There’s still room for workers in the warehouse

You need to be able to fulfill deliveries correctly.

You need to be able to fulfill deliveries correctly.

The material handling industry has experienced a lot of changes over the past several years, but one issue that has remained consistent is being able to find and retained workers with the right skillset. While there has been a lot of talk about the warehouse becoming more automated, there is still a need for human talent on the workforce to oversee the materials being delivered on the hand trucks.

Quartz reports that while a lot of the building processes in the warehouse can be done by robots, the actual packaging should still be completed by workers. This can help provide a layer of quality assurance as companies look to keep their customers satisfied in a very competitive market. When fulfilling orders, it’s important to have someone checking to make sure all the right materials are going where they need to. However, building components can be increasingly automated as technologies have advanced for certain processes.

Bloomberg reports that ecommerce and its unique ordering is what keeps people working in the warehouse. Because customers are looking for specific items within their orders, it’s critical that there is someone available to individually package each order. This helps reduce the risk that an order is sent incomplete or to the wrong individual.

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Supply chain flaws could lead to a loss in money

Are all moving parts of the supply chain reputable?

Are all moving parts of the supply chain reputable?

Omni-channel strategy is more important than ever, with everyone from the suppliers to the delivery companies to the material handlers working together to deliver the best product possible at an efficient pace to the client. However, a disruption, even the smallest instance of not having the right materials on the lift truck and delaying production, could affect overall revenue.

According to Material Handling and Logistics, challenges within the cross-channel system have led to revenue losses as companies look to increase their market share by providing the most efficient service. However, problems within the chain and customer dissatisfaction can lead to a loss in sales. The news provider reports 45 percent of suppliers have lost at least $1 million in revenue due to challenges within the cross-channel system. This means that any innovations need to be made in an effort to get all of the moving pieces of a supply channel on the same foot.

However, reality dive reports that industry leaders have found that by investing more of their margins into their ecommerce, they’re able to make strides in preventing supply chain fiascos from occurring. Making sure all managers of each aspect of the supply chain are on the same page is critical, so it’s important that when choosing providers, you do your research and make sure everyone is reputable.

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Do your research when picking a supply chain partner

Do you have a good partners in your supply chain?

Do you have a good partners in your supply chain?

Those in the material handling industry know the importance of having an efficient supply chain. With consumer demand higher than ever and companies trying to compete for market share, having a strong supply chain is a necessity. It goes beyond having the right material handling equipment such as pallet jacks and hand trucks, you need to have a strong team in place.

According to DC Velocity, it’s all in your supply chain research. You need to look into different providers throughout the supply chain and consider a lot of factors when choosing a partner. The news provider suggests looking into value, common interest and the potential partner’s processes and overall strategy. This can help you ensure that your supply chain goals align.

You also need to remember that recognition matters. According to Business 2 Community, look at a potential partner’s certifications to ensure that they are knowledgeable enough to comply with regulations. Additionally, if they have any certifications in using advanced technologies, they may be able to keep production going at an efficient pace.

The news provider also suggests looking into the financial information of any potential partner, as a poor revenue model can be an indicator that you should avoid going into business with them.

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Keeping up with ecommerce means adopting the omni channel strategy

Are you able to fulfill orders and stay competitive?

Are you able to fulfill orders and stay competitive?

The material handling industry has seen a dramatic increase in demand with the rise in e-commerce. The omni-channel supply chain is ever present, with companies looking to fulfill customer orders at lightning paces to make sure they stay competitive against their peers. This means that warehouse crews are loading up inventory on to hand trucks at a fast-paced rate as they try to fulfill orders.

According to Modern Materials Handling, all aspects of the omni-channel from manufacturing to distribution to order fulfillment are seeing strains due to demand. This means that managers need to have efficient practices in place at all aspects of the supply chain to ensure there is no drop off at any point during the order fulfillment.

Forbes reports that adopting an omni channel system is the only way retailers who are venturing into ecommerce can stay competitive. As everyone tries to get a piece of market share, it’s no longer just a matter of getting consumers’ attention with marketing; retailers need to be able to meet consumer demands wherever they are, and having multiple warehouses for distribution, an efficient staff and and partners within the shipping industry are all ways to ensure that happens.

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Warehouse managers struggle to keep staff

You want to work on retaining top talent.

You want to work on retaining top talent.

Hiring the right team can be a challenge for many warehouse managers. It’s not just anyone who can move hand trucks filled with inventory around. For one, staff should be in physical shape to be able to move the inventory. They also should have a strategic mindset for making the most out of the storage space.

According to Material Handling & Logistics, hiring and keeping strong employees on staff is the biggest problem for supply chain managers. The news provider points to a survey where 63 percent of respondents said that they were having difficulty hiring and retaining their top talent, increasing from 58 percent the previous year. Once they hire on employees, many are still struggling to find time to train with the latest innovations. The news provider also reports that only 50 percent of respondents said training the workforce on new technology was a top priority.

To keep people on staff, you want to show them how they can grow. Inbound Logistics suggests creating a leadership path for your staff, as a gap between middle and senior management can often hinder the workplace. Instead, identify your stronger performers and communicate to them how they can grow to the next level, so they’re energized to stay on task and feel valued at work.

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Think about energy usage, space when reducing operational costs

Physically move materials to save on energy usage.

Physically move materials to save on energy usage.

Material handling requires a lot of equipment, both in the form of physical equipment such as hand trucks and pallet jacks to move the material around and the digital component of automated systems and the internet of things. However, there can be a drain of resources if too much technology is taking over your electric costs.

According to DC Velocity, there are ways to make sure that your technology isn’t taking up too much of your costs. For example, the source reports that automated conveyors use a lot more energy when they are going at a high speed. So even if you want to stay efficient, you may want to slow down the speed of the conveyer so you can preserve its energy usage.

If you notice the electric bill creeping up, you may want to consider using more material handling equipment such as hand trucks to move the items physically, without wasting electricity.

The structure of your warehouse is also important. According to Supply Chain Digital, vertical warehouses are more cost efficient because it reduces the space’s overall footprint. Not only does it allow for you to store more inventory in smaller square footage, but the vertical material handling equipment can also save space.

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Manufacturing shows more signs of growth in March

Manufacturing production continues to show growth.

Manufacturing production continues to show growth.

The manufacturing industry continues to show positive strides in output, giving economists reason to believe that there will be bustling warehouses. While February saw hand trucks moving with more inventory for output than in the past three years, March’s recent reading shows that growth isn’t slowing down.

Bloomberg reports that the Institute of Supply Management reported continued growth in the manufacturing industry. The source points out that while orders were lower than they were in February, March continued to show that growth is happening, after the past couple of years of manufacturing downtown. Economists think this is a positive sign for the sector, which took a big hit with the recession. The news provider reports that there has been growth in six of the past seven months. According to the source, this jump has been a bright spot for the economy as household spending has remained relatively unchanged if not small growth.

Reuters points to big gains across Europe and China, with the latter experiencing the biggest manufacturing expansion in the past five years. However, some economists are worried that the U.S.’s position on trade could affect the global manufacturing trends in the long-term. For now, it appears the sector is in recover mode.

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Don’t skimp when looking for a delivery partner, focus on performance

Are you meeting your deliveries?

Are you meeting your deliveries?

When trying to provide the best service in your material handling business, you need to make sure all other business partners are on the same page. Even if you’re moving hand trucks filled with inventory at an efficient pace, if the inventory is getting lost in the shuffle by other partners.

According to Supply Chain Dive, it can be a major hindrance if a delivery partner is not up to the job. The news provider reports that 55 percent of survey respondents said that delivery performance was the most important aspect they looked at when trying to pick a partner. Additionally, the company’s financial stability and overall experience working within the industry were also important factors when choosing a delivery partner.

The source also suggests that material handlers should be willing to let some things slide, as there can always be a delay in the system, but if delivery delays are happening more frequently, then it might be time to look for a new partner.

According to Modern Materials Handling, manufacturers in the auto industry are putting an emphasis on their delivery strategies to make sure that they’re getting the right products to the right people on time.

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Warehouse workers are increasing in age

Reduce the physical aspects of the job with equipment.

Reduce the physical aspects of the job with equipment.

Working in the material handling industry means you need to be physically fit and able to handle equipment such as hand trucks and pallet jacks as you move inventory around. However, there is an increasing number of people who are aging in the workforce, which could lead to some people having to step back.

According to DC Velocity, one in four workers who are still in the workforce have reached their 67th birthday and government officials expect a quarter of the workforce to be at least 55 years old. Managers may want to keep this in mind when they’re thinking about what roles to keep their employees in. If older workers are doing some strenuous physical labor that comes with material handling, it might be wise to make sure they have the equipment to help reduce the load.

The news provider reports that because of automation, more managers are able to accommodate the aging workforce by improving technological processes. According to Supply Chain Brain, as the warehouse employees age, it gets harder to meet the physical requirements of the job. By investing in more technology, warehouse managers can attract older workers who would otherwise be intimidated by the labor that typically comes with the job.

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Companies put a bigger focus on protective packaging

Packaging could get larger in order to protect items.

Packaging could get larger in order to protect items.

Packaging could be getting larger and more awkward to handle without the help of a hand truck as companies are increasingly looking to deliver both on service and quality. Modern Materials Handling reports that more retailers are looking to increase the amount of protective packaging they use in orders in an effort to reduce the margin of error when working with third party shippers.

The news provider reports that the protective packaging market is expected to be worth $42 billion by 2026 as developing countries look to also adopt this method of packaging. Inflatables are growing increasingly popular as businesses look to provide an extra cushion to protect goods as they’re being shipped.

As companies are also trying to reduce their carbon footprint as well, there is a lot of attention being paid to the kind of protecting packaging they’re using and whether or not it’s recyclable. According to Material Handling & Logistics, most options tend to either fall into the plastic or paper category. However, Modern Materials Handling reports that more companies are looking into paper options. Material Handling & Logistics said that crumpled paper is increasingly a popular choice, because it’s environmentally friendly and can be used again. This can provide both a level of protection and meet environmental needs.