What are the questions you’ve always wanted to ask about materials handling solutions for today’s tough industrial conditions?
At Hyster Company, we pride ourselves on our ability to respond to industry challenges by providing materials handling solutions designed to meet specific needs or solve common problems. In this blog post, we’ve pulled together some of the questions we are frequently asked. Get in touch if you think there’s anything we’ve missed.
What do tough materials handling operations look like?
Anything from a difficult physical environment – extremes of temperature or dirt, for example – to considerations such as tight deadlines, constrained space, variable demands and high supply chain pressure.
How do we begin to cope with those pressures?
Planning and strategy is key, so that organisations understand the precise nature of the challenge faced. Investment in specialised equipment can help, but so too can the tools that sit around that equipment from warehouse planning software to inventory management products.
Is advice available?
Yes. Look for product providers that will take the time to understand your business’s specific needs and work with you to identify the most appropriate solutions.
Will new equipment replace people?
While we are now moving towards greater automation, efficient materials handling still relies on skilled operators. It is imperative to go on recruiting and training staff so they have the skills required to operate modern equipment.
Should we move towards just-in-time operations?
That’s a commercial decision for every organisation in the supply chain. But for those businesses that do want to secure the advantages of operating this way, investing in materials handling must be a priority, since the ability to move materials around quickly and efficiently sits at the heart of the just-in-time model.
How flexible must we be?
Successful logistics operators recognise that supply chain processes are not set in stone and that they must respond to the changing nature of the business and its market environment. Modern materials handling equipment will give organisations the flexibility to respond accordingly.
What are the big risks to contend with?
Safety must be an absolute priority. Beyond that, invest in reliable equipment that minimises downtime. Aim to eliminate inefficiency through analysis of all the pressure points in your working environment.
What can we do for ourselves?
Get the basics right. Keep the working environment as clean and tidy as possible. Train staff to use equipment properly. Stay on top of routine equipment checks and maintenance.
What difference will new technologies make?
Advances in areas such as analytics, automation, robotics, wearables and the Internet of Things all hold much promise for companies struggling with tough materials handling operations. But don’t discount the role of technology in promoting improved product design throughout the industry.
Will investment in this area be prohibitively expensive?
While any investment requires resources, the opportunity cost of not investing may be even higher. Modern equipment and technology offers organisations the opportunity to face down the challenges of tough materials handling operations – and to secure a substantial and enduring benefit to the bottom line.