When we talk about efficiency in terms of forklift truck use, we tend to focus on the forklift truck itself; is it diesel, electric or gas? Does it need accessories to increase productivity? Should it be a narrow aisle forklift or a standard?
However, it’s worth looking at the layout of your warehouse if you want to ensure you’re getting the most out of your forklift. In fact, the layout of your warehouse can increase the efficiency of your entire operation.
Getting the width of your aisles is crucial. Make them too narrow and your forklift trucks won’t be able to navigate easily down the aisle, make them too wide and you’re dramatically reducing the amount of storage room available for your stock. A happy medium is best, or, if you’re really in need of more aisles, investing in a narrow forklift truck might be your best option.
When operating a forklift, it’s important to ensure obstacles are cleared out of the way. Not only can obstacles mean your forklift trucks are going to run slowly, with workers constantly having to stop, clear away obstructions and start up again, it’s also a very dangerous health and safety hazard which could result in serious accidents to both employees and equipment. Ensure all kinds of obstructions are always cleared away before using your forklift truck for maximum efficiency.
Design of your warehouse
The actual layout of your warehouse can have a huge effect on the efficiency of how you use your forklifts. There needs to be a natural flow and direction to your warehouse so that your forklift trucks can fluidly move through the space. If your drivers are constantly having to reverse, turn around or go unnecessarily long routes to get to their destination, it’s going to decrease efficiency and you may want to rethink the design of your warehouse.
Typically, warehouses are segregated into different process handling sections. For example, picking and shipping areas, receiving and returns, product manufacturing, and product storage. This is to ensure the ease and efficiency of every section. If these sectors start to overlap or cross paths, it can cause issues for those operating the forklift trucks. Disrupting the natural flow and order of things, by mixing up each sector can dramatically decrease efficiency and can cause mistakes to be made within the warehouse. That’s why it’s vital to properly segregate each of your sectors.
Remember, if you’re using forklift trucks, think carefully about the layout of your warehouse to ensure you’re working at maximum efficiency.