Warehouse Management Tips – Handling Equipment Online News

Warehouse Management Tips: Narrow Aisles Boost Efficiency In Smaller Operations

It has been consistently found that storage premises and warehouses which utilise lift trucks or stackers as part of their operation tend to think of massive overhauls in order to increase their efficiency. Simply put, this just isn’t the case. Bill Pfleger, who is president of Yale Distribution for Yale Materials Handling Corp, explains that “many people think of narrow aisle and picture these huge facilities with tall aisles and sophisticated warehouse management systems. But, it’s also possible to make a lot of space very quickly by adding just one additional layer of racking for storage or picking.”

Warehouse ManagementPfleger provides a case study to prove his theory. A client used traditional internal combustion lift trucks to stack their product on the ground. The client had no expertise in warehouse management methodology and operation. However, despite this, by utilising this technique they were able to increase the amount of product which they handled by 100% the following year. The solution ended up being a total shift in warehouse management to narrow aisles with the addition of a second-level of order picking. “It was simple enough to add a second level of racking in the 5- to 12-foot pick zone, and the customer was able to meet their expected growth.” Pfleger said.

Warehouse Management TipsThe benefits of converting to a narrow aisle system are not limited to an increased efficiency in storage space. It has been found that converting to this system can also result in a reduction of inefficient travel time as well. Pfleger provided an explanation for this reduction. “Travel time is lost time in the picking business. Significant losses in picking occur from travel time between picks and from the last pick to wherever the finished pallet needs to be transported.”

The transition in warehouse management from a system of standard aisles to a system of narrow aisles in your warehouse or storage facility can transform a few feet of space per aisle into productive space. When a building utilises an extremely narrow aisle system they are able to take advantage of the subtle differences in the size of product dimensions to utilise their floor space further. An example was provided by Pfleger of a customer who utilised a slightly thinner model of lift truck. This change enabled the warehouse to add three more aisles of shelving, which resulted in an overall increase of 2% to the sites storage capacity. This can be cost effective way of increasing your storage capacity and revenue without performing any physical expansion to the size of your premises.


Packaging Materials: Are Hybrid Pallets The Way Forward?

Packaging suppliers are no longer content with selling pallets and other logistical solutions to their customers. Instead they are looking to produce their own innovative solutions and therefore be providers. By producing unique packaging solutions which perform their own functions, these suppliers are aiming to achieve a variety of goals. These goals include the reduction of damage to products, improved sustainability and a reduction in the overall cost incurred.

Packaging Solutions

The chief executive of Sealed Air, a global packaging system, stated, “The future of the packaging industry is in efficiency. Whether it’s finding more efficient designs that require less material for more protection, efficient transportation and recycling, or disposal of packaging, vendors are looking for ways to do more with less, while supporting environmental and economic sustainability.”

A variety of new technologies are being implemented in order to meet this goal. One of the techniques which has drawn specific attention is the introduction of hybrid pallets, yet wood remains the most widely used material in the construction of pallets, it is estimated that a staggering 95% of all pallets are constructed from this material. Despite this, it has some downsides. “Wood pallets are extremely strong compared to their weight by nature, but if you don’t protect the blocks and the leader board, a forklift can easily destroy them,” stated Laszlo Horvath, who is the assistant professor of practice at Virginia Tech and director of the Centre for Packaging and Unit Load Design, “plastic pallets last longer, but they are less stiff than wood and more expensive.”

Packaging Materials For The Future

Packaging PalletsIn response to this, many suppliers are manufacturing and developing hybrid pallet designs and attachments which utilise the assets of both materials. One example of a hybrid pallet can be provided by C&H Distributor. This company utilises the 48 x 40 x 5-inch Green Line Armour pallet. This pallet makes use of oak boards which are encapsulated on both ends of the pallet. The design also includes moulded recyclable plastic bumpers.

The product manager at C&H, Dave Caltreux, provided an explanation for the design. “The plastic on the ends takes the abuse from the forklifts, whilst the wood in the middle supports higher capacities than plastic pallets can, at half the price. It’s still more expensive than a one-way use wood pallet, but it’s so durable that it’s covered by a 10-year warranty.”

A number of other hybrid designs are emerging from a variety of suppliers globally, which suggests that this trend is sowing the seeds for the future of pallet design.


Snow Plough Forklift Attachment: Prepare For The Winter Months Now!

Summer is over and autumn is upon us, which means that the cold winter months are on their way. If the last few winters are anything to go by, this winter looks set to deliver snow and icy conditions. Failure to prepare for these conditions may result in loss of income and a waste of valuable time and resources. Now is the time to get organised and we have the ideal, cost effective solution with our snow plough forklift attachment.

Icy conditions outside your premises can be a health hazard to your employees, whilst there is the possible that unpredicted snow fall may result in your premises being snowed in, meaning you are unable to take deliveries and distribute orders.

However it does not have to be like this. Historically, in order to remove snow or ice from your premises, you would have to assign members of your workforce to the laborious chore of physically removing it. Now this is not the case. By equipping your workforce with the snow plough forklift attachment, you will easily be able to handle the worst weather the winter throws at you. In addition, utilising this attachment reduces unnecessary disruptions to your business, enabling your concern to continue to function at full productivity throughout the winter months.

Snow Plough Forklift Attachment From Handling Equipment Online

Snow Plough Forklift AttachmentHandling Equipment Online are a leading supplier of handling equipment to companies and businesses based in the UK and mainland Europe. We are proud to provide our clients with the Tiger Fork Lift Mounted Snow Plough. This model provides users with the following features and benefits:

  • Safety – In the form of impact protection. This is achieved through the flexible polyethylene dish which is bolted onto the attachment providing safety and security to the operator, forklift, the surface in question and the plough itself.
  • Versatility – With this attachment, operators are easily able to plough snow and icy detritus to either the left hand side or the right hand side. In order to change plough direction, simply remove the plough, turn it over and reattach.
  • Durability – This is provided through the inclusion of galvanised fixed angle body with zinc plated “T” bolts in the design.
  • Efficiency – The plough is constructed from high quality polyethylene, as it has been scientifically proven that snow flows off this material more easily than off steel and other metals.
  • Flexibility – Using polyethylene means that the attachment will not become permanently dented upon an impact.
  • Reliability – The dish itself is removable and replaceable and due to being constructed from polyethylene, it will not rust, providing longevity.

LEEA Global Reach Extends to China – Handling Equipment Online News

LEEA Membership Amongst Within The Chinese Lifting Industry Grows

LEEA Safe Use Of Lifting EquipmentThe LEEA, otherwise known as the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association, recently completed its first batch of on-site audits at a number of prospective member companies based in China. The companies included H-Lift Industries Co. Ltd (based in Shanghai), General Lifting Co. Ltd (based in Zhangjiakou), Shanghai ABS Technical Inspection Co. Ltd and Mak Kee International H.K.Ltd (based in Hong Kong). All of these companies successfully completed the rigorous assessments, which were undertaken by one of LEEA’s team of technical officers.

These audits are ground breaking as they reflect a growing interest in LEEA membership among companies within the Chinese lifting industry. The first step for all companies wishing to gain all membership to the LEEA is a technical audit. This audit covers a variety of issues including the use of appropriately trained staff, the availability of suitable and correctly calibrated test equipment, effective material control, traceability and identification procedures and ensuring that the correct documentation is issued following manufacture, test or inspection. Following the initial audits companies must undergo further periodic audits if they wish to maintain their membership to the association.

LEEA Team Card MembershipOver the past few years, an increasing number of companies based across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and also the Americas have shown interest in LEEA membership and then conformed to the strict entry requirements. The addition of H-Lift Industries, General Lifting Engineering (Skip Lifting), Shnghai ABS Technical Inspection and Mak Kee International to the global membership, which is already in excess of 650, further extends the impressive international presence of LEEA. The association was established in 1944. Upon entry members are provided with access to a wide range of services including training, accreditation and modern technical services. Included within these technical services is the TEAM card registration and identity scheme. This scheme is specifically catered for engineers which have passed the LEEAs industry recognised Diploma examination.

When welcoming the latest additions to the association, Geoff Holden, who is chief executive of the LEEA, commented: “This visit of one of our officers to assess potential members within China marks yet another milestone in the development of both the LEEA and also the global lifting industry which it aims to reflect. Currently, throughout the world there is a growing recognition; a growing recognition of the need for higher standards of professionalism. As a result of this more and more companies are turning to the LEEA in order to help them to achieve this goal.”


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.


Forklift Truck Driver Simulator – Handling Equipment Online News

Forklift Truck Driver Simulator: Introducing The New Training Device That Could Improve Safety In The Workplace Whilst Reducing Accidents

Earlier this year Tactus Technologies developed the first video game like reality training program, specifically designed to help train a forklift truck driver. The company hopes that the product will help to reduce the number of injuries and deaths which stem from the misuse of forklift trucks.

Forklift Truck Driver SimulatorThe simulation program, creatively named the 3D Forklift Trainer, allows a prospective forklift truck driver to practice from the safety of an armchair through video game like system. A depth has been added to the simulation through the inclusion of a steering wheel, joystick and pedals. The program tests prospective drivers in a variety of simulated environments which include railway tracks, elevators and warehouses.

Jim Mayrose, the chief executive at Tactus explained that the simulator came into being due to a “need to improve operator readiness.” Figures from the Operating Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that improper forklift actions account for over 100 fatalities and a staggering 100,000 injuries each year. The Tactus co-founder and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Buffalo University, Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas said “Until just recently, such virtual reality technology programs were only available to the military and university laboratories. By pioneering the use of gaming technology and computers into our software, we are able to provide our 3D forklift simulator at a low and reasonable cost for safe industrial training.” Kesavadas is also the director of the Virtual Reality Lab at Buffalo University.

Currently, forklift truck driver training often consists of a blend of classroom based lessons and lectures which feature videos and observational scenarios. After this students are provided with “on the job” training which places them in the driving seat of a forklift truck. “The problem,” Mayrose said “is that this type of training is largely passive as opposed to interactive.”

The simulator was funded through a financial grant from the Operating Safety and Health Administration. Recent reports have consistently demonstrated that the simulator lessons conform to the stringent OSHA guidelines.

The lesson plans included in the simulator require students to react to a range of safety challenges. These challenges include ramps, elevators and moving people, which are designed to reinforce the use of corrective measures for these future drivers. Each driver gains a personal profile which charts their progress whilst also evaluating their performance. Reports state that on average it takes an operator between three to four hours to complete the training program.

“Companies which are using our product will find that they have shorter training circles with less supervision needed and, most importantly, a safer environment” Mayrose said. After the initial purchase, customers will receive a full licence for their forklift trainer software, a customised computer, in addition to a steering wheel and set of pedals. Optional features include a 60-inch screen and specialised forklift-type seating. A commercial version of the software is available which includes a standard warehouse environment. The software is fully customisable so that it can be adapted to match the environment of the company.


Workshop Cranes – The Answer To Your Lifting Needs

Within warehouses, depots and freight logistic centres, lifting is an essential part of the working day. Often, however, lifting is performed by employees and members of the workforce thus problems can arise, as lifting heavy weights regularly can cause long term health problems for employees. These health problems include back injuries and repetitive strain injuries, which can have a massive impact on the personal lives of your employees, whilst also affecting how your business is perceived, potentially resulting in expensive insurance pay-outs. However there is a solution. Introducing workshop cranes into your workforce is an excellent way of reducing these health related problems, whilst improving how your company is perceived, by providing tangible evidence that you value the health and wellbeing of your workforce.

How Workshop Cranes Can Help Your Workforce

At Handling Equipment Online, we provide a number of workshop cranes in order to meet your specific needs and requirements. Workshop cranes are widely used within manufacturing environments such as machine shops as they are able to easily gain access to areas where alternative larger equipment may be restricted.

Workshop CranesThe range includes the Counter Balanced 550Kg Mobile Workshop Crane. This model provides mobile lifting up to a safe limit of 550Kg, ideal for lifting heavy items of equipment and machinery within a factory or warehouse setting, whilst providing a high level of mobility and easy access to even the most restrictive of locations. This model differs greatly from other variations available as it is already counterbalanced, whereas other models require the counterbalance to be constructed manually on site. This measure provides greater safety and functionality.

The other model available in our range is the Heavy Duty Folding Workshop Crane. This model is a floor crane which provides excellent lifting on a budget. Two variations are available, with differing maximum weight capabilities, 1000Kg and 2000Kg respectively, in order to provide effective lifting ability in even the most spatially-restrictive environments. Due to the inclusion of four castors, this model is highly mobile and can easily be folded to provide effective storage.

All of the workshop cranes available from Handling Equipment Online have been designed, developed and built specifically to provide long-term service with a minimum level of maintenance required. Due to this, you can rely on our cranes to fulfil your lifting and handling needs throughout a wide variety of commercial environments.

For more information about our workshop cranes, or any of the other products in our range, you can contact one of our technical experts direct on 01384 895 859 or visit our website.


Innolift: The New Self Loading Stacker

Innolift: The New, Revolutionary, Patented Product That Is The Answer To Your Loading And Unloading Headaches!

InnoliftVehicles, ranging from vans to flat bed trucks and lorries, are frequently used to transport goods and materials from logistics centres to the locations where they are required, ranging from shops to construction sites. However, problems can arise when it comes to unloading these items at their end destination.

The materials and products which are frequently transported in this way are often heavy and bulky. Due to this, safely unloading these items can often prove problematic. These items are often encased on plastic and packaged on top of pallets and, whilst it is true that a number of end destinations may have pallet trucks of their own, this does not solve the problem as the pallets need to be safely lowered to the ground in order for the pallet trucks to be able to move them to their storage area. What is often missing is a means of safely unloading these items at their delivery point.

This is where the revolutionary Innolift series comes in. This series provides self loading and, adversely, unloading handling equipment, suitable for use with open bottom pallets. The Innolift range provides two models. The first model is the Innolift Self Loading Stacker, which is available in three sizes and has a maximum lift capacity of up to 600Kg, which it can safely load and unload to a height of up to 1260mm. The self loading model is battery powered and provides loading and unloading simply and effectively with the click of a button. To see it in action, please view the following video:

Innolift from Handling Equipment Online

The second model available in the Innolift series is the Manual Innolift Self Loading Stacker. This model is similar to the battery powered version in many ways, except that the self loading and unloading in this case is provided by a manual winch system which can be easily utilised by a single operator. The manual Innolift is available in one size, with a maximum lift capacity of up to 300Kg, which can be safely loaded and unloaded to a height of up to 750mm.

The excellence of the Innolift series lies not only its ability to load and unload goods, but in the unit’s ability to load and unload itself. This feature makes it ideal for use in both the logistics and freight industries, enabling goods and materials to be easily and effectively unloaded at their final destination. The Innolift also makes the use of tail lifts, ramps and swinglifts superfluous.

For more information about the range of Innolift items available from Handling Equipment Online, or to enquire about any of the items in our range, you can contact a member of our technical team on 01384 895 859 or visit our website for more information.


Handling Equipment For Your Warehouse Needs

Handling Equipment: 4 Tips to Consider When Buying Your New Warehouse Equipment

Handling Equipment In The WarehouseWarehouses form the core of many businesses. The warehouse is essentially a large building where various raw materials and/or goods are stored and where, from this location, these items are then distributed to their required location. In order to enable the safe and effective transportation of these items, handling equipment is often required. This is because many of these items are either too large or too heavy to be safely carried by individual members of your workforce, or even collectively. Therefore, it is essential, in order to get the most out of both your workforce and you warehouse, to provide appropriate handling equipment. When buying warehouse equipment, here are four key tips to keep in mind.

1.      The equipment should fit your requirements

Handling Equipment Online Pallet TruckThere is no shortage of handling equipment available which is suitable for use within a warehouse. However, it is essential to discern from the mass of equipment available which items fit your specific requirements. In the case of the pallet truck, what is the maximum lift you require? What is the maximum safe weight allowance you require? Do you need a manual pallet truck or an electronic one? Take care to ensure you select your equipment based on the suitability of their specifications and not merely on the price tag.

2.      Try to select handling equipment which can perform multiple functions

Handling Equipment Online Mesh Sided Heavy Duty Platform TruckA number of pieces of handling equipment are able to effectively fulfil multiple roles. This is an excellent way of saving costs and space within your warehouse. To demonstrate, many stackers can also function equally well as vehicles to move pallets. Alternatively, Heavy Duty Mesh Sided Trolleys can be effectively used to transport a wide variety of goods around the warehouse, and are equally efficient for use in the loading bay.

3.      The selected equipment should be easy to use and maintain

If your selected piece of equipment cannot be easily used and quickly implemented into your workforce, then the investment has been futile. In order to be efficient, handling equipment needs to increase productivity, otherwise it may be of detriment to your warehouse. When buying handling equipment, consider how easy it will be for your workforce to operate. It is also important to discern whether any specific training will be required for your workforce to operate it. Also take the time to establish how easily the equipment can be maintained and, if worst comes to worst, how easily it can be repaired. The answers to these questions may well make dividends in months and years to come.

4.      Consult an expert prior to your purchase

Before purchasing your item or items of handling equipment, consult an expert for their opinion. This is a good way of ensuring that your planned purchase is suitable for the role in which you intend to use it. At Handling Equipment Online, we pride ourselves on the expert, customer-focussed opinion which our technical team provide.


Scissor Lifts 101

Scissor Lifts: A Safe And Cost Effective Way To Equip Your Workplace

Companies based either in warehouses or factories often find themselves having to work at height. Due to the nature of these working environments, space is often extremely limited. Equipping members of your workforce with machinery such as scissor lifts enables them to quickly access raised walkways and gantries, whilst ensuring their safety.

Scissor LiftsAerial work platforms otherwise known work positioners or access or maintenance platforms are a safe and cost effective way of equipping your workforce to effectively work at these elevated heights. Work platforms are also referred to as scissors lifts, due to the shape of the mechanism which they utilise to provide lifting potential. These are essential pieces of equipment, enabling employees to work at height safely. Due to the high mobility which is afforded by castors, they are indispensable in the factory or warehouse environment.

Due to the folding “X” shape of the lift mechanisms folding supports, which are known as a pantograph, scissor lifts are instantly recognisable. The pantograph enables the platform to be raised vertically to the required height. Applying pressure, through either electrical or manual forces, causes the criss-cross section to elongate, enabling the platform to lift. This in turn enables a worker to utilise the machine in order to reach their desired height quickly with a minimum input.

Traditionally scissors lifts only provide vertical lifting ability. Due to this they are a common sight on construction and engineering sites, but are used more specifically around the outsides of buildings and within premises which have raised gantries and work areas. Variations of scissor lifts are commonplace, including scissor lifts with built in bridges enabling workers can gain closer access to the raised area in which they working.

Scissor Lifts 101For any industrial based business scissor lifts are a must buy. Due to the wide scope of models available they can easily be accommodated into any workforce or business. The original scissor lifts were first seen in the 1970’s. However since their inception the design has been modified greatly enhancing the ease of use and providing much greater mobility. In order to save space, modern scissor lifts can be made extremely compact for storage requirements.

When purchasing a scissor lift for your workforce it is importantly to remember that this is merely the first step in implementing these machines into your workforce. Once a maximum height has been established and your equipment ordered, it is essential to ensure that your workforce is fully qualified and insured to use this machinery. Guaranteeing the safety of your workforce is one measure which will greatly improve how your company is perceive, whilst also ensuring your reputation is not tarnished by insurance claims and work based accidents.