4 Harsh Manufacturing Realities for 2015

posted on: Tuesday September 8, 2015

Manufacturing is back as a top US industry, but it is facing some debilitating challenges. Here are the 4 common ones and how to solve them.

08-abouta_1The American manufacturing industry has not just survived the economic downturn in recent years. Our American backbone has come out thriving as strongly as ever. With reshoring, technological advances, and process evolution, manufacturing is looking better than ever. Yet in this advanced era of options, manufacturers are still struggling with growing pains and rather archaic means of getting the job done. Here are four ways that manufacturers still fight to be efficient and profitable:

  1. Forklifts. Once the champion of the warehouse, the forklift is losing its practicality. The biggest issue with lift trucks is that they are just not safe. Accidents – including deaths – do happen. Visibility is limited when a driver is hauling pallets. Gravity wants things on the floor – loads fall and break, and the forklifts themselves can tip and injure people. Even without the threat to safety, forklifts cost a lot on the back end. They require expensive maintenance and repairs, and they take up a significant amount of space. Additionally, they are not very energy-efficient. Forklifts definitely still have a place in this industry, but they should be limited to certain areas and replaced elsewhere.
  1. Human exertion. Be it a substitute for forklifts or just the way it’s always been, humans are still exerting way too much effort on the floor. This is especially true with pushing and pulling tasks. Just because something is on wheels doesn’t mean it will transport easily by hand. Injuries from these jobs rank as the most common and most expensive in the workforce. Worse, these injuries can destroy a career and quality of life.
  1. Space is limited. As stated earlier, manufacturing is thriving. Companies have greater demand and therefore need more space to build and store products. However, adding space is especially difficult. Adding brick and mortar to an existing site is extremely expensive – if it’s even possible. Using multiple locations can make the process very inefficient. Aside from acquiring a completely new space and moving the entire facility, manufacturers have to make better use of their existing space. This can be a huge challenge, especially when you rely on large equipment like lift trucks.
  1. Lack of labor. As there were more workers than jobs when the economy took a dive, we are now seeing the reverse. There are more jobs than qualified workers, and manufacturers are feeling an especially painful hit in this area. Manufacturers need people to fill orders on time, but there is a serious lack of qualified laborers available.

What is the solution to all of this? Do manufacturers have to invest in complete automation to get ahead of the game? How many can afford something like that?

A more practical solution is to make a significantly smaller investment in some equipment. One of the smartest ways to solve these issues is with an electric cart pusher, or battery-powered tug.

Powered tugs have been around long enough for manufacturers to truly see their value. They help with all of the issues above:

  • Can replace forklifts in many scenarios (read this article for examples.)
  • Eliminate human exertion in pushing and pulling tasks.
  • Easily maneuver around tight corners and through narrow spaces, reducing the floor space necessary to transport.
  • Require little to no training. Temporary and new workers can use one on the first day and be extremely productive.

These are just a few of the many benefits of powered tugs. They have proven to increase productivity and efficiency. For more information on how you can eliminate some of your greatest struggles in manufacturing, contact:

Load Mover, Inc.: 952-767-1720;       info@loadmoverinc.com