When you use the right equipment for the job, you increase productivity, improve efficiency, save time, effort, and resources. But one must know how to choose the right equipment. In this article, we will give you tips on how to choose the right material handling equipment for your warehouse.
Determine your objectives
The first step is to define your objectives. If you’re building a new warehouse, do you want to utilize limited space for more storage? If you’re redesigning your warehouse, do you want to utilize vertical space? Do you want to accommodate a higher product flow? Based on these objectives, you can choose the right equipment for your warehouse.
Consider function, space, and layout
Consider the amount of space that you’ll be using for daily operations, storage, and other activities. The space of your warehouse directly affects processes such as handling and processing of materials. You need to utilize the existing warehouse space in a way that maximizes safety and efficiency. Take into account the warehouse’s fixed structures, such as doors, columns, and walls. After getting a good idea of the space in which you’ll have to operate, you need to plan the inventory that will be stored there. It is at this stage that you decide if the product will be stored on pallets, bins, cases, or loosely. If you’re planning to use a forklift to pick and transport the product, how wide must the aisles be? What kind of pallet racking and/or shelving do you need to install? All these factors will determine what kind of material handling equipment and warehouse layout is needed for maximum efficiency of the operation.
Picking the right equipment for the job
After you’ve assessed your objectives, space, and layout, you need to choose the equipment. For that, you need to assess the needs of your product by answering questions such as:
- What kind of material needs to be handled; how fragile is the material?
- How often will you need to move the materials?
- How will you move the materials? (Vertically, horizontally, short distance, long-distance)
- Are any of the products you’ll store chemicals or perishable? (In that case, you need equipment to avoid damage and contamination.)
- Will the material be stored or processed?
- What kind of packaging is on the product?
- Is the material palletized, on spools, or in some other form?
Based on this information, you can choose the right equipment. For example, order pickers are often used to pick up materials individually. For picking up pallets or cases, forklifts are usually used.
Consider safety and maintenance
The last step is to assess the safety and maintenance requirements of the equipment. You need to look for equipment that provides maximum safety and within the project budget. Secondly, you need to be aware of the maintenance requirements and cost of the equipment that you choose. It’s a good idea to install equipment with easily replaceable parts to minimize downtime when repairs are needed.