Australia's #1 industrial directory for equipment & suppliers

How to lower your materials handling costs

Supplier: Adaptalift Hyster
27 March, 2013

It has become more challenging in recent years to reduce the cost of materials handling without decreasing levels of productivity.

A reduction in costs means an increase in profit, so it is therefore important to consider where you can save money.

There are commonalities within many businesses, that when combined, lead to a serious loss of profit. In order to make improvements and further profit margins, it is important to consider, that one of the many benefits of improving efficiency within your business, is an increase in profit.

Choose application specific equipment

It is important to buy equipment for the job at hand; this is significant in reducing overall costs.

It is common for equipment to be used in applications in which it was not designed to be used. Work with professionals who are able to survey your applications to ensure that you are using the right equipment for each job. Using the correct equipment with the right specifications means efficient and productive results.

Choose the right service provider

Before choosing a service provider, you must establish a consistent performance expectation. Ensure you are aware of the following: how often the technicians are trained; parts and labour rates; potential costs for a service technician's time in transit; and if they have GPS tracking.

A good service provider will know the whereabouts of each technician and will be able to dispatch the closest one in order to save their customer time and money.

Invest in a robust training program

OSHA requires operator safety training and a daily inspection of equipment is one of their requirements. Many companies train their operators regarding safe operation, although, more often than not, this is where the training stops.

If you invest in the training of your employees, to perform daily inspections and to know what to look for, you will see results. This ensures that any equipment that is in need of repair will stay off the operating floor and that small repairs will be handled before they become a major problem.

Reduce shift overlap

Ensure that shift overlap remains at a minimum. If a business ran two shifts, five days per week with 30 operators on each shift, then two-hour overlaps of 15 operators automatically requires them to have 45 lift trucks.

If there were no overlap, the business would have been able to cut that by 15 trucks. In one year, you would see a 10-45 per cent decrease in costs.

Choose the right tyre for your forklifts

It is easy to overlook the tyre in regards to reducing overall material handling costs. However, choosing the wrong tyre can result in a dramatic increase in fleet operating costs, as well as increased safety risks. A properly chosen tyre can last up to 40 per cent longer.

When choosing the correct tyre, aspects you must consider are: the weight of the load; the type of surfaces you are operating on; if the forklift is used for multiple shifts; what percentage of time the forklift is loaded; and the average speed/top speed of the forklift.

If you are evaluating tyres for more than one forklift, you must be prepared to answer questions for each unit.

Work with a single source dealership

The more work you are able to assign to a qualified and reliable supplier, the fewer calls you will have to make. In turn, the supplier will become familiar with your equipment, facility and applications.

Using one company, that provides everything, from fleet management to maintenance, results in greater efficiencies for you.

This allows your supplier to gain a better understanding of your operation and make logical decisions that can reduce your costs, increase your efficiency and improve your bottom line.

Planned maintenance

You should be able to work with your service provider to determine appropriate intervals for planned maintenance. Many businesses schedule their planned maintenance based on the calendar. However, in actuality it can make more sense to schedule planned maintenance based on the hours of use.

It is also important to note that before the technician begins work, a quick exchange of information can save thousands. This will allow the technician to have a better understanding of the trucks history and how they are able to complete repairs.

Reducing materials handling costs can improve efficiency when improvements are implemented correctly. It is important to ensure that you do not reduce costs, through cutting corners and to realise that a safe and smart operation results in an increase in profits.