Getting the Most from Your Supply Chain: Part II of an Ongoing ROI Series

ROI - L4F drumhandling attachment

A L4F drum handling attachment from Liftomatic being used to collect 4 drums at one time at the end of a conveyor line – no manual handling and only a single operator involved.

If our decades of experience in the material handling  field have taught us one overriding lesson, then it’s how best to optimize a distribution center or warehousing company’s ROI in drum handling operations. If it means updating inefficient equipment and work procedures to meet the demands of the market (not to mention your competition), then so be it. One must not only be assiduous in how one sums up the current needs of his or her operation, one must also anticipate trends, opportunities, and backlashes that might come along the way. One must get in the habit of gauging where the industry is gradually heading, as well as determining where the profit is being made (and getting lost), and then plan accordingly. So much of warehousing is a do-or-die business, and every advantage and/or trick-of-the-trade can mean the difference between black and red ink.

Take the common case of what we encounter frequently in China (though this certainly applies to many warehousing outfits in the Americas and elsewhere globally): a company that not only possesses a vast amount of warehousing space, but boasts a large, able-bodied workforce that can carry out any task given to them. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, nothing’s wrong, unless the company in question isn’t utilizing its warehousing space to maximum effect. This often happens when the company tries to use brute labor in place of technology. If the company in question only uses manual hand trucks for instance, there’s no human way to lift and stack drums higher than a single barrel high in a warehouse. Rather, forklifts with drum-handling attachments are needed. With a forklift, you can stack drums many units high – as high as the forklift’s hydraulics and integrity of the drums will allow. Imagine being able to increase cubic utilization by two, or even three times.

Investing in the right equipment may not feel beneficial in the short run, especially when it comes to your operating capital. But given the long-term advantage of exponentially growing your storage capacity, the savings costs may well be worth it.

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