Pallet jacks need maintenance to keep up with demand

Are you taking good care of your pallet jacks?

Are you taking good care of your pallet jacks?

Depending on what pallet trucks are used for, they need to be able some tough conditions. As DC Velocity points out, this material handling equipment could be used nearly all hours of the day and have to be in different temperatures, depending on the kinds of goods they’re moving. This doesn’t even account of weather conditions, which could also have an effect.

The news provider also reports that depending on the layout of the warehouse, pallet jacks may have to be easy to maneuver even in tight angles. However, they’re incredibly valuable pieces of equipment that can help reduce the strain of warehouse workers, and also improve productivity as they move a lot of inventory at once.

With the harsh demands of the equipment while on the job, it’s important managers look to extend their shelf life. According to Food Manufacturing, all employees who use the pallet jacks should be trained on handling them properly. This can reduce the chances of user error and prolong the life. Additionally, taking the time to do preventative maintenance on small issues can not only extend the life of the equipment, but it can also save money on having to do any major repairs, which can sometimes outweigh the cost of a new pallet jack.

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Be sure to have proper supply chain visibility

Always track inventory throughout the entire process.

Always track inventory throughout the entire process.

Do you have visibility into the workings of your supply chain? Dealing with inventory from production to the sales floor can be overwhelming, although technology has made it easier to track. Now warehouse workers should be scanning the piece every time they move it somewhere with a pallet jack, because managers need to know where the inventory is so they can properly predict demand.

According to Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine, managers need to constantly be looking at what products are shipping, what the demand has been like and whether or not they have the capacity in the warehouse for more. Having an overview of the supply chain outlook can help managers make sure they aren’t caught off-guard by significant demand.

The news provider points to the dangers of not having a clear supply picture, such as having a surplus of inventory that can’t sell or not being able to fulfill customer demand.

According to the Wall Street Journal, warehouse managers should also try to look at other environmental issues that could affect the supply chain, such as a shortage in materials or anything changing in labor laws that could affect production. This can help improve risk management even more than having software that tracks inventory, as it creates a more thorough strategy.

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Material handling equipment can help on the job with heavy objects

Pallet jacks can help reduce strain.

Pallet jacks can help reduce strain.

Professionals who work in a warehouse environment sometimes find that they need to be in peak physical condition in order to handle the job. While there are material handling equipment such as pallet jacks, lift trucks and other machines to help on the job, some workers may find that heavy lifting is in their job description.

In cases like this, safety should always be at the forefront of concern. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, lifting something that weighs more than 50 pounds could increase one’s risk of injury. If a person is in an awkward position while moving a heavy object, the agency says that it could needlessly cause excess strain.

Warehouse managers should offer lessons in the proper way to use material handling equipment such as pallet jacks, and should also teach employees the proper techniques for lifting heavy materials when the job calls for it and there is no equipment solution.

Family Doctor reports that anytime a worker is faced with having to lift heavy objects on the job, they should stretch their arms, leg and back muscles first. This can provide more flexibility, reducing the chance of strain, even if it’s simply lifting something onto a pallet jack.

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Manufacturing sector sees growth in December, finishes year strong

The manufacturing sector could see some growth.

The manufacturing sector could see some growth.

Pallet jacks were busy in the manufacturing industry last month, as the sector finished out the year strong. The manufacturing industry has been closely watched by analysts to determine if there should be any economical concern. After a major downtown during the recession, the industry has been climbing back up, though its progress can experience drawbacks on a monthly basis.

Modern Materials Handling reports the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly Manufacturing Report on Business showed the industry increased its growth by 1.3 percent from the previous month, coming in at 54.7. The news provider reports that this is the highest rating the sector has seen since December 2014, when the reading was 54.9.

Forbes points out that the survey is given to those who are intending to make purchases of manufactured goods. This means that while December shows technical growth, it’s actually that more buyers are planning to spend more in December, meaning that the actual growth will happen later. This could signal higher confidence in the economy, as people who make more purchases tend to see less risk. This may mean that the sector could continue to see expansion if positive trends continue and people feel confident about the economy.

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Could automation help the warehouse make better use of its space?

Do you know how to organize your warehouse for maximum effect?

Do you know how to organize your warehouse for maximum effect?

Trying to find a way to reduce your warehouse utilization? Storage can be tricky, particularly when trying to keep up with consumer demand and finding creative solutions for organization. However, while you’re loading up pallet jacks filled with inventory and trying to find places to fit any available inventory, technology can be your friend.

Modern Materials Handling reports that automated storage systems can help warehouses not only become more time efficient, but also use less overall space. Because these systems are able to automatically retrieve items as well as replenish, warehouse managers have noticed that they’re able to store a lot more than they used to. Not only can this help save money in terms of labor costs, but it can also ensure that a warehouse is being used to its true capacity.

Proper organization in a warehouse can go a long way. According to the Small Business Chronicle, proper warehouse organization can help a business be more effective. Ultimately, this can be a big cost-saver. The news provider suggests managers should take the time to create a floor plan of the warehouse, so whether they’re using automated systems or not, they’re able to find any inventory they need quickly.

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Holiday season expected to bring in more than $1 trillion in sales

Warehouses were busier than ever this holiday season.

Warehouses were busier than ever this holiday season.

The holiday season is always a busy time for retailers, and those who work in the warehouse were working around the clock to make sure the inventory was available for demanding customers. Filling pallet jacks with inventory either for the store or for online orders happened at record-breaking paces, as people came out more than ever to shop this season.

According to Forbes, analysts are predicting that holiday spending is expected to be more than $1 trillion, which is up to a 4 percent increase from the same time period last year. It wasn’t just the big retailers that were raking in the sales; the news provider reports that 13 percent of last-minute shoppers were heading to grocery stores to pick up some gifts for their loved ones. This could be in the form of gift cards or even floral arrangements.

It’s not surprising that sales were up so much. Time Magazine reports that a recent report from the American Research Group found that the average American shopper would spend $929 in holiday presents this past season. However, when looking specifically at parents, that number becomes even higher, with 34 percent of American parents spending at least $500 in gifts for each child.

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Good economy brings challenges to holiday help

Temporary workers are getting scarce.

Temporary workers are getting scarce.

In the final days of the holiday rush, many warehouse managers are finding it has been difficult to find enough people capable of moving pallet jacks and other material handling equipment full of inventory. Because there’s always such a great demand for temporary work from both the supplier and shipper perspectives, there is usually a gap in the amount of qualified employees.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, unemployment has been on the decline in recent years, meaning that less people are in need of temporary work in order to make ends meet. As a result, those that typically increase hiring during these busy few months are struggling to find enough workers to fit the bill.

The news provider reports that managers have been really noticing a difference in this year especially. This comes at a time when the supply chain is already stretched thin due to the overwhelming amount of online orders, not to mention people feeling more at ease with spending more.

Even with tight constraints, it’s critical to make sure new hires are prepared for the job. According to Small Biz Trends, it’s important for managers to make sure that they don’t cut back on training their new employees, and focus on quality rather than quantity to keep safety up.

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More investments could be on the way in the material handling industry

More managers could be investing in material handling.

More managers could be investing in material handling.

More managers may be putting pallet jacks and other kinds of equipment on their wishlists for the next year, as a new report suggests investments in material handling will be on the rise in 2017.

According to a recent report from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, investments made to material handling equipment could grow from anywhere between 3 and 8 percent in the next year. The report suggests that even though this past year was slow for overall material handling investment, there is hope that the new year will see a reinforcement in managers looking to improve their fleets. Experts suggest that while there is much uncertainty on a global level, business confidence continues to be on the rise.

With the rise in equipment investment also comes the prediction that many companies will be looking to improve their software functions as well. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise as this year saw a big drive in improving efficiency. According to Material Handling & Logistics, the majority of surveyed manufacturers were setting their sights on improving their automation. The source suggested that the upfront investments had the potential to change overall production, leading to cost savings in the long-term. This is in an effort to drive efficiency while not putting too much stress on resources.

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Shippers see an uptick in missed delivery times

Shippers are trying to balance demand and cost.

Shippers are trying to balance demand and cost.

Shippers are finding themselves loading up pallet trucks with more orders than ever as e-commerce becomes an increasingly large presence in the holiday shopping realm. Shippers are doing their best to keep up with customer demand, but as more e-tailers are trying to stay competitive, they’re promising fast deliveries in order to keep their customers happy.

There is already some sign of struggle. According to the Wall Street Journal, the on-time rate of deliveries has dropped to above 96 percent. The news provider reports that normally on-time rates are between 98 and 99 percent, but the great demand during the holiday season has caused some shippers to overextend their resources, creating a backlog. While a 96 percent rate still seems high, the news provider points out that because the biggest shippers handle such large quantities of packages, even a small drop could mean hundreds of thousands of delays.

That’s not the only struggle shippers are facing due to online retail. According to Reuters, costs are on the rise because homes are much more expensive to deliver to based on resources than businesses. As a result, shippers have had to increase their rates, but also try and strike a balance with some of the largest online retailers in order to keep business.

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Temporary workers can give relief in the warehouse

Are you bringing in temp workers this holiday season?

Are you bringing in temp workers this holiday season?

The holiday season is bustling for the warehouse industry, which frequently means that managers need to hire on extra workers to deal with the material handling equipment such as pallet jacks and lift trucks. However, once the holidays – and the inevitable returns – are over, there isn’t as much of a need for all of the workers you’ve hired on for the holidays.

This means that many managers will take on temporary hires rather than dealing with massive cutbacks, but it’s important that the temp agency is just as organized as the warehouse. According to the Small Business Chronicle, there are a lot of benefits to using temporary workers. Effectively managing a warehouse means there has to be cost control, and the news provider reports that hiring temporary workers means managers can avoid paying for health and dental benefits. Additionally, you can have a more streamlined training process, as hiring on temporary workers means you can bring them on all at once and have one big training program. Companies frequently have to have one-off sessions with permanent workers, so this can help reduce time spent.

According to Priority Workforce, temporary workers can give a bit of flexibility. You won’t have to worry as much about finding coverage, and you can bring on extra workers to help during the particularly busy shifts.

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