Warehouse Entrepreneur: Be Prepared Later by Being Smart Now

posted on: Friday May 24, 2013

The services of warehouses are widely in demand. Startup costs for a warehouse business run in the neighborhood of $10,000-$50,000, but they can be very lucrative. The entrepreneur looking to start his or her own warehouse business has access to a lot of free advice and business plan help. Sites like gaebler.com, entrepreneur.com, and even ehow.com list great information on starting a warehouse business.

The valuable information on these sites focuses on the beginning of the process, but they don’t much touch on the issues that veteran warehouse owners have come to know well. Knowing some failure and success stories from other warehouses, we want to make sure you’re considering everything that can affect your profits in the future. If you can set yourself up now to spare yourself agony and unnecessary costs down the road, you’ll be grateful you took the extra time to think about just a few more things.

Modeling

A hot topic in warehouse-specific industries right now is streamlining. People are going lean, green, and flexible to eliminate waste and boost productivity. Some pertinent decisions deal with space, flow, and equipment. Businesses are spending big bucks right now to redesign their workstations and warehouses to fit the new models. Once you know your niche, research other successful warehouse operations and see the changes they’ve made to improve themselves.

Equipment

Depending on how you use your space, you may or may not be able to get by without a forklift. Forklift-free is another big initiative right now, and it’s worth knowing why. Even if you have to have a forklift, you might be able to minimize the need for it. This can still save you a lot of money and make your operation greener. Some things to consider about forklifts:

  • · The initial cost of the equipment is not the bulk of the investment. The real cost of forklifts is on maintenance, repair, storage, and safety
  • · You need licensed forklift operators to drive the lifts
  • · Forklifts cannot transport as much in one load as can their substitutes

The equipment that most commonly replaces the forklift is the power tugger. It is practical, ergonomic, safe, and easy to operate. It increases visibility, decreases man hours, and improves productivity. It takes up very little space and the battery-powered tugs are part of many green initiatives. This piece of equipment is popular not only in forklift-free environments, but also the lean, just in time, and flexible models.

Paying for the right equipment can be a delicate situation when you’re starting out. Getting the right equipment now can save you later, so choose carefully. Here is an article about financing equipment: http://mhlnews.com/technology-amp-automation/how-equipment-financing-supports-entrepreneurs

What Can REALLY Cost You Later

Equipment, repairs, software, marketing, and everything keeping you awake at night now is not nearly as costly as what you’ll be paying if your workplace is not safe. Injuries and accidents cost you in two ways: Worker’s compensation and insurance.

Warehousing falls into one of the categories reporting the highest incidents of on-site injuries. If you’re not familiar with the industry, injuries that come to mind are probably slip and fall or being struck by an object. These are not the most common and costly injuries. What businesses spend more money on every year – more so than the annual amount spent on cancer – are musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs). These injuries are accrued over time from repetitive movements like bending, pushing, pulling, and lifting. Manual material handling (MMH) businesses fork over billions each for worker’s compensation and other costs associated with MSDs.

The tally doesn’t stop there, either. If your company receives an average safety rating or lower, insurance costs can be devastating. Insurance premiums alone have put some companies out of business. This is the kind of issue a business has a blind eye to until the damage is done. Improving safety to drive down insurance premiums is something a lot of MMH businesses are doing right now and have been since the economy started to decline.

Ergonomics has been the answer to safety issues for many companies, most of which have also enjoyed productivity gains as a result. If any of those companies had to start over again, they’d be sure to look at ergonomics right away. Ergonomics has a lot to do with layout, object height, and equipment – things you would be considering now as you plan your new business. That power tugger mentioned above is also an ergonomic solution for pushing and pulling tasks.

If you can seek advice from other business owners, take advantage of their experiences and wisdom. Put some real thought into the issues discussed here – it could make a huge difference later.

If you are in the market for equipment and want a green, ergonomic, and cost-efficient tugger, contact Load Movers to discuss your needs and vision. You can search this website, email Info@loadmoverinc.com, or call 952-767-1720.