A number of factors come into play when choosing material handling equipment for your warehouse. Whether you need storage equipment, bulk material equipment or automation solutions, here are six crucial points to consider before purchasing.
- While it seems obvious, the place to start is the types of materials being handled. This could include pallets, spools of materials, coils, tires, etc.
- Another factor is the order picking method, which could include piece pick, case pick or pallet pick. If your personnel stores and picks full pallets in racks, then a reach truck would be the right equipment choice. However, if workers have to case pick cartons from pallets, then choose the order picker.
- Determine which functions need to be performed, as well as environmental factors such as rack aisle width, rack type and ceiling height. There are a number of options to choose from but as a general rule of thumb, the narrower the aisle the equipment can operate in, the higher the cost.
- You can’t expect every conveying, palletizing or filling application to be heavy-duty. Any application involving drums, weighing scales, pails or totes being filled and moved at high-volume intervals will require rugged, heavy-duty equipment. This will hold true especially if the equipment is not maintained regularly.
- Assess the level of customization you need. You can choose to have a complete range of services that cover analysis through start-up and post-sale support.
- Keep track of all the maintenance costs. Software programs and tools can track this information and help boost warehouse productivity. Choose equipment whose spares can be found easily in replacing or repairing the equipment, thus minimizing downtime.
Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California. He enjoys everything mechanical and electronic, computers, the internet and spending time with family.