Category Archives: Keeping Inventory

Warehouse Management Systems – Handling Equipment Online News

Warehouse Management Systems: Is Your Warehouse Ready For The Economic Upturn?

What steps can your company take to ensure that your warehouse is prepared to hit the ground running when the economy starts picking up? Having weathered the torrential economic storm, it looks as if the metaphorical sun is about to break through the clouds. Surely this is all good? However an upswing in the economy will mean a fresh surge of clients and customers for you warehouse but do you have an effective warehouse management system in place that will cope with this change? This surge will result in an influx of new orders and shipments. In order to ensure that your warehouse is ready for this increase in business, Handling Equipment Online have prepared their three point plan.

1. Work out if an outdated Warehouse Management System (WMS) is holding you back

Warehouse Management SystemA warehouse management system is essential in order to maintain ongoing operations, support changing customer requirements, keep up with new industry regulations and just simply to get orders out of your warehouse on a daily basis. However an inefficient system may actually be hampering your potential.

Businesses change their WMS for a wide range of reasons. However at the most basic level, the question you need to ask yourself is whether your current system either strengthens or hinders your ability to execute and effective the business strategies, which are necessary for building and maintaining a competitive edge, responding to continual and inevitable change whilst also growing your business. If your WMS does not accommodate these things, it may well be worth replacing it with a system which is both adaptable and flexible. This will place your company in a better position to take advantage of the new opportunities which will emerge as the economy recovers.

2. Put in place extended WMS options which work in your favour

Warehouse Management System SolutionsAfter the initial application of the warehouse management system, businesses often let the system fall into neglect. A WMS is not a system which can be implemented and then left to its own devices. It is in fact a system which must adapt to changing business conditions if it is to remain effective. As the demands of your customers change, your WMS will also need to change in order to facilitate these changes.

It is well worth taking some time to consider, which aspects within the distribution process could benefit from advanced WMS functionality. Areas worth special consideration include:

  • Yard Management

Unfortunately yard management is often one of the last areas to be addressed as part of a WMS project. However better management within your yard can not only provide more efficient goods movement, but it can also result in significant cost savings.

  • Labour Management

It is a little known secret that labour is typically the most expensive aspect of warehouse and distribution operations. It is well worth designing your labour management system (LMS) to work in conjunction with your warehouse management system. Productivity gains directly resulting from an LMS are typically between 10 and 30 percent. Furthermore the majority of companies who employ a LMS see a return on the investment within a year.

3. Ensure you integrate each aspect of your extended supply chain

In the economic downturn you may have taken steps to identify new suppliers and enter new geographies. However if these efforts take off, does your supply chain have the facilities to support it?

The overwhelming majority of modern supply chains consist of complex global relationships. Due to this it is worth identifying areas of this chain which may be weak links, which when properly addressed and remedied will result in a stronger and more efficient supply chain. Whilst the integration of one-off point solutions may result in some improvement, the greatest long term value will be achieved through adopting a comprehensive and integrated strategy which takes into account the entirety of your supply chain.

Your business has survived the worst of the economic downturn. Now is the time to ensure your business performs to optimum efficiency in order to welcome the increase in custom which will result from the economy’s revival. Your WMS should be a key player in your search for cost saving efficiencies whilst also contributing towards the integration of your global supply chains.


Lifting Equipment Inventory Solutions

Inventory Solutions For Your Lifting Equipment In Line With LOLER Regulations

As part of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Requirements (LOLER), one of the key requirements is that all lifting equipment must be put through periodic thorough examinations by a competent individual. This seems straightforward, however in practice a significant number of your employees may fail to meet the requirements and obligations. There are several reasons for this; it has been consistently found that many companies struggle to keep track of their lifting equipment.

Lifting EquipmentThe LOLER criteria does not just cover significant lifting equipment such as overhead cranes, it also covers simple and small items such as shackles and slings. In order to meet the legal requirements, and ensure the integrity of your lifting equipment demands a rigorous system, whereby all items of your lifting equipment arsenal is fully accounted for at all times.

The obvious starting point for effective overhead lifting equipment management would be to provide each piece of equipment with a specific identification number and to create an inventory for all your items. However this needs to be combined with other key marking on all your lifting equipment, including safe working load, manufacturers ID and a traceability ID. Traditionally this has been done through hard stamping, however hard stamping is especially difficult with smaller items such as shackles or slings. This is because hard stamping can cause indents and displace material; also if the stamping is either too sharp or too deep it can cause cracking in the material. Alternatives to the hard stamping method include a system of multi coloured coded tags, however problems arise here as there is no industry accepted standard for tags.


It is little surprise in this day and age that more technological methods are emerging to aid in keeping tabs of lifting equipment. One of the more sophisticated methods of tagging which is in increasing use is RFD tagging, due to being well suited for use in the management of capital equipment. In terms of options for overhead lifting equipment, the RFD options available include: new equipment which comes already equipped with RFD tags embedded in the equipment, or alternatively you can retro-fit the tags into existing pieces of equipment.

Whatever system of identification and tagging is selected for use in your workforce, this only makes up part of the solution. In a busy workplace environment it is all too easy for lifting equipment to be scattered far and wide whether in tool boxes or vans etc. The ideal solution to this issue would be to create a dedicated storage area for all lifting equipment. This area should be under the jurisdiction of a specially appointed member of the workforce. The elected individual should then operate a control and issue system, which ensures that the only equipment which is released are those items which have been fully inspected and found serviceable to LOLER regulations. However if no permanent member of staff is available to monitor the distribution of lifting equipment within the workforce then the storage area should be locked and distribution should be handled by an individual who is available as and when required.

Whatever the inventory set up of your workplace, it is important to ensure that equipment is only distributed to individuals who are both competent and authorised to use it. All equipment distribution should have a length of time attached to it, so that it can be fully accounted for at all times. Records should also be kept to ensure that overdue equipment can be located quickly and efficiently.