Streamlining operations and reducing costs within your warehouse hinges on a lot more than what the newest or cheapest material handling solutions are
Gaining a competitive edge, improving safety, and increasing operational cost-savings through streamlined material handling solutions has been a challenge for logistics managers for decades. In the never ending search for storage and material handling solutions, many turn to suppliers for guidance. That’s when things can get murky.
Determining what the best material handling solutions are for your facility is dependent on multiple factors. Oftentimes, suppliers make inadequate recommendations, or they are focused more on their specific products versus what the best, long-term solution is for your company.
Beware These Three Error-Prone Material Handling Recommendations
Here are three of the most common misconceptions about material handling solutions to be mindful of:
- Selective pallet rack is the “safest” approach. Never lose sight of the fact that whatever material handling solutions you opt for it must be centered on your physical inventory. While your inventory constantly changes, most follow the 80/20 rule and thus there will be products suitable for high density storage. Selective pallet rack is best suited for the low quantity items and there’s a reasonable argument to be made for using it for the midlevel inventory, but standard selective rack is not the way to go for your high volume products. Using high density products like pushback, drive-in or gravity flowrack makes a lot more sense. It allows you to bring high volume products close to the dock and shuffle low-density products to selective rack further back. Doing so can lead to a smaller storage facility which, in turn, equals lower operational and labour costs, and improved productivity.
- The “cheapest” racking solution is the “best”. Being financially prudent is smart, but don’t misinterpret that idea when weighing what the most advantageous and flexible material handling solutions may be. Picking the right storage rack should not be solely based on the cost of the rack. You need to consider a number of factors such as your building’s footprint, taxes, racking maintenance costs, labour and the mobile equipment (forklifts) in your storage facility. Usually the most cost-effective solution utilizes 3 or 4 different types of racking. As well, investing in features that give your structure additional impact protection will go a long way in preventing future costly rack repairs.
- Newer is “better.” Using the newest technology in a storage racking solution could certainly improve your operations but there’s a good chance it could also fail miserably, and prove to be worse than what you have in place now. Advancements in technology dedicated to material handling solutions and rack design have helped the industry fulfill its obligations to customers. But with the advent of fully automated systems the cost-savings and increased efficiencies as promised by robotics and software leave much to be desired. While robotic or fully automated systems may indeed be the future, some of current offerings often fail to meet expectations – they’re not scalable, can have throughput limitations and there may be no backup plans for when the robotic cranes that service the aisles malfunction or are out of service.
In light of those factors mentioned above, it’s worthwhile to envision traditional material handling solutions, equipped with scalable, flexible, high-density storage systems, staffed by experienced workers. This is especially true when seasonality dictates peak activity in your facility; more so when customer demand surges unexpectedly.
Is your company keen to improve its storage warehouse layout and material handling solutions? We can help. Call us toll-free at 1-877-830-0003, or fill in our FREE quote request form and one of our storage and materials handling experts will be in touch.