that, it’s important to become familiar with best practices for handling the materials properly.
Read on for five tips for choosing material handling equipment and boosting warehouse productivity.
1. Pick the Right Equipment for the Job
There’s a type of equipment designed to handle every kind of material. So, how do you find the right equipment for your needs? Begin by asking:
- How sensitive are the materials you will handle?
- What will you do with them?
- How often will you need to move the materials?
- Are the goods you’re storing chemicals or perishable? (If so, you’ll need the proper equipment to avoid damage and contamination.)
- Will the material be stored or processed?
- How is it packaged?
- Is the material palletized, on spools, or in some other form?
Knowing this information helps in choosing the right equipment. For example, order pickers are used to pick up materials individually. For picking up pallets or cases, reach trucks are more appropriate.
2. Consider Function and Space
Material handling equipment serves three basic functions:
- Storing materials: Equipment used to store materials is designed for materials that aren’t moved frequently. This includes shelving, racks, pallets, and containers that store materials for long periods of time.
- Handling bulk materials: If you handle bulk materials by the piece, you need special equipment that can move, manipulate, and process your materials. Equipment needed may include trucks, silos, elevators, drums, and conveyors.
- Using automation: Automated equipment moves and processes materials more easily. It also saves space, time, and money.
Another thing to take into consideration is the space in which you will be operating the equipment. The available rack aisle width, rack type, and ceiling height will dictate the type of equipment you need. Equipment that can operate in narrower spaces generally costs more.
3. Address Process and Customization Needs
The way you process your materials is a key factor in the type of equipment you need. For instance, imagine you have manufacturing processes that require a lot of moving parts, such as:
- Conveyors with scales for weighing materials
- Processes for filling drums, totes, or other containers
- High-speed processes for packaging materials
These types of processes will require heavy-duty equipment. And the equipment will need regular maintenance to stay in top running condition for heavy usage.
Also, today’s automated technology makes all kinds of customization possible. These automated processes can allow you to follow the product from start to finish, as well as provide post-sale support.
4. Begin Tracking Maintenance Costs
Use a software program to track maintenance costs for all your warehouse material handling equipment. Computer applications and tools save money and improve productivity.
Another money-saving consideration is to find equipment with easily replaceable parts to minimize downtime when repairs are needed. Improvements like these are easy to track.
5. Remember Safety First
If your workers are constantly lifting heavy materials, you may be opening yourself up for a workmen’s compensation claim or worse.
Legally, as an employer, you are responsible for complying with “duty of care” standards. That means you must provide your workers with the proper equipment they need to do a job and train them to use it.
Heavy lifting equipment can prevent worker injuries and improve productivity. Also, ensuring workers are trained in the maintenance and use of the equipment they use can help prevent accidents.
Learn More About Material Handling Equipment
When your business is ready to upgrade your warehouse material handling equipment, you will want to find a quality resource for equipment. Look no further.