Warehousing and distribution centers can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line, as most corporations, large and small, eventually come to realize. Is it any surprise that Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ successor at Apple, made his bones running the company’s warehouses and distribution centers?
Finding the best means of removing trash and carrying packaging to the distribution line can have a huge impact on how efficient a warehouse or distribution center is. Richards-Wilcox, Inc.’s dual function overhead conveyor systems can improve efficiency on the line, allowing for faster, safer, and more accurate work.
Dual function overhead conveyors
Dual function overhead conveyors save space and time by using a single conveyor to take trash away and carry containers to workers on the line. Traditional systems use two belt conveyors – one to bring cartons to workers on the line and another above the picking module where workers throw their trash. Another traditional system includes an upper level where workers receive cartons and a chute that workers throw their trash down to connect to another conveyor on a lower level. Both of these configurations take up quite a bit of space since they run on separate motors and operate via separate control panels.
The dual function overhead conveyor system performs trash removal and carton delivery tasks through just one channel, taking up far less space than traditional systems. These conveyor systems are safe and reliable and can be designed to fit just about any warehouse or distribution facility. Some key benefits of the dual function overhead conveyor system include:
- Because cartons are not assembled at the work area, space is saved and productivity improves.
- Carton assembly is centralized in this set-up, meaning that labor costs are reduced and even more space can be saved.
- Special hooks can accommodate different sized containers, allowing for more efficient operations. Flexibility is a key concern for warehouses and distribution centers, and a dual function overhead conveyor system has the benefit of being very adaptable to facility needs.
- Because a single line passes through the work area, workers do not have to lean or stretch to toss things onto the trash line. This greatly reduces the chance of injury and the costs associated with injury.
- Overhead conveyor systems are very flexible and chains can go up or down to accommodate multi-level facilities.
- Because just one line is being used in the operation, maintenance and repair costs are greatly reduced.
It costs about the same to install a dual function overhead conveyor as it does to install a separate trash conveyor in distribution centers. The reduced labor costs and improved efficiency and productivity make the dual function overhead conveyor a better investment, as a return on installation costs will be realized quickly.
Warehouse Space at a Premium
Many companies simply can’t afford to move to larger distribution centers in the current real estate environment. After years of declines in prices caused by the Great Recession, industrial real estate prices are rising again. Although they have yet to hit pre-recessionary levels, rent for warehouse and distribution center space is increasing. Demand for space is increasing and vacancy rates are hitting new lows.
According to Newmark Grubb Pfefferle, the average rent for industrial spaces will rise from $4.26 per square foot in the second quarter of 2014 to $4.54 per square foot by the end of 2015. By the end of 2016, average rent per square foot should stand at about $4.73. The predictions are based on monitoring about 20 economic indicators that have historically been linked to warehouse/distribution center rent.
Making smarter use of the space you have available is a better choice in the current climate than renting larger, more expensive facilities. There are a number of strategies that warehouses and distribution centers can use to optimize space usage, such as Kanban organization, and more efficient carton/trash conveyor systems can be integral parts of those strategies.
Choosing the right provider
When choosing a conveyor system manufacturer to devise and provide a trash conveyor or another type of conveyor, warehouse and distribution managers should consider the following:
- Does the manufacturer have experience in providing conveyors for warehouses and distribution centers?
- Can the manufacturer provide custom designs?
- Can the manufacturer provide case studies of how their conveyor solutions have helped improve efficiency at other warehouses and distribution centers?
- Can the manufacturer provide accurate quotes regarding costs?
Richards-Wilcox, Inc. can affirmatively answer these questions and help craft a solution that meets the individual needs of your facility. A respected name in the conveyor system industry, Richards-Wilcox has designed conveyor systems for hospitals, factories, warehouses, distribution centers and other facilities nationwide. With Richards-Wilcox dual function overhead conveyor systems, your facility will improve its space utilization as well as productivity, allowing your operation to be more efficient and profitable.
Photo credit: http://www.rwconveyor.com/literature/?did=5