Top Ways to Reduce Downtime in Your Warehouse

by Trey Barber, on December 23, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Blog - Top Ways to Reduce Downtime in Your Warehouse

Optimizing warehouse operations is key for maximizing your company’s profitability and efficiency. A large component of this includes finding ways to minimize your forklifts’ downtime - if your forklifts aren’t moving, they’re costing your business money. Here are our top six tips for reducing equipment downtime in your warehouse.

Build a Warehouse Culture of Safety

Forklifts that are not used safely require longer and more frequent repairs. Serious incidents can grind your entire warehouse to a halt if erratic operation contributes to significant warehouse damage or employee injury. Champion the importance of safety in your workplace institute required standards like daily walkaround inspections of equipment, demonstrate proper awareness for pedestrians in your workspace, and coach employees to the correct standard if you see them slipping. Beyond leading with culture, certain aftermarket add-on equipment such as Blue Pedestrian Safety Lights or operational alarms can contribute to improved safety as well.

Invest in Planned Maintenance

Planned Maintenance (PM) service plans can be a boon for lean warehousing operations. By outsourcing your routine maintenance to a trusted provider, your business is able to focus on its own operation, rather than demanding fleet maintenance. The regularly scheduled equipment checks not only help prevent and catch issues before they can become big problems, but also contribute to longer forklift life and greater operating efficiencies.

Implement a Floor Cleaning Plan

Damage to forklift tires can contribute to downtime, increased fuel costs, and discomfort or potential injury to operators. Warehouses frequently have debris from broken pallets and boxes, dust, and other threats to forklift tire integrity and safe operation. By implementing a robust floor cleaning plan and adding floor scrubbers to your fleet, your business can keep its space safer for forklifts and pedestrians alike.

Update Operator Training & Certification

When did your operators last complete a safety training and certification course? Have they been trained on the standards for any new equipment you’ve added? OSHA requires all operators to be trained and certified by their employer when operating powered equipment. Regularly revisiting training to recertify operators is a great opportunity to break bad habits and get your team on the same page. Whether that means outsourcing your training to industry experts or refreshing your own curriculum, keep your operators trained and their certifications up to date.

Repair and Optimize Racking

Are the fixtures in your warehouse effective for your business? Damaged racking can cause harm to products and forklifts, resulting in additional costly maintenance and downtime that could have been avoided. Work with a warehouse specialist to identify possible areas for improvement to drive greater performance from your forklifts. Whether that means reconfiguring your aisles to take advantage of your equipment’s turning radius or replacing damaged racking, you can count on Mid Columbia Forklift and MidCo Material Handling to provide the equipment and expertise you need.

Select the Right Equipment for your Warehouse

Rightsizing your fleet goes beyond the count of your equipment and its utilization rate - are the forklift configurations you currently rely on really the right selection for your business? Many warehouses would benefit from the addition of Reach Trucks, whose telescoping arms can improve flexible use and improve throughput when moving pallets of product at heights. Certain very narrow aisle applications rely on 3-wheeled forklifts, swing reach trucks, and other specialized equipment to meet their functional needs. 

Equipment downtime is the single biggest threat to your productivity and profitability. By focusing on these starting points we’ve suggested you can further optimize your fleet and reduce your downtime. At Mid Columbia Forklift and MidCo Material Handling, we offer the full lineup of services to keep your fleet effective and business profitable. Contact us for outsourced maintenance, equipment purchasing, and warehousing insights. 

Further Reading:
Most Commonly Replaced Forklift Parts
Signs It’s Time to Change Your Forklift Tires
Forklift Certification for Material Handling Equipment

Forklift Operator Training

Topics:Forklift Safety

About This Blog

Material handling articles to help answer the questions you have about forklifts, aerial equipment, utility vehicles, warehouse optimization, and safety.

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