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6 Tips About Material Handling Equipment and How to Use Them

Why Buying Material Handling Equipment in Bulk Will Lower CostsMaking money in business is all about efficiency. The more efficient your company’s procedures are, the higher the revenues you’ll generate. Inefficient processes lose money, and if you continuously lose money, then you will eventually go out of business.

If you’re involved in a warehouse or production process, then you probably have numerous items of material handling equipment. Are you getting the most out of these items? If not, then there’s no way that your processes are running as efficiently as possible, and you could be wasting valuable cash.

Here are 6 tips that outline how you can get the most out of your material handling equipment. Follow them if you want to maximise your company’s efficiency.

1.     Make Sure You Have the Right Tools for the Job at Hand

As mentioned above, you might possess a large fleet of items of material handling equipment, but unless you have the correct tool for each stage of the process, then your processes will not run efficiently. For example, you might have pallet jacks to use when transporting items stacked on pallets, but what if your pallets are extremely heavy? What if it takes two men to move a pallet when – if you were to use a powered pallet jack or even a fork-lift – it would only take one? That ‘spare’ man is wasted when he could be utilized elsewhere.

Employees will often take short cuts when it comes to using material handling equipment, so make sure your personnel are using the correct tool for the job at every stage of the production process.

2.     Plan Your Storage Facilities Strategically

If you are handling materials, then no doubt they have to be stored somewhere prior to entering the production process, or to be shipped when an order needs to be fulfilled.

How you arrange storage has a massive impact on your company’s overall efficiency. If you place popular items all in one tight spot, then you will create bottlenecks as your operators ramp up to be able to go and retrieve all the items they need in order to get to the next stage of the process. If you have items that are far away from the point at which they are required, then you’re wasting time sending your employees to go and get them.

Make sure your storage plan makes sense and that your items are not simply placed wherever space may be available.

3.     Be a Traffic Cop – Manage Your Traffic!

Forklifts, pallet jacks and motorized pallet trucks are the automobiles of your warehouse, and the lanes between your storage racks are your roads. Bad traffic management causes tail-backs, traffic jams and even increases the chances of accidents. All these aspects of production facility traffic management will have a profound effect on your efficiency.

Make sure that your warehouse or production facility traffic is suitably managed. You can create separate lanes for the placement of items within storage and the retrieval from your facility when needed. You might even have a one-way system that always keeps the traffic flowing. Make sure that everyone in your facility understands the rules when it comes to traffic management, and that they adhere to them.

4.     Make Sure Everyone is Properly Trained

To get the most out of any item of material handling equipment, your employees must know exactly how to use them. Make sure everyone is trained in the use of as many items as possible. This way if a member of your staff is unavailable due to vacation days or an illness, you’ll always have someone to step up to the plate.

Additionally, make sure that pertinent information is easily available at all times. If someone needs a quick refresher, then you don’t want him or her hunting for a handbook. Reference sheets are a superb tool and should always be readily available. Posters displaying hints and tips act as a constant guide, and are always useful.

5.     Don’t Skimp on Maintenance Tasks

No matter how perfect your material handling equipment may be, these pieces of equipment must be properly maintained. If at all possible, you should employ a specialty staff to check all of the equipment on a frequent basis.

It’s much more economical in the long run to proactively maintain your equipment as opposed to waiting for major repairs that often are expensive and can involve significant downtime. An item of material handling equipment that is not fully functional quickly evolves into a time-waster and can even become dangerous. Investment in replacements and maintenance repairs is one of the most crucial investments you will ever make.

6.     Listen to the People Who Work on the Production Facility Floor

You probably already hold regular meetings, but are these meetings simply a case of you telling your employees exactly what it is that you what? Do you ever listen to what they have to say, and do you make a point of encouraging dialogue?

If you want to make sure that your processes are running as efficiently as possible, then you need to hear from the people who actually work on your production floor. They will make suggestions on how processes can be improved, and may even come up with some great ideas that simply had never occurred to you.

Make Your Production Run Better!

With these useful tips, the team here at Douglas Equipment hopes that we can encourage you to get the most out of your material handling equipment. If you’d like more advice, then we’re more than willing to help, and our years of expertise are always at your disposal.

To get the ball rolling, all you need to do is contact us today. We can be reached by phone at 1-800-451-0030, or you can use the online contact form that’s available here.