Material handling solutions are more than just a few storage racks and conveyor belts. A truly effective material handling plan requires forethought and strategic planning to create a warehouse layout that moves, picks, packs, and stores your materials in the most timely and safe manner possible.
Because so much goes into setting up and maintaining good material handling solutions, it’s easy to make unintentional mistakes with how you operate them within your facility. To help you improve upon your material handling solutions or plan a new set-up, here are six common mistakes you might be making with your material handling solutions:
1. Limited Storage Options
Storage is the name of the game when it comes to handling materials. Even in a facility where the materials are constantly on the move, you will need some level of storage for materials before and after processing. These storage solutions should include enough variety to accommodate all the diverse materials moving through your facility, from fast-moving lightweight materials to heavier materials that sit in storage for a long time.
The types of storage you need for your material handling facility depend on the steps required to process the materials on entry into the facility and before being shipped out. In most cases, this will involve some picking and packing, so it’s important to store materials in an organized manner that decreases the amount of time it takes workers to pick the right materials and pack them accordingly.
2. Not Using Automation
One of the greatest assets you can give your material handling facility is automation! Many different types of material handling equipment are designed to add automation to your material handling processes and increase efficiency. Here are some of the best options for automating your material handling:
- Conveyor belt systems
- Robotic parts handlers
- Mechanized work stations
- Vertical carousels
Having too much contact between workers and materials increases the chances of human error affecting product quality and can significantly slow down the movement of materials through your facility. Automation keeps everything moving efficiently, saving you precious time and money.
3. Infrequent Equipment Maintenance
Poorly-maintained material handling equipment is at risk of breakdown or even total failure. Issues like conveyor belt failure can completely stall entire processes, quickly delaying your entire business as materials are unable to continue moving. Regular preventative maintenance and inspections of your material handling equipment can save you the stress of emergency repair situations by ensuring your equipment is in peak condition at all times.
At Mathews Mechanical, we offer preventative maintenance for all manner of industrial machines used for material handling, including conveyor systems, pallet racks, pick modules, bin dumpers, lifts, and mechanized workstations.
4. Inefficient Use of Space
Using the space at your disposal is a vital but often overlooked component of material handling solutions. Your material handling solutions can become less effective when the space is too crowded or has too much dead space. Additionally, not taking advantage of vertical space and overhead storage is a missed opportunity for even more storage that can make the most of all parts of your facility.
To solve space-related problems, your facility’s layout should be designed by an expert in material handling solutions. Even then, standard racks and dollies may not give you what you need to make the most out of your space, and that’s an indication to consider custom options.
5. Not Customizing Your Solutions
Many of the issues listed above can be solved through strategically customized material handling solutions. Having a simple conveyor belt through the center of your warehouse with standard pallet racks lining the walls may be the cheapest option now, but it will cost you a lot of time and efficiency. Custom material handling solutions are designed and built for your unique needs to increase efficiency and, in doing so, improve your profits by allowing you to move greater quantities of materials faster.
Material handling solutions should always be customized to best meet the needs of the business, the materials being handled, and the space available. A high-quality mechanical contractor like our team at Mathews Mechanical can work closely with you to develop the best possible custom solutions for your material handling facility, integrating automation and the right equipment for the job with a strategic layout to make your entire facility feel brand new and completely intuitive.
Bring Us In to Upgrade Your Material Handling Solutions!
If your facility is limited by your storage options or through a lack of automation, or if you just need a reliable mechanical contractor on call for emergency maintenance situations, Mathews Mechanical is here to help! We’re experienced in all aspects of designing, installing, maintaining, and repairing material handling solutions that are the backbone of your entire operation. Contact us to request service or learn more about all the options available to you.