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Order picking: How to make this expensive process more cost-efficient

Written by Andrew Hamilton, 2020-02-17

Out of all the different tasks you complete in your materials handling operation, order picking is by far the most expensiveWhen you look at the cost involved with handling 1000kg of goods in different stages of the materials handling process, the contrast becomes clear.

Loading and unloading is quite cheap – in this example, we can put the cost of handling 1000kg at around £1- £2, depending on the equipment you use. Putting away and retrieving goods takes slightly longer, and the cost of handling the same quantity of goods is around £10- £20. However, picking 1000kg of items can cost up to £100, simply due to the amount of labour required.

If you’re looking to make your operation more cost-effective and efficient, it makes sense to focus on improving your order picking.

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The benefits of a bespoke materials handling solution

Written by Matthew Geddes, 2020-01-29

There is no such thing as an ‘off the shelf’ forklift. Instead, the buying process involves speaking with a representative from your supplier, analysing your operation and business needs with them, and agreeing on a suitable solution. While this may take time, the result is well worth it – you get exactly the right truck, perfectly suited to your operation.

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Warehouse automation: How to get the best of both worlds with AGVs

Written by Paul Boynton, 2020-01-21

Automated guided vehicle (AGV) technology has been used in materials handling for decades, but with more recent developments in technology it's becoming a more affordable and flexible solution than it used to be.

However, in some operations full automation may not be appropriate. This is especially true if the materials handling work that needs to be done is different from day to day, if it needs some level of human decision making or if order picking of many varied items makes up a big part of the work.

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Thinking of going electric? Here's why you should make the switch

Written by John Blagg, 2020-01-15

Battery-powered counterbalance trucks are really nothing new for internal operations – they’ve been the standard choice for decades, due to their quietness and lack of emissions.
However, many companies that use counterbalances outside, in yards or uncovered loading and unloading areas, still choose diesel or LPG trucks due to their fast refuelling and ability to cope with the elements.

Due to demands from the market and improvements in technology, it’s now feasible to electrify your entire counterbalance fleet, even for those trucks that work outside. It could even bring a number of benefits.

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The Material Handling Blog's top posts of 2019

Written by UniCarriers, 2020-01-01

2019 has drawn to a close, and the new decade is finally here! To say goodbye to the old year, we've looked at the figures to find the posts which attracted the most readers in 2019.

There's been a lot of new content published, and plenty of new subscribers - but these are the five posts which you liked the most.

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Dealing with the Christmas rush: How do businesses do it?

Written by Håkan Ek, 2019-12-23

Christmas has finally arrived, and the busiest time of the year for many businesses has come to an end.

Peak times can vary dramatically depending on the nature of a company's work and the industry it operates in, but for most business-to-consumer companies, the pre-Christmas period is hard work. Customers are rushing to buy presents for loved ones, and with the recent advent of Black Friday, the pressure is even higher.

But at times when demand for goods may be twice as high as during other times of year, how does an operation keep up? If the materials handling operation is well-optimised, there shouldn't be any 'spare' trucks or manpower that can be brought into action. So how can sudden spikes in demand be met?

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How to choose the perfect order picking truck for your warehouse

Written by Jonas Tornerefelt, 2019-12-17

Order picking is a demanding process, and with the continuing rise of eCommerce, it's becoming a bigger and bigger part of the logistics chain. 

Compared to other materials handling processes, it's also very expensive. To illustrate this, we can look at the costs of handling goods in different parts of the materials handling process. If we estimate that the cost of unloading 1000kg of goods from a transport is around €1 to €2, and the cost of placing the same quantity of goods into storage is around €3 to €5, then the cost of picking 1000kg of goods can range from €30 to €100, simply due to the amount of labour involved. That's why if you want to reduce your operation's costs and boost efficiency, focusing on improving your order picking is a smart solution.

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The risks of cold store truck operation

Written by Andrew Murray, 2019-11-29

Winter has well and truly arrived, and it's time to wrap up warm, switch the heating on and start scraping the car in the mornings.

But when the temperature drops below zero, spare a thought for forklift operators working in cold stores — where temperatures can be as low as -35°C all year round.

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Forklift battery changeover: can you avoid this time-consuming process completely?

Written by Jan Callderyd, 2019-11-07

Battery changeover is a necessary pain for most operations that use electric trucks. Changing the battery involves removing the forklift from its ordinary operation and taking it to a purpose-built battery changeover area or a larger battery room. Here, the extremely heavy spent battery must be removed and connected to the charger, and a new battery removed from the charger and connected to the truck.

Special equipment is required to make the battery change possible, like a battery roller that can push the new battery into the compartment while pushing the old one out, or a specially-adapted pallet truck with an attachment designed for handling batteries. On top of all this, lead-acid batteries require regular fluid top-ups, cleaning and maintenance to work effectively and safely, and ventilation systems are essential to stop the build-up of explosive hydrogen gas produced during charging.

With all of these factors to consider, it's unsurprising that Li-ION batteries are becoming a popular energy solution for forklifts.

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Forklift leasing: How to get access to the latest truck technology

Written by Jonas Tornerefelt, 2019-10-24

The forklift world is rapidly changing, and manufacturers are constantly releasing new models and products to keep up with the market's demands - whether that means better ergonomics, more stable masts, or innovative attachments made for handling specific products.

Buying forklifts outright brings many advantages, and the right machine can bring many years of faithful service. However, it also means you may not be able to take advantage of new solutions and advances in technology until it's time to purchase new trucks again. Choosing leasing, on the other hand, allows you to start using new models much sooner.

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