Companies are cracking down on their budgets with even large-scale chains filing for bankruptcy due to the pandemic. Any new investments should be vetted thoroughly to ensure they’ll be worth your money.
One particular investment that many warehouse managers are considering is adding lifting devices to their warehouse floors. Industrial manipulators are especially attractive during a global pandemic because they put space between your product and your employees, lessening the likelihood of any bacterial spread.
Whether you’re buying your first industrial manipulator or debating whether it’s worth replacing an aging machine, you must consider the long-term value the right machinery can offer — and the expenses you’ll incur if you use the wrong ones.
Let’s look at the many ways a machine can improve — or hurt — your bottom line.
Decreased Employee Injuries
Industrial manipulators and lift assists are designed to aid employees in the safe and speedy bulky or heavy materials movement. In general, companies that install industrial manipulators see a decrease in injuries related to both accidents and employee mistakes.
Unfortunately, low-quality machinery can have the opposite effect, injuring the employees they were designed to protect. Without proper tools, several types of injuries can happen (that are often easily avoidable,) including:
- Falling items
- Slips, trips and falls
- Rack collapses
- Ergonomic strain
The risk and cost of these types of injuries are relatively high. An injury can result in everything from loss in labor due to time spent away from work to recover, workers’ compensation claims and even lawsuits.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries occurred in private U.S. workplaces in 2018. For employees working in production, transportation and material moving industries the median amount of days spent recuperating from work-related injuries was eight days in 2018. Employers in those industries often pay more per employee than other sectors, and now with the rise of the pandemic, those charges have only increased. In March of 2020, the BLS reported that civilian employers are paying between $2.54 to $24.84 per hour worked for every employee.
So, what does this mean for you and your industrial manipulator? The machine you choose should be built to meet safety standards, and the company you purchase from should feel comfortable discussing the safety record of their devices.
Even if it’s a bit of an expensive investment up front, you can’t put a price on hundreds of avoided injuries.
No warehouse manager wants to think about their newest purchase not functioning correctly, but at some point, any machine will need repairs. Of course, the difference is how frequently those repairs are needed, how soon issues begin appearing and how costly the repairs will be.
This downtime can be extremely costly for businesses trying to watch their bottom line. While the exact amount that a company could be responsible for varies, here’s an example from Gentackle:
“A manufacturer can produce 300 units per hour. Each unit represents a potential profit of $250. A single hour of downtime costs $75,000 in lost profit alone before any other loss is calculated.”
To prevent these periods of costly downtime, you should look for machines that are built to meet strict quality standards and have long lifespans. Don’t settle for any manipulator or lift assist that cannot last at least 15 years with proper use and maintenance. Doing so will result in excessive and costly downtime as a result of repairs and replacement.
Have you been noticing a definite decline in your warehouse’s productivity? You can assess the extent of this decline by completing some operational audits, which check things like:
- Your warehouse’s layout and flow — are there any obstacles making it difficult for your employees to do their job? If anything is holding up your employees, consider potentially rearranging your warehouse layout, workflow systems or inventory receiving.
- Your storage systems — how accessible or safe are your storage systems? How easy is it to store your product in these storage facilities?
- Your safety precautions and security systems – double-check what measurements you have in place to assure that a safety or security breach wouldn’t halt operations for lack of protocol.
A quality industrial manipulator or lift assist should allow you to both simplify and speed up your production process. But the keyword here is quality. Investing in a quality industrial manipulator from the beginning will help steadily increase your warehouse efficiency while choosing less expensive equipment could make little difference or even increase downtime.
If unique lifting specifications are hampering your warehouse’s productivity, you’re in luck. Custom-built lift assists can be built to work seamlessly with your environment, production materials and employees. Buying a pre-made machine as a solution to your particular requirements will feel like fitting a round peg into a square hole – it’s not going to work.
Sometimes, custom lift assists are the necessary purchase to help your warehouse succeed. Spending the money on a custom piece will only help your warehouse become more effective in the long-run, saving money on repairs, downtime and potential injuries.
Need A Hand Picking The Right Tool?
When it comes down to it, it’s essential to ask these main questions to decide if a list assist investment is right for you at the moment:
- What is the average lifespan of the machine you’re considering?
- Is the machine designed with safety in mind?
- Are your current devices in desperate need of being replaced?
- Is the machine designed to work seamlessly with your unique work environment?
Getting answers to these questions should make it clear if new machines are within your budget’s best interest at the moment. But, if you’re still in need of advice, contact Dalmec today. We’d be happy to discuss which machine could be right for your warehouse, and the money you could save in the future with your purchase.