If you’re looking for a new forklift which will provide years of faithful service, rather than just a short-term hire truck to help you deal with busy periods, your first thought may be to purchase one outright.
In an ideal world, all unit loads would held on standard pallets, in uniform weights and sizes, allowing for easy handling with all kinds of forklift. Unfortunately, that's not the real world - and in many warehouses, standard pallets are the exception.
Many types of goods - for example, pipes, construction materials or metal sheeting - are often quite long, and impossible to fit neatly onto a 1,200 by 800mm pallet. These loads can be difficult to get down warehouse aisles, even if they aren't particularly narrow.
Cantilever racking, as shown in the illustration above, solves the storage problem - this kind of racking is open-fronted, meaning there are no vertical bars to block the placement or removal of long goods.
But when you need to move these goods down an aisle, how do you get around the space problem? The simplest and most versatile solution is - with a multi-directional truck.
Owning and operating a forklift truck naturally involves many different costs. There's naturally the upfront cost of the machine itself, or regular payments if it's financed, as well as costs for routine or avoidable service and maintenance, and downtime.
Over the course of its life, the total cost of operation for a forklift truck can be much more than the figure on its price tag.
But by far the biggest cost related to forklift operation isn't actually to do with the truck itself, and it's one you can significantly reduce with some smart decisions - it's the driver.
In this post, Pierre Simonnet, UniCarriers Europe’s International Key Account Sales Manager, explains how the material handling purchasing process has changed in the last couple of decades – and how the modern industry can return to a more flexible system, which benefits both supplier and customer.
As anyone who's been responsible for costs in a warehouse knows, order picking is often the most expensive warehouse operation.
Loading and unloading naturally has associated costs, and stacking can be expensive - but neither come close to the cost of order picking.
As we know, one small part of a logistics operation can have knock-on effects in other areas - and by improving and optimising these areas, you can increase productivity and efficiency with relatively little effort.
We all know that making the right choice of truck is important here - for example, a particularly ergonomic truck can allow a driver to be more productive and safe than a more basic model. However, the design and construction of the warehouse building itself can bring similar benefits.
Moving goods around inside your warehouse and storing them in a rational way is a major challenge - but the process of actually getting the goods inside in the first place is also filled with potential problems. High costs, queueing and inefficiency can all arise when you're not unloading optimally. That's why making the process as smooth and quick as possible can have a positive 'knock-on' effect on the rest of your operation.
No matter the quality of your forklift truck, after a few years of service in a busy and fast-moving warehouse, it’s not going to have quite the same performance as it did when it was brand new.
Productivity and efficiency in the warehouse can really suffer once a forklift becomes too unreliable, and the time will always come when you need to replace it. But how do you know how long a forklift should last? And are there any alternatives to replacement? The diagram above should give a clear description of what your options are, and when you should consider them.
Forklift safety is vital in the modern warehouse. If you want to keep efficiency high and staff happy, making sure that forklift drivers know the rules is essential. Paying attention to the regulations also reduces the risk of breaking the law, too.
Accidents can harm your bottom line and damage your company's reputation - so keeping the best practice at the top of your mind is important.
Double-deep storage, drive-in racking, narrow aisles - the list of warehouse storage options is extensive, and continues to grow as the demands on the material handling and logistics industries grow and change.
Each system has its benefits and drawbacks, and certain methods of storage are more suited to some operations than others. There's a wealth of detailed information out there about the best warehouse racking and different storage systems, but to make things easier, we've collected the basics in a simple PDF guide.