You don’t have time to be inefficient – especially if you’re in an industry with tight profit margins. You know that the faster you can move products, the more profit you stand to make.
Inefficiencies in your operations can take many forms but one of the most visible places is in your receiving and warehousing space. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American warehouse wastes 6.9 weeks a year on unnecessary motion (or inefficiencies) for a cost of $4.3 billion, or 265 million hours of labor annually.
Clearly, there’s time and money to be saved in your warehouse or backroom, but the key is identifying where inefficiencies exist and figuring out how to correct them. In this article, we’ll explore how your warehouse receiving procedures may be eating up time and profits.
The Problem: Inefficient Receiving Procedures
When the delivery truck arrives at your business, what does the unloading process look like?
- Multiple employees physically lift and carry boxes off the truck and deliver those items to their final destinations.
- You use a gravity conveyor system in which employees physically push packages down the line to a waiting cart or storage destination.
- You use forklifts or palletjacks to remove pallets from the truck and deliver them to the appropriate locations.
If your unloading process resembles any of the three scenarios above, you may have opportunities to gain efficiencies.
The first two scenarios rely on a high degree of physical labor. Every time a person touches a product, the price of that product goes up and efficiencies go down. In the third scenario, physical labor is greatly reduced but inefficiencies still exist due to the use of pallets. Loading products on a truck with pallets greatly decreases the amount of vertical available space in the truck, which means less product is delivered in a single truckload.
Obviously, none of the above scenarios is ideal if your goal is to be more efficient. Fortunately, there is a way to easily expedite the receiving process – and that’s by using a powered conveyor system.
The Answer: Powered Conveyors
Powered conveyor systems move products from the truck dock to delivery carts or another destination. The beauty of these systems is that because they’re powered, they don’t rely manual labor to move products along the line – eliminating unnecessary motion. These systems simply require a worker to lift packages from the truck and onto the conveyor, which then moves the packages to the end of the line. If your shipment contains products destined for multiple locations in your store, you can position workers throughout the line to pick products as needed, thus gaining efficiencies.
Before You Invest: Powered Conveyor Checklist
If you’re considering moving to a powered conveyor system, you’ll want to make sure the system you choose truly helps you gain efficiencies. Not all powered conveyors are created equal, so it’s important to make sure you find one with the following features:
Zero Pressure Accumulation
The last thing you want is a conveyor system that ends up crushing your packages or allowing them to fall off the end of the line. If your products are damaged you haven’t gained any efficiencies and certainly haven’t saved any money. Zero pressure accumulation technology can start or stop each zone independently to ensure your packages move safely and efficiently.
User Friendly Design
If your employees find it difficult to operate and maintain your conveyor system, you won’t save time or gain efficiencies. Look for a system that’s intuitive with convenient controls, full safety features, and long-lasting construction.
Compatible with Your Space
Typically, fixed conveyor systems require a large footprint, so if space is at a premium in your facility, you’ll want to take that into consideration. Look for conveyance that’s modular or one that can be condensed to save space.
A Conveyor that Checks All the Boxes
Cannon Equipment recently unveiled a flexible powered conveyor – a modular conveyance system that is truly plug and play. Built on rolling casters, you simply expand and configure the conveyor around your available space, plug it into any 120-volt outlet and start moving products from point A to point B, while zero pressure accumulation technology keeps materials moving safely and prevents damage. When not in use, the conveyor condenses for convenient storage.
How Can Cannon Equipment Help You Gain Efficiencies?