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.