The key piece of material handling equipment that runs the global supply chain isn’t a forklift, an automated guided vehicle, or even the mighty pallet itself. It’s the cart. Automation is spreading slowly, and most distribution centers, warehouses, and retail outlets can’t function without a workforce of order pickers and a fleet of sturdy, reliable carts.
Supply chain disruption wasn’t just a pandemic phenomenon, as it turns out. As the world transitions to its new, post(ish)-pandemic normal, grocery leaders continue to worry about keeping food on the shelves. In fact, the industry’s concern has only grown as the pandemic has receded.
Passenger cars aren’t the only mode of transportation switching from gas to battery power. Light commercial vehicles—delivery vans, work pickups, cabover trucks—represented just 24,000 of the U.S.’s electric vehicles in 2021. By 2030, they’re expected to grow to nearly 4 million units. That means many fleet owners are currently trying to figure out how to make the transition. A big part of that project will be creating charging infrastructure.
Across industries, fleet managers are making plans for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. They may be municipalities converting bus fleets to electric; distributors upgrading delivery fleets; or manufacturers switching trucks or material handling vehicles to run on electricity. These managers of industrial EV fleets may already be familiar with a decades-old electric vehicle technology: Forklifts.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 1910.176(b) requires employers to store materials securely. “Storage of material shall not create a hazard,” the standard says. Complying with this standard can be a challenge for products that seem designed to roll away—as is the case with pipes of all sizes and materials.
When properly engineered, custom warehouse equipment promotes better ergonomics and enhances storage. Generally, that means more profitability and fewer bottlenecks for your operation.
Vertical material handling is always a challenge. Raising a loaded pallet to mezzanine-level with a forklift can be risky and time-consuming. Freight elevators require costly inspections and frequent, expensive maintenance. It’s not always possible—and it’s rarely safe—to have employees carry heavy loads up and down stairs.
There are many ways to move materials and equipment from one elevation to another: scissor lifts, lift trucks, spiral conveyors, and more. For many warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and other industrial facilities, however, vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) provide the greatest combination of benefits. These include improved safety, higher throughput, and an overall boost in productivity.
Loss of electrical materials at a job site isn’t just the contractor’s problem. If electrical wholesalers don’t package or prepare orders adequately, these products are more vulnerable to damage and theft. With enough lost product, electrical contractors may start looking for a new supplier.