3 mistakes made when using major warehouse equipment

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Warehouses utilize several pieces of heavy machinery that are risky to utilize. Trucks, forklifts, cranes and even long ladders can create problems if not properly used.

During warehouse training, employees are taught equipment best practices. Managers, however, may overlook common problems associated with using heavy pieces of machinery in an inventory setting.

No clear paths
The layout of a warehouse needs open spaces so that large equipment can move through the halls. The Logistics Bureau, a supply chain information resource, advised companies to try and select the simplest, quickest path from storage to shipping possible.

The problem is these paths are not always maintained. The Logistics Bureau indicated poor housekeeping is one of the common mistakes that warehouses make. Inventory is stored on the wrong shelf, objects are left in hallways and sometimes fluids or other hazardous materials come into contact with sensitive equipment.

Workers who rush to meet deadlines can get careless, but if they interfere with machinery, the cost is substantial. Forklifts unable to move through halls delay shipping, equipment is damaged by foreign objects and companies lose time driving up and down halls looking for the proper merchandise.

A warehouse needs a system that tracks inventory location and makes employees accountable for facility upkeep. Mobile software tools – like those offered by Microsoft Dynamics GP- make standards for vehicle operation visible on the floor and allow employees to report successful performance.

Not charting time use
The longer a machine is in operation, the more money it will cost to maintain it. Yet companies don't always monitor the time a warehouse vehicle is in use.

Dynamics NAV time collection tools will give managers oversight of equipment use. They can see how long each machinery-specific task took to perform. Time tracking shows redundancies in picking paths or resources wasted from improperly shelving items.

Data reporting aids in machinery upkeep. Manufacturers often use sensors to monitor equipment performance on the production floor. Warehouse managers can use mobile tools to see how long machines have been running and check if they are due for maintenance.

The Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation suggested replacing equipment regularly. The average life of a forklift is about seven years. As machines get older, they break down, and the cost of constant repair is more than replacing the unit.

Buying or renting
The data reported by software tools will guide future equipment purchases. Specifically, accurate information informs a company if it should rent or buy machinery.

Charting the use of machines tells managers how long the device is sitting in storage. If the company only calls for a fleet of inventory-moving vehicles once every season or so, it may be wiser to rent. There are numerous flexible leasing options. Acquiring tools for specific time periods provides a business with access to multiple machines featuring a wide variety of performance abilities.

On the other hand, if the data shows use is becoming more frequent, companies that once rented their machinery may need to invest in a permanent purchase.

Managers can download the Time Collection Dynamics Data Sheet to learn how warehouse employee reporting improves processes.