Most people don’t have extensive experience with all of the different types of material handling equipment available. It can be very easy for someone to overlook items that provide superior solutions to tough problems.
At Douglas Equipment, many of our customers operate warehouses. With our detailed knowledge of casters and material handling equipment, we can help them improve their processes by recommending products that can solve some of their material handling problems.
Here, we’ll list 10 common mistakes we frequently see warehouse operators make and provide solutions to fix these mistakes.
- Using General-Purpose Instead of Specialized Equipment
Many people know the basic items of material handling equipment: two-wheeled hand trucks, platform dollies, pallet trucks, etc. Fewer know there are thousands of specialized pieces of equipment that were developed to perform specific tasks in a warehouse. Why struggle to move a 55-gallon drum with a standard two-wheel hand truck when there are drum trucks built to perform that exact task?
- Using the Wrong Type of Truck for the Job
If a warehouse only has a two-wheeled hand truck, chances are workers will use that hand truck to move every conceivable load. With Douglas Equipment, you can shop for other types of platform trucks, dollies, and pallet trucks and choose the ones that are designed for the specific type of load to be moved.
- Failing to Use the Best Two Wheeled Hand Truck for the Job
The standard two-wheel hand truck is great for moving loads that can be stacked on its nose plate. For other types of loads, specialized hand trucks are available. Appliance trucks for example, have wheels that are set wider apart. The nose plate is only a few inches deep, and fits well under the edge of an appliance; and one or more belts secure the appliance to the truck’s handles. To gain more versatility, convertible hand trucks are available. They can be changed from the standard upright position, and easily converted to a 4-wheeled platform truck.
- Not Using Powered Equipment
Electric and battery-powered versions of almost every type of material handling equipment are available. Using powered equipment can speed up operations and reduce worker fatigue while improving ergonomic performance. This becomes especially important with equipment that is in constant use. For example, replacing a standard pallet truck with a powered pallet truck can be a great idea. It can lift the load off the floor and move it to its destination – all at the push of a button.
- Not Replacing Casters Soon Enough
Casters can go bad in so many ways! They can start to shimmy or develop flat spots. The wheel tread can crack or de-laminate. Swivel bearings can stop swiveling, and axle bearings can freeze up. Unfortunately, many people wait until a caster has failed entirely before replacing it. Replacing casters sooner rather than later will help improve warehouse operations – especially if you replace them with better models, as we discuss in the next section.
- Failing to Replace Original Casters with Better Models
When it’s time to replace casters, you are not limited to exactly replacing the original caster. In fact, if the original caster failed, why replace it with one that will fail again, in the same way? Take this opportunity to choose a caster specifically manufactured to withstand the conditions that caused the original caster to fail.
- Not Taking Advantage of Caster Options
Any particular size and style of caster is available with dozens of different options. There may be 15 or 20 tread and hub materials to choose from. You can find casters rated for high temperatures, extra heavy loads, or with anti-corrosion capabilities. Many brake options may be available. Carefully considering all of the choices will enable you to configure a caster that is perfect for your situation.
- Not Using Maintenance Free Equipment
Many people struggle to properly maintain their material handling equipment, not knowing that maintenance-free versions are available. For example, rather than periodically having to fill pneumatic wheels to their proper inflation, why not switch to semi-pneumatic wheels, which are maintenance-free – and flat free? Sealed bearings are available, which eliminate the need for Zerk fittings and periodic lubrication. Dust caps, thread guards, materials that withstand corrosion or harsh chemicals, and many more options are available that will lessen the need for maintenance.
- Failing to Protect Floors
Casters can be hard on floors. Cast iron wheels, for example, can destroy concrete floors. Casters can collect debris such as metal shavings from work areas, and then deposit that debris in other areas of the building, that might damage floors. Fortunately, casters are available for almost every situation where floor protection is important. With careful caster selection, it’s possible to achieve the same or better performance, but without damaging floors.
- Not Choosing Ergonomic Equipment
Well-designed equipment optimized for human factors can help reduce repetitive motion injuries. Warehouse managers can improve productivity, while at the same time protecting their workers’ health by choosing ergonomic options for material handling equipment. For instance, it’s possible to choose casters that are optimized for ease of rolling, making it possible for a worker to use less force to set them in motion. Also, selecting quieter casters can reduce noise levels that are damaging to hearing.
Don’t Make These Mistakes – Contact Douglas Equipment Today!
At Douglas Equipment, we have extensive knowledge about the common mistakes warehouses make, and the thousands of options available to correct or prevent those mistakes. It’s not always easy to know what the best option is – but if you contact one of our experienced team members, and describe your situation, we will do our best to help you find the optimal solution. We can be reached toll-free at 800-451-0030, or 305-888-3700 in the Miami area. We are also available online through our contact form. We look forward to helping you!