Spinning Wheels: Keeping up With Trends in Warehousing

posted on: Thursday May 16, 2013

uspo Load MoverWhile carts are not a new idea in the warehouse, how they’re used and what they can do has really evolved. They’re being built with specific functions in mind, like the ability to lift or tilt to provide an easier, more ergonomic process. They are replacing forklifts and used to convert to lean manufacturing. Carts may have also been an inspiration to other improvements in operations. The work cell itself is being redesigned to accommodate changing demands in volume or necessity. This is being accomplished with wheels.

Modern Materials Handling recently published an article on this very topic. In “Carts and Casters: Business in Motion,” Josh Bond explains in his subtitle, “As lean sensibilities migrate from the production floor to the warehouse, carts and casters prove a pivotal tool for enhancing the mobility of product, people and processes.” The article discusses the important role that carts can play in waste reduction, green manufacturing, and forklift-free. One idea mentioned is rather than load and unload a semi trailer with a forklift one load at a time, one could put the carts full of product straight onto the trailer. When unloading, the carts can be hitched together like a train and pulled safely with a Load Mover or other power tugger. Ed Brown, chief engineer at Topper Industrial explains, “We’re seeing a lot of this approach. In fact, in some systems we often see raw materials arrive on a cart, the cart follows them through the process, the same cart is used to deliver finished products to a distribution center, and products don’t leave the cart until they are shipped.”

Carts aren’t the only thing on wheels that are impacting warehouse operations. The article looks at 5S Methodology of workplace organization and states, “As it turns out, one of the best ways to cover all five bases is to just put everything on wheels, including equipment, workstations, flow racks, display boards, and anything else you might need to sweep beneath.” This idea isn’t just about cleaning. With everything on wheels, all of it can be repositioned for different job functions or in response to changes in volume and other demands. Bond paraphrases Keith Soderlund, VP of sales from Creform, “Many customers say they don’t want anything on feet, he says, and prefer the ability to move things without a forklift or maintenance crew. They want to empower operators and plant supervisors to make adjustments on the fly.”

The ergonomic capabilities of the carts do not always guarantee that the cart is ergonomic, however, as there is still the matter of pushing and pulling the cart itself. Pushing and pulling equipment and other parts of the workstation is also a concern when objects are heavy. The solution for a seamless and ergonomic process is to also use a power tugger. Tuggers or tugs, like the ones Load Movers makes, are as versatile as the carts themselves. Each is designed for a different load capacity, and the attachments can be tailor-made to fit any hitch or cart.

With the help of power tuggers, carts and wheels will completely transform the warehouse. These components fit neatly into practically every model that seeks to streamline processes, reduce waste, and even go green. Productivity increases, injury decreases, and as an added bonus, existing equipment is less likely to be obsolete a few short years down the road. For information on quality power tuggers,  email Info@loadmoverinc.com, or call 952-767-1720.