Even if you’re not ready to add to your current lift truck battery inventory, you should always be prepared to expand. Any facility may suddenly need to add shifts, hire new workers, and add new lift trucks to its fleet — especially given current growth trends in the warehousing industry.
Demand for warehousing services is soaring as consumer spending increases in the wake of the U.S. financial recovery. The 26th Annual State of Logistics Report, published in June, reports that 2014 was the best year for supply chain industries since recovery from when the Great Recession began. Transportation grew by 3.6 percent last year, while the national vacancy rate of warehouses in the U.S. declined to a total of 7 percent, and World Property Journal reports that industrial vacancy rates were at their lowest point in the last decade.
In the current economic climate, growth in the logistics industry can be sudden. Facilities that run electric forklifts may need to plan for growing fleets and a larger workforce — and also for more efficient battery rooms. These four tips can help to keep your battery room scalable.
For forklift fleets that require vertical battery extraction, choose high-capacity gantry cranes with an expandable design.
Vertical battery extractors with modular construction, such as BHS Gantry Cranes, offer the greatest flexibility for overhead battery extraction. As your fleet grows, it is simple and cost-effective to add battery stations and chargers to the row without necessarily budgeting for a new battery changer. BHS Gantry Cranes are also available with heavy duty swivel castors, which allow for easy movement between battery charge locations — especially useful when experimenting with different layouts.
If your lift truck fleet is equipped for side extraction, expand your battery room vertically.
With warehouse square footage already at a premium, take advantage of vertical space to add more stands and chargers to your battery room. BHS System Stands and Battery Extractors range from one to four tiers high to match your battery fleet with precision. Multi-tiered battery storage systems allow quick battery changes and leave more floor space available for revenue-generating warehouse tasks, providing significant productivity benefits for larger fleets.
Maintain peak efficiency with fleet management software.
Larger collections of forklift batteries require more precise record keeping, and managers will need reliable data to fine tune battery usage. Battery fleet management software simplifies maintenance, prolongs equipment life, and reduces change-out times — and provides data on these tasks.A system like the BHS Fleet Tracker prepares detailed reports, with data organized to your specifications. These reports help managers plan for growing forklift fleets, matching battery collections to the specific power needs of your fleet. They can also provide for enhanced fleet coordination across multiple facilities, improving the potential return on investment.
Consider upgrading maintenance equipment to handle higher volumes.
Plan on spending more time on battery maintenance as your fleet grows. Larger operations may benefit from equipment that automates battery maintenance tasks. The BHS Integrated Watering System, for instance, completes watering tasks automatically after the charge is complete. Battery Wash Cabinets from BHS automate the washing process for cleaner, more efficient battery maintenance.
Analysts expect the growth in the warehousing industry to continue for the foreseeable future. A recent survey from the Urban Land Institute estimates that warehouse rents will grow much faster than they have in the past, with rates of up to 5.3 percent through 2017.
Warehousing in the United States is on an upward trajectory, and operations that remain flexible will be best situated to capitalize on the industry’s successes. For facilities that use electric forklift fleets, there has rarely been a better time to make a growth plan for the battery room. A few minor upgrades can address potential growing pains, allowing for a more productive — and more profitable — facility.
Gerrity, Michael. “U.S. Industrial Vacancy Rates at 10-Year Low.” World Property Journal. World Property Channel Networks, Inc. 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 7 July 2015.
Krueger, Robert. “New ULI Forecast for Real Estate, Economy Sees Three Years of Continued Strength, with Industry Set for Sustainable Growth in 2015 Through 2017.” Urban Land Institute. Urban Land Institute, 08 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 July 2015.
“Report: U.S. Logistics Industry Rebound.” Food Logistics. A.C. Business Media, Inc., 23 June 2015. Web. 7 July 2015.