Business

Warehouse Equipment: Must-Have Pieces for Streamlining Processes

Warehouses operate as complex engines. They’re made up of people who use a wide range of equipment, including tools and machinery across various processing areas. 

And while the people working are the centrepiece of the machine, having the right equipment is essential to complementing their effort and optimising their performance. Not to mention, proper warehouse equipment is crucial to keep the workers as the backbone of the warehouse safe and protected against various accidents that can arise. That being said, choosing the right equipment is key to saving time and money, reducing stress, increasing productivity and preventing injuries. 

So, which pieces of equipment are considered essential for the operations of a warehouse? Well, there’s not a one-piece-fits-all solution, as different facilities have different processes and operations. For instance, warehouses dealing with liquid materials in drums will require different machinery compared to warehouses dealing with packages and pallets. 

Nevertheless, there are a few types of equipment that most warehouses should have on-site. These are all crucial for productivity and efficiency, and also reduce the chances of product damage and injuries.

Dock Machinery

Having dock machinery to help you with your shipping and receiving processes is crucial. Choose the wrong equipment, however, and you’ll do more harm than good. Safety should always be the top priority in warehouses, and it’s no different when it comes to choosing dock machinery. 

Optimising the workflow in your dock area requires quality loading equipment that will help you transfer products from and to trucks or vans. Truck designs keep changing, and safety is becoming more important than ever. The right dock machinery will make your processes customisable, efficient, safer and more time-efficient for your workers. Here are some of the most popular pieces of dock equipment:

  • Dock Boards
  • Dock Plates
  • Truck Restraints
  • Dock Seals
  • Dock Shelters
  • Edge of Dock Levelers
  • Yard Ramps
  • Wheel Chocks
  • Dock Bumpers
  • Dock Lifts
  • Dock Levelers

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Lifting Equipment

Lifting equipment includes all the different types of equipment and machines that can help streamline the storage and transportation of products. A piece of unstable lifting equipment can be a safety hazard, resulting in poor handling when dealing with products. Additionally, it can damage the products and the workspace, and hurt people.

That being said, the various types of electric lifters are the most popular piece of lifting equipment, but there are countless more options. In order to choose the right lifting equipment, consider the type of products you deal with, and the height of your racks or shelves

Lifting equipment like electric lifters can be quite expensive, but they play the biggest role in streamlining your operations. Furthermore, they reduce manual labour, are very customisable and easy to maintain. Examples of other lifting equipment include:

  • Forklifts
  • Hand Trolleys
  • Hoists
  • Cranes
  • Pallet Jacks
  • Drum Lifters
  • Drum Stackers
  • Scissor Lifts

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Storage Equipment

The right storage equipment will help you make the most out of your space and improve product turnaround. It will help employees find what they’re looking for quickly, and protect everything you store from potential damage. Moreover, storage equipment is versatile and available in a wide range of options to match your specific needs. Most commonly used storage solutions include:

  • Racks
  • Shelves
  • Bins
  • Totes
  • Carousels

Packaging Equipment

Packaging equipment is used to wrap your products or act as containers to protect the belongings from damage during transit and provide easy handling. Furthermore, it plays a crucial role in your shipping operations and it can help your employees pack faster. The right equipment can reduce labour, as well as labour costs, and provide consistently good packaging. On top of that, it improves inventory control, saving time on inventory counting. Popular options include:

Conveyors

Conveyors are material handling equipment that allows you to move large quantities of products from one place to another. Compared to manual handling pieces of equipment, conveyors can completely automate your process and save time and labour. On top of this, they require minimal human involvement, reducing the risk of injuries to a minimum. 

Depending on the conveyor, it can help picking, packaging, and dispatching times while automating and streamlining the weighting, dimensioning and sorting processes. Like most material handling equipment, conveyors can be costly, but the benefits make them one of the most valuable investments when used in the right processes. There are different types of conveyors, including:

  • Conveyor Belts
  • Gravity Roller Conveyors
  • Plastic Belt Conveyors
  • Chain Conveyors
  • Spiral Conveyors
  • Vertical Conveyors
  • Pneumatic Conveyors
  • Automotive Conveyors
  • Dust-proof Conveyors

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Things to Consider When Choosing Warehouse Equipment

There are a few things you should consider before buying any type of warehouse equipment in order to ensure you choose the right pieces. First and foremost, you have to consider your available space and working conditions. If your warehouse is small and doesn’t have enough space for forklifts to manoeuver in it, what’s the point in having a forklift? Instead, you’d be better off with a pallet jack, or electric trolley. 

Moreover, you have to consider the maintenance requirements of the equipment, as they can be a significant running cost for your business. Electric equipment requires more maintenance than manual equipment, for instance. That being said, also make sure you buy equipment that comes with a longer warranty, is serviceable and has readily available replacement parts. 

Lastly, make sure your staff is properly trained to use the equipment. This will not only improve the safety of your employees but also ensure efficiency and that the equipment is not damaged in the process. Make sure your employees have the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE), and that they wear it properly so that you’re in compliance with all the relevant OSHA regulations.

Huynh Nguyen

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