IFRS 16 Leases is approaching fast, and if you lease forklift trucks in your business, the way you report your finances will have to change after the deadline on 1 January 2019.
Operating a forklift is a demanding job, and the stresses of a busy materials handling operation can put strain on drivers. This doesn't only make them uncomfortable and prone to injury, but also makes them less efficient and productive, harming the operation's bottom line.
Fortunately, the physical challenges of logistics work can be made much easier with the help of ergonomic design — not only does it make the job much safer and more comfortable for drivers, but also increases overall productivity. Let's take a look at the main causes of strain and injury in the warehouse, and how they can be mitigated with ergonomics.
Making the most efficient use of the available floor space in your warehouse is always important. However, when the density of storage increases, placing and removing unit loads when you need to typically takes more time.
There’s a number of storage options available that offer high density, but they vary in how easily the pallets can be accessed - depending on your operation and individual needs, the best option will be different. With the help of the Materials Handling Guide, we can look at a few options.
When procuring new forklift trucks, it may be tempting to go for the machine with the lowest purchase price.
However, trying to get the most for your money based on this single cost is the wrong approach. The truck's sticker price is one thing, but a much bigger share of the costs that will come with your forklift during the time you own it come after the purchase, during its operation.
Since they were first introduced as a material handling tool, forklifts have become ever more effective at lifting and transporting pallets. Standardisation has occurred across the world of logistics, meaning (with several major exceptions) that many goods are formed into unit loads and placed on pallets of a uniform size, allowing a wide range of goods to be transported and stored more easily.
But what happens the goods you handle don't fit neatly on a pallet? Items that are particularly large or long won't fit on a standard pallet, and they can be harder to handle with a standard forklift. One company that works with goods like this is Mac Messe- und Austellungscenter Service GmbH, a German designer and manufacturer of trade fair stands.
Even after you've chosen, ordered and taken delivery of your new forklift truck, your relationship with the supplier isn't necessarily over. If you want that new truck to keep performing optimally throughout its lifetime, you're going to need regular service and maintenance.
But what makes good service and maintenance? It's an important question, since forklifts are the backbone of any material handling operation.
Cold stores are some of the most challenging environments that forklifts can operate in — temperatures as cold as -35°C are not unusual in these facilities, which are an absolutely vital part of the modern supply chain.
In these sub-zero conditions, steel can become more brittle, condensation can cause problems for a truck's mechanics, and operators must either wear insulating clothing or be protected inside heated cabins for their safety.
One of the biggest issues, however, is the cost involved with keeping the large area of the store colder than the North Pole. A lot of power can be needed to maintain the low temperature, and that's why it's important to maximise storage space as much as possible. This allows you to store more unit loads in a smaller space, and reduces the amount of energy needed to keep the store at these very low temperatures.
But what type of storage system allows for the densest storage?
Forklifts have existed for over 100 years — but it's only in more recent decades that ergonomic design has become a important question for manufacturers to answer.
That's unsurprising when you consider that today, the biggest cost you'll have to pay over your truck's lifetime isn't the service, or the financing costs — it's the cost of the driver. Therefore, making sure that they can do their jobs safely and efficiently is essential if you want to stay financially competitive.
But what does a truly ergonomic truck look like? Plenty of forklifts on the market claim to be ergonomically designed, but features such as these examples really make sense from an ergonomic perspective.
When your product can mean life or death for your customers, a solid forklift fleet and reliable logistics operation is an absolute must. Johnson Controls, a manfacturer of fire safety products, is one of these companies. The international firm not only makes fire detection and alarm systems, but also fire supressions solutions as well. These are important products, and the company needs to get them to the customer as smoothly and quickly as possible.
When you've spent money on new equipment, and invested time and even more budget in safety training and education, damage to forklifts can be a major headache that can increase downtime and endanger staff.
But aside from training, maintaining a safe warehouse environment, and choosing ergonomic trucks with good visibility and handling, how can you reduce accidents? Especially those kinds of accidents that never seem to have been caused by anyone.
The answer may be in technology — specifically, in fleet management systems that can allow you to keep an eye on every truck in your fleet, all the time.