A warehouse works as a complex engine. It is composed of people using a variety of warehouse equipment in the form of machines or tools across different processing areas. The right equipment can complement human effort to continually raise the bar on the performance of a warehouse. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right equipment that can save cost, time, and effort.
Most warehouse managers have a warehouse equipment checklist. This list should serve as a guide that outlines must-have equipment to successfully run a warehouse operation. Even for seasoned warehouse managers though, some important equipment or details may be missing from their current list.
The ideal warehouse equipment checklist should include:
- Safety equipment that meets OSHA standards
- Tools to maximize efficiency such as storage systems, warehouse management system, lift equipment, packaging materials, and conveyors
- Other items like hand tools and an equipment maintenance plan
Time is money, and we all know that. But nowhere is that better seen than in a busy and active warehouse. Every single item piled up, stored, or hidden away somewhere, is money bound and profits not gained. They need to be shipped out fast and safe so that the whole thing can keep on moving. Warehouses see a lot of movement from machines, people, and items which is every manager’s dream and goal. Every investment in this area can offer multiplied returns with the added benefit of worker safety and productivity increases. To start with any of this, some of the essential items include:
1. Health And Safety First
The first thing to acknowledge in this business is that accidents tend to happen and, we can only minimize the occurrence and the damage. Well-equipped warehouses tend to have yearly accidents in the single digits and, the means to prevent any further damage is a worthwhile investment. First aid kids must be at crucial places and well labeled, stocked, and then available. Then they can do wonders. By mending minor accidental cuts and bruises, they can keep the daily tempo moving. In the more serious occurrence, should they ever happen, it’s always better to be prepared.
Hard hats are common enough, but it never hurts to get reminded and equip your workers with them. If they are standing in one place for a long period, or their work includes prolonged standing, anti-fatigue mats do wonders for their health and happiness. Safety mirrors at busy, high traffic corners can mean that your workers can anticipate anything coming their way and that your forklift drivers can keep on loading. Speaking of which:
2. Loading Equipment
When the trucks dock, the clock is ticking and, they must get back on the road as soon as possible. Packages need to get loaded fast and with no damage, every day. Truck restraints keep it in place while it’s getting loaded, even though most modern trucks have similar means. But it can’t hurt to be extra safe. Dock lifts can be an alternative to loading up if you don’t have a ramp. If you do, ramps need to be secured from any accidental falls. Barriers of any sort are welcome here and, they help funnel the process. Lightning is paramount if your warehouse is working 24/7. Trucks can come at any time and get loaded, so the area needs to be lit at midnight as it is noon and, your workers can safely finish the process.
3. Lifting Machines
These come in all shapes and sizes, that you can pick and choose for your needs. If you have a relatively small warehouse where space is tight, you should opt for a pallet jacks. They are mobile, can be operated with minimal training, and can fit just about anywhere. Their hydraulic-based systems usually allow for the load to about a tone. If you are operating a larger, and therefore much busier warehouse, you need something that can move large quantities of items in a short period. Forklifts are the backbone of such operations, and you can find forklifts for sale with a single google search. These robust machines, with trained drivers, are the lifeblood of any serious or rising warehouse needs and can be vital for your operations. While their initial cost may seem steep, they will quickly make up for it more than enough.
4. Conveyor Belts
Making space and roads for machines to pass isn’t available to every place. Having workers move high frequent goods, constantly from one place to the other, can stack up, taking time and driving up costs. Conveyor belts, on the other hand, may seem like an oversimplistic dated solution but, those are sometimes the best. Let’s say you have relatively small packages and goods that are constantly being funneled from the same place to another. Then it makes sense to implement conveyor belts in your warehouse’s daily routine. They can go in any direction, vertical, spiral, horizontal, you name it.
5. Packaging Equipment
Simply throwing stuff into a truck doesn’t cut it anymore. Warehouse goods need to be tightly secured to ensure maximum safety during transportation. Transportation alone is difficult enough on the goods, double if they are fragile, so it makes sense to have good packaging equipment. Stocked and space generous packaging tables enable your workers to do this job efficiently and apply care to each package. Some of them require this approach and, your packaging tables should be full to the brim.
If you have pallets with heavy or stacked loads, stretch wrap machines are faster than any worker and more efficient. They can wrap up an entire filled pallet in a matter of seconds and, then they can be shipped off. As we said, every second saved is a cent earned.
The more you invest in warehouse equipment, the more you will get back. Maintaining the flow of goods and not breaking the pace relies on well-equipped warehouses. Your staff will appreciate it and, with the right tools at their disposal, they will be able to do their job properly, productively, and safely. As your business expands and the flow of goods increases, these investments will justify and pay for themselves. Quickly filling up the tracks and sending them on the way without much hustle or energy wasted, means that you can have more of them in a single workday. All of this leads to increased profits and, that’s everyone’s goal here.