If your business is in supply chain or warehousing, chances are that you are having a lot of the same problems as your peers. Having worked with companies across Indiana to supply material handling equipment, we continue to see or hear about the same issues over and over again with clients.
Below are just a few of the most common material handling problems we see in Indiana businesses.
#1 – Lack of diversity in storage
For businesses in warehousing or supply chain, you can’t afford to have a “one-trick pony” racking system. A lack of diversity in your storage media can result in running out of storage space extremely quickly if and when your product mix changes.
If you can anticipate any changes or additions to your product, think about diversifying your storage with some of the following racking types:
#2 – Being blind-sided by fuel costs
When deciding to purchase material handling equipment such as forklifts, the fuel source is one of the most important aspects of the machinery to consider. Fuel will be a constant expense, no matter if you choose an electric forklift or an IC forklift. It is important to not only take into account the prices of fuel now, but also where they might trend in the future. For example, diesel may be cheaper than propane at the moment, but what about in 5 years, or even 10?
For larger fleets with lots of work hours being put into your fleet, you may also want to take into consideration the tax incentives for investing in clean burning fuel.
#3 – ”Honeycombing”
Another problem that occurs with racking is honeycombing, where inefficient or poorly planned pallet racking results in clusters of empty spots that are unable to hold any product. Honeycombing reduces your overall storage space and increases the time it can take for employees to pick orders or navigate storage.
To avoid honeycombing in your space, plan your slotting according to your inventory, not the other way around. Re-slotting your inventory can take time, but smart organization of your product storage will have big payoffs, especially if you’re able to plan far enough down the road to accommodate for potential changes in your product mix (see problem #1 above).
#4 – Not staying up to date on safety training
OSHA always seems like a monkey on the back of business owners; but, when all is said and done, promoting the safety and well-being of everyone in and around the workplace is in everyone’s best interest. When companies lapse on safety training, such as with forklift operator training, disaster can strike. Not only will accidents be more likely to occur without properly timed training and safety recertification, but in the event of an accident onsite, an insurance policy may not cover damage or medical expenses if proper OSHA regulations aren’t followed to a “T”.
#5 – Not planning for changes in your business
Similar to the first problem we mentioned, not planning for changes in your business can easily chew up your profit margins. Being able to chart out how far into the future you’re going to lease a new forklift fleet, reconfigure all of your racking into narrow-aisle shelving, expand into a secondary warehouse space, or any other big move can help you save time, money, and a lot of headache in the planning and execution of any of those changes.
Put simply, don’t procrastinate on scoping out the future landscape of your business.
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