Whether or not you've availed yourself of forklift rentals, you might not realize how much you have to gain from the right material handling equipment. Here are three reasons to put forklifts into processes at your warehouse when order picking is a regular task for your staff.
1. Forklifts can carry more than people can.
Material handling equipment lets you transport more items with less movement. Even a person pushing a cart can't carry nearly as much weight as a forklift can. By staging a forklift at the appropriate place (or places) in your warehouse, you can collect orders on pallets and transport them in bulk to loading docks or exterior distribution trucks, saving a lot of time.
One way to tell if you're wasting movement that can be saved with a forklift is to create a spaghetti diagram. Take a map or drawing of the facility and have someone draw a line following all their steps for the day or shift (it's even easier to use GPS on scanners or mobile devices to do this via computer). If lines are going back and forth along the same paths many times in a day ask yourself: can a forklift be used to reduce that travel?
2. Forklifts move more consistently than people.
Forklifts aren't always faster than people, especially when someone has to navigate between rows or make turns in a warehouse. However, machines are typically more consistent than people. No matter what your forklift is carrying, it can move at the same pace. It also doesn't get tired and slower as the shift wears on.
The consistency the forklift provides doesn't just boost production and efficiency over time; it also offers better operational planning. With today's on-demand customer, predictability is essential to the movement of goods throughout the warehouse. Material handling equipment provides this predictability throughout the movement and storage of goods in the warehouse process by delivering accurate order times, and staffing associated with product movement.
3. Forklifts allow you to access higher shelves.
Finally, forklifts can retrieve items from high locations without requiring staff to climb up and down ladders. Material handling equipment is much more efficient at reaching up and down than people are, and forklifts can also safely place and remove large, bulky or heavy items from such locations.
Ultimately, a forklift may be an efficient addition to your processes in any size warehouse or distribution center.