The e-commerce boom of 2020 led to over $750 billion in sales, meaning warehouses were put into overdrive. And last year alone, over 264 million square feet of new warehousing spaces were built – 9.5% more than in 2019.
This influx of online orders has put significant stress on warehousing and manufacturing facilities in the United States and across the world. Now more than ever, facility leadership needed to prioritize boosting productivity while keeping their employees healthy and safe.
Knowing that these pressures aren’t likely to go away anytime soon, how can warehouses successfully stay productive and safe? For a growing number of warehouses, the answer has been employing industrial manipulators.
Let’s discuss some of the demands leading to these industry shifts and how industrial manipulators can help tackle these obstacles.
WHAT ARE WAREHOUSES FACING?
As we mentioned above, pandemic quarantining had a shocking effect on online sales and warehousing facilities.
First, 2020 changed the way manufacturing companies take up space. In recent years, there had already been a shortage of warehousing real estate. Companies have been steadily broadening their offered products, which creates a need for more square footage and sometimes a partnership with third-party logistics companies (who also need space to grow as demands increase).
But once the world was asked to stay inside, online orders became people’s lifelines to goods and products they needed. Depending on the company, this led to significant inventory issues, both having an excess of products or lack thereof. There were major shipping delays, as every country reckoned with their safety precautions. And it also caused problems with warehouse storage – mainly that there just didn’t seem to be enough to go around.
According to the Wall Street Journal, availability for warehousing real estate has fallen to an all-time low, especially in large hubs like Los Angeles and New York City. This means the likelihood of finding a facility that fits both your needs and your budget may be more difficult than it was ten years ago. And with the influx of e-commerce last year demanding more products quicker than before, warehouses had to find a way to make the most of their current facilities.
But as we also said previously, this need for additional warehouses isn’t going unnoticed. Construction of new facilities has boomed over the last year, with changes that will help companies adapt to the growing needs of their customers. Developers are including new features in their facility designs, such as higher ceilings and mezzanine floors for additional storage and thicker floors to support the weight of automated tools.
HOW CAN INDUSTRIAL MANIPULATORS HELP?
Automated solutions and material movers continue to prove themselves as vital tools to the point where warehouses are being built with them in mind. The numbers don’t lie – by the end of 2021, the warehouse automation technology market is expected to reach over $22 billion. Compared to 2016’s value of $1.9 billion, you can see just how many companies have come to depend on industrial material handlers.
So, what do industrial manipulators offer that make them so popular with growing warehouses?
To tell if your warehouse has a productivity issue, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you experiencing backups, bottlenecks and delays?
- How accessible are your storage systems?
- Are your employees bogged down with time-consuming tasks like moving heavy items?
- Are your current workflows helping or hurting your company’s success?
By investing in a high-quality industrial manipulator, your employees and leadership team can address these problems head-on. Storage systems (especially taller ones) will be more accessible for your employees as they use material handlers to put them in place. Your team will be able to transport items more quickly, reducing the likelihood of bottlenecks. And you’ll be making the most out of your company’s human power without exhausting them physically or threatening their safety.
Industrial manipulators help warehouses that need to keep up with increasing demands stay productive, with less downtime from machine breakdowns or employee injury.
Speaking of employee injury – how much is your warehouse paying for worker’s compensation claims every year? Not only do these incidents cost your company money, but they cost you time, too. Employee injuries could easily become chronic, leading to less efficiency in the jobs they perform every day.
This is especially true when it comes to ergonomic injuries from harmful repetitive motions. According to OSHA, a reported 1.8 million workers suffer from ergonomic-related injuries every year due to low-quality tools and improper lifting practices.
No matter how much training you put your employees through, there’s always the possibility that a heavy product could lead to a thrown-out back or worse injuries. Instead, warehouses are choosing to invest in industrial manipulators to take the physical burden off their employees. Not only will this allow for a more comfortable working experience for them, but items can be moved safely, leading to less product damage.
Plus, manipulators allow your facility to use tall storage options that weren’t safely accessible before.
We understand that times are tight for warehousing budgets, thanks to decreased available space and increases in rent or sales prices. So every company investment – especially in high-quality machinery – must be vetted carefully.
While implementing industrial manipulators comes with expenses upfront, a high-quality machine saves you money in the long run. For example, Dalmec’s industrial manipulators are built for durability. This means they’ll last for years to come, and won’t require constant, costly repairs. You’ll spend less time scrambling for new equipment and experiencing warehouse downtime and more time getting your jobs done efficiently.
Plus, customized manipulators from Dalmec can be sized and constructed with your warehouse’s unique specifications in mind. Instead of wasting time making a cookie-cutter handler fit your needs, you’ll be investing in a machine created especially for your business that’s built to last.
NEED A HAND?
We know your warehouse is likely experiencing some of the pressures we discussed earlier, and Dalmec is ready to help. With our customized industrial manipulators, you can save space, human power and money while building up your productivity during this challenging time.
If you’d like to discuss your warehouse’s options, contact our team of experts today.