“The average warehouse operates at just 60% of its theoretical capacity”

With thanks Forklift Action News

In part one of the warehouse efficiency feature, Forkliftaction looked at how materials handling equipment can improve your warehouse bottom line. In part two, Melissa Barnett examines the range of modern accessories that can give materials handling equipment an enhanced ability to boost efficiency and productivity.

Time is Money 

Like materials handling equipment manufacturers, accessory suppliers have ideas on how to create efficiency in the warehouse. All agree that time is money and the aim is for machine and operator to work together optimally. “Solutions that ensure uptime, reduce interruption and avoid redundant handling to move product quickly and without damage allow for equipment and staff to work to their potential,” suggests Davide Roncari, president and CEO of Cascade Corporation.

The average warehouse operates at just 60% of its theoretical capacity

Keith Simon, vice president and general manager of industrial vehicle manufacturer Polaris Commercial, Government and North America, believes it is critical to maximise warehouse efficiency because it allows the people, equipment, space and capital already available to work the hardest. “The average warehouse operates at just 60% of its theoretical capacity, leaving a lot of opportunity to optimise current workflows to help meet demand without the need to invest in a larger operating footprint. With the rise of e-commerce, facilities will need to look at new ways to drive operational efficiency to meet growing demands,” Simon adds.

“An employee can only work as fast as the equipment they need to complete the job,” according to Trish Skarda, sales and marketing for battery supplier Green Cubes. “Dock-to-stock cycle time is crucial to inbound operations. With multiple forklifts and pallet jacks being needed for this process, it’s not only the productivity of the employees that guides the measurement of efficiency, but also the power supply of the equipment.”

Electric forklifts are the equipment of choice in warehousing 

Forklifts have become an indispensable piece of equipment in manufacturing ….. For warehouses and other indoor applications, electric forklifts have the advantage. Electric forklifts are primarily used indoors on flat, even surfaces. Batteries prevent the emission of harmful fumes and are recommended for indoor facilities, such as food-processing and healthcare sectors.

The clever solution – tow tractors

Equipment collaboration seems a smart way to make warehouses more efficient. Often the equipment of choice in the warehouse is a forklift, good for loading and unloading product and for picking purposes, but not so safe or efficient for moving product around the warehouse. Simon believes that tow tractors can fill that niche. “Tow tractors are a safer and more efficient option to move goods throughout a facility,” he says “One case study Polaris undertook measured efficiencies between a forklift and a tow tractor delivering product to five different stations in a facility. The study revealed that one tow tractor delivered the same amount of goods to the five different locations 40% faster than the forklift operator. Tow tractors also allow operations to use fewer people for moving goods, freeing up resources to help in other areas to optimise workflows.”

Toyota TD25 Towing Tractor

Forklifts are key in the operation and the movement of goods within a warehouse, but no two warehouses are alike, either in design or utilisation.

“Warehouse managers assess their needs and acquire only as much equipment as needed, ensuring that forklifts are being fully utilised. This often means that the forklifts are under continuous demand, (and) as tyres are the number one consumable on a forklift, it stands to reason that an efficient operation wants to maximise life and ensure there are no failures, so equipment remains productive and downtime is managed,” says Stratton.


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