Your warehouse requires careful management to be as productive as possible. Specific equipment on the warehouse floor can greatly increase production and efficiency, leading to a greater return on investment.
Knowing how to select said equipment makes it easier to optimize your space and its function. Based on the material handling equipment used, your business can flourish. You must do your homework first and understand how to choose the best type of equipment for your warehouse.
Here are six ideas to start you out.
Why choose warehouse equipment?
Warehouse equipment eases the flow of products through process areas. Additionally, it reduces product damage and injuries for employees.
The right warehouse equipment eases physical fatigue and increases profitability. By assisting humans in completing tasks efficiently, warehouse equipment becomes a great help for your profit margins.
1. Make an extensive list of what you need
The first step in procuring the best equipment for your warehouse is deciding what you need. You must ensure you have a complete list of what is useful on your storage floor.
So, you have to think about the type of products you’re going to store. They determine the type of equipment you should purchase. Especially when you work with heavy products, you need equipment capable of handling them.
You will need standard supplies and equipment as well as machinery. We’re talking about shelves, lockers, racks, boxes, and guardrails. Make an inventory to determine exactly what type of storage you need. We’ll give you a few examples later on in this article.
2. Calculate the costs for your desired supplies and equipment
The next natural step is to get an estimate of your costs. Warehouse equipment is by no means cheap, especially when you’re looking for quality items. And it’s easier to get an estimate now that you have your list of must-haves.
Start with researching and comparing prices. Find the best deals for the equipment you want. Some online research would be a great idea. Corroborate everything with your budget.
If your budget is limited, consider used equipment. Check to see if the warehouse equipment you want should be brand new. In some cases, used equipment can be just as useful, for a fraction of the price.
Some equipment may be needed seasonally, which makes your decision even easier. Prioritize the items used throughout the year.
3. Think about training requirements
New equipment needs trained employees who know how to use it. You must consider training existing employees or hiring new ones capable of doing so.
Consider how much time your current employees would spend learning to maneuver new equipment. It could lead to a loss of productivity. Hiring specialized help could be a viable solution.
Thinking about the learning curve when choosing your warehouse equipment ensures keeping an uninterrupted workflow. It can also help you decide which equipment is best suited for your business.
4. Consider safety measures and protocols
Safety should be your number one priority in the warehouse. That translates to using heavy equipment as safely as possible.
As a good employer, your priority should be to protect your workers from unnecessary injury. Avoid exposing them to unsafe or harmful elements and focus on good work practices.
Employ clear safety policies on the warehouse floor. Your employees should understand how to properly use the available equipment.
5. Work with a third-party
If you feel like choosing the appropriate warehouse equipment is a difficult task, go for a consultant. Hiring a professional to select equipment can save you time and money in the long run.
A consultant can also help you evaluate your business needs and decide what’s most important. A cost-benefit analysis is a great way to select the best equipment for your needs. You’ll have all the information necessary to make the best decision for your company.
Optimizing your picking technique and using your fast-moving products up front can increase warehouse efficiency by 20%, 50%, or even more. Of course, it leads to increased profitability and boosted morale for your employees.
6. Some must-have warehouse equipment
Choosing inappropriate equipment can endanger warehouse safety, putting employees at risk. That’s why you should audit and see what equipment you need. Quality warehouse equipment can help with safer working conditions and time-saving, too.
There are different types of warehouse equipment your business can profit from. For example, consider how far you usually move your products. You may need forklifts, conveyors, pallet jacks, service carts, hand trucks and dollies, and others. Other valuable equipment for a warehouse includes industrial scales, packing cables, and strapping and banding equipment.
Here are the most popular types, with specific examples:
- Dock equipment: dock boards, dock shelters, seals, truck restraints, dock dumpers, wheel chocks, yard ramps, dock lifts, and dock levelers.
- Conveyors: belt conveyors, gravity roller conveyors, flexible conveyors, pneumatic conveyors, plastic belt conveyors, dustproof conveyors, chain conveyors, and automotive conveyors.
- Storage products: shelves, boxes, bins, racks, totes, and carousels.
- Lifting equipment: forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, service carts, dollies, cranes, monorails, hoists, and castors.
- Packing equipment: packing tables, stretch wrap machines, industrial scales, and banding products.
When shopping for new equipment, the choice is yours. Being an informed buyer is essential to making the right investments. The appropriate equipment will increase your warehouse performance and productivity.
Running a warehouse and managing its activity is no easy feat. When you have the right information and equipment, you can do great things and become more efficient and productive in your business.