As the COVID-19 crisis continues all over the world, materials handling professionals are focusing on how to make it through the crisis and ensure their businesses returns to full strength once things return to normal.
Many businesses are operating at reduced capacity and with fewer resources, or even completely shut down. It's natural that at a time like this, investing in forklift training for operators might be low on the list of priorities.
But eventually the crisis will be over, and when things return to normal, many businesses will want to strengthen their operation for the future, increase their efficiency, and ensure that they can continue to perform well if similar crises happen in future.
Forklifts are durable machines, and they can stand still for long periods without creating too many problems. However, during the ongoing crisis, it's important to make sure that your equipment will be able to return to work quickly and smoothly once things return to normal.
We've already given you advice on how to maintain your forklift batteries if they're not in use over a long period. Here are some similar tips on how to treat the machines themselves if your business is operating at reduced capacity or even shut down.
Shuttle racking certainly isn't the cheapest storage system available, but if you want to maximise the capacity of a warehouse, it's a fantastic option.
In shuttle racking systems, pallets are moved within the racks by a robotic shuttle, a kind of sled which runs on tracks just underneath the beams that the pallets sit on. An ordinary, manually-operated forklift places the shuttle into the rack at the desired height and pallet position, and the load to be put away is placed on the shuttle.
As we've shown in other blogposts, forklift ownership can have advantages in certain operations over other financing options, such as short-term rental or leasing.
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.
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.
Important ergonomic forklift features often take the form of driver-adapted controls or smart safety sensors. But good visibility is an important ergonomic factor, and it's vital in ensuring the safety and well-being of drivers and other warehouse staff.
At their European distribution centre in Belgium, Skechers uses a fleet of 169 UniCarriers trucks to manage their materials handling in their 118,000m2 warehouse and ship out thousands of customer orders every day.
However, despite Skechers automating many internal process and the fleet's large size, a helping hand is still sometimes needed during busy periods - and this is probably the case in your operation as well.
Depending on the nature of the operation and the goods being stored, warehouses can sometimes be split into 'free' and 'defined movement' areas. The daily tasks of materials handling in these areas can look very different, and specialised equipment may be needed. Let's take a look at what these terms mean.