Lithium-ion, or Li-ION batteries are everywhere these days — in your smartphone, in your laptop, possibly even on your bicycle or in your car. However, they're probably not in the forklift trucks your company uses for materials handling.
When purchasing new forklift trucks, it's tempting to get caught up comparing different options on the purchase price alone. The graphic above should hopefully show you why that's not the best option.
"The representation of the behaviour or characteristics of one system through the use of another system, especially a computer program designed for the purpose."
That's the dictionary defintion of simulation, but how does it relate to logistics and materials handling? Since modern logistics began, managers have been looking for ways to accurately predict the effects of changes to a materials handling operation. Will moving a certain type of item to a different rack produce more efficient results, or just create new problems? With experience it's possible to make good predictions, but the complexity of a materials handling operation means it's very difficult to have a lot of confidence in them.
When it comes to making efficient use of space in your warehouse, mobile racking is one of the leading options. With this storage system, the racking itself stands on motor-driven wheels which move in rails built into the floor.
Proper forklift training can achieve things that every warehouse manager wants – increased safety, better employee satisfaction and retention, and heightened productivity, amongst many other things. However, good training comes at a price, and involves taking time out of the working day, so there’s often people in an organization who refuse to prioritise it.
When planning a new warehouse, there's a huge amount of different factors that have to be considered - the type of items being stored, the available floor space and height in the building itself, and the correct storage system that will both maximise the use of the space available but also make it easy to access pallets.
All trucks require maintenance sometimes, especially in high-intensity materials handling operations. The important thing is how quickly you can get the truck back in operation afterwards. This is where your service supplier's first visit fix rate becomes important.
With proper service and maintenance, a high-quality forklift truck can put in years of service, even in a busy materials handling operation. And depending on the unique requirements of your operation, an older used machine could potentially do the job just as well as a brand new truck.
However, it can sometimes make sense to upgrade to a newer model. Manufacturers release new trucks and upgraded versions of existing models on a regular basis, and the improvements in these updated models could potentially make a big difference to your operation.
Across Europe, the United Kingdom's approaching exit from the European Union is a major talking point among logistics professionals. The full impact of the change is still not known, and it's causing concern on both sides of the English Channel.
Some British firms, such as food distributors and manufacturers are worried about the problems that possible disruption to imports could cause in their well-managed supply chains. And groups in the rest of Europe that deal with logistics between the UK and EU are equally concerned about potential delays to their goods on the way into Britain.
When the time to purchase new forklifts comes, the focus is always on costs. This makes sense — no-one in business would want to spend money unneccessarily, and if a machine can do the job, then the lower the cost, the better.
Costs will always be an important factor. But which ones? When thinking about the money you're going to spend on your forklift over its lifetime, you'll only make the best decision if you consider your hard and soft costs.