The Best Way to Beat Warehouse Inefficiencies

March 29, 2023

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 receiving and warehousing. 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 destinations.
  • You use a gravity conveyor in which employees physically push packages down the line to a waiting cart or storage location.
  • You use forklifts or pallet jacks 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 an employee handles a product, your costs go up and efficiencies go down. In the third scenario, physical labor is greatly reduced but inefficiencies still exist due to the use of pallets. Pallet loaded shipments often cannot take advantage of all the usable space in a delivery 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 flexible powered conveyor.

The Answer: Flexible Powered Conveyors

Flexible powered conveyors make it simple to move products from a trailer to its final 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.

Flexible Powered Conveyor Checklist

Before investing in a flexible powered conveyor, you’ll want to make sure the system you choose truly helps you gain efficiencies. Not all flexible 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 packages 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, preventing packages from impacting each other, ensuring 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 AgiliFlex – a flexible powered conveyor to maximize your efficiencies and productivity. 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? For more information on the AgiliFlex, please contact us. Check out the AgiliFlex here.


Related Resources


A breakdown of material handling equipment: Forklifts, carts and conveyors

Outfit your retail or warehouse facility with the right material handling equipment and you’ll get work done quickly and securely. But get it wrong and you jeopardize efficiency, safety and your bottom line.


When you might need more than an off-the-shelf cart

Some operations can’t solve material handling inefficiencies with just any four wheels and a shelf. So you need to know what cart is right for you.


Combat Labor Shortages with Automation

Strong economic growth coupled with an extremely tight labor market have created a perfect storm for the material handling industry. Demand for your products is up, but your ability to deliver those products is strained because you simply don’t have the personnel to meet every order.


Gain a Competitive E-Commerce Advantage with Supply Chain Automation

Some call it the Amazon effect. The rise of e-commerce has heavily impacted the way consumers shop, the way retailers sell, and definitely the way the material handling industry addresses supply chain challenges. What does the Amazon effect mean for material handling?


Retail Stocking Hazards: Are you using the right equipment?

Accidents happen. Even during what seems like a simple task of stocking a retail shelf, a lot can go wrong – and our customers have seen it all.


It’s All About Click and Collect – Your customers are ready for eCommerce. Are you?

Check out this infographic about click and collect. Did you know click and collect sales are expected to shatter $140B in the U.S. in 2024?


Efficiency and Profitability In Click and Collect White Paper

Efficiency. That’s the one word that best defines the key to retail success moving forward in the post-pandemic era.


ProStock® Series Ladder Cart Sell Sheet

The ProStock® Series Ladder Cart is one of the easiest, safest, and most efficient stocking solutions in the industry.


AgiliFlex® Flexible Powered Conveyor Sell Sheet

Expedite product receiving, shipping, and cross-docking with the new Cannon Equipment AgiliFlex® Flexible Powered Conveyor.


AgiliFlex® Flexible Powered Conveyor Online Configurator

Start building your AgiliFlex® flexible powered conveyor! Answer a few simple questions to get started!


Why Click and Collect is Here to Stay

Consumers who turned to click and collect to make their shopping experiences quick and easy during 2020 discovered the benefits of in-home shopping and easy pickup.


How to Differentiate Your Click and Collect Program To Drive Customer Loyalty

Learn how the effects of the pandemic have changed the way people shop and how their loyalties have shifted. We'll touch on three ways to create the retail experience customers want.

Join a thriving workforce at Cannon Equipment

View Current Openings