Who is Integrated Strategies?

November 13, 2007

Forklifts, Order Pickers and Pallet Jacks.....Oh, My!

Sorry for the late post today and for the cheesy title. I simply go with pops into my head too often for that. Forbes.com has a great article today on Crown Lift Trucks. Crown is another company that we have worked with a lot when we deal with warehouse design and equipment. It seems like every time we've needed something out of the ordinary they were able to pull it together for us.

Yesterday we discussed warehouse metrics and I'd like to tie this in with that. Having the proper storage equipment and material handling systems is critical to proper productivity. Racking and forklifts go hand in hand. Sure if you want to set your warehouse up to handle every type of forklift available you can. Throw 12 foot aisles in everywhere and you really won't have an issue using any piece of equipment you can find off the street. You're sacrificing all kinds of valuable real estate, but if up front costs are all you care about then you may be onto something.

If you operate either a high volume or large footprint warehouse then you know how much that forklifts cost over the life of your operation. Nothing has more far reaching impact as your equipment. Proper material handling strategy can help ensure that your warehouse is successful. There are all kinds of concepts that we could go into that would blend together the use of a Warehouse Management System, product storage areas and material handling equipment. That will have to be a post for another day to really give it the thought it deserves.

On a high level though you need three strategies no matter the size of your operation:

1) Receiving
2) Putaway and Picking
3) Shipping

These are three distinct areas of the warehouse that have a high chance of handling either different volumes of product or different sizes of products. Any material handling decision that you make should always account several factors:

1) Size of product to be handled (there could be multiple)
2) Volume of each size product through the area
3) Space you have available to work in

It can sometimes not be obvious what the obvious solution is. There are so many factors that go into making the proper warehouse design factors that it can be hard to really wrap your hands around it. Once you do get it figured out it looks really good and works very well.

Our relationships with both ISS and Crown put us in the ideal position to design and implement the best warehosue solutions for your company or to give you the help you need to put it together internally. The life span of a warehouse implementation can be anywhere from 3 to 10 years. That is a long time to be losing money because a bad plan was put into place.

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