That today’s warehouses have ‘evolved’ in every aspect of the word is no overstatement. Key to their progression is operational efficiency, which is a crucial parameter every warehouse manager is concerned about. Warehouses no longer only act as mere storage facilities – they are key enablers to the supply chain, they support and enable the effective distribution and supply chain network within an organisation.

The key to running a successful warehouse is efficiency. Warehouses have the potential to be major sources of slowdown and backlog, so it’s important for managers to assess their warehousing practices. The elimination of common enemies of efficiency like wasted time and warehouse space leads to better warehousing operations.

The key to a facility achieving effective and efficient warehousing operations is the identification of the right mix of warehouse assets, effective use of those assets and an optimal facility layout. In that vein, let me reiterate that Lift Trucks are a group of warehouse assets that are central to the facility’s efficiency and, therefore, should be closely examined. This is a clear opportunity for warehouses to improve their productivity and focus on one factor they can control: operational efficiency.

In my view, Lift Trucks are the primary movers within a warehouse – moving goods from one area to the other within a facility. Ineffective Lift Trucks use can lead to wasted travel time and other problems that ultimately slow down warehousing operations. Ineffectual use of these assets can also affect downstream operations such as truck loading.

Lift trucks, as part of the materials handling equipment selection, have a significant efficiency impact. In a typical South African and African warehousing environment, lift trucks are the predominant equipment utilised for goods movement. In fact, they are principal to dynamic materials handling and product movement within a warehouse and therefore directly have a high level impact to overall efficiency.

Lift truck selection determines throughput and handling methodology. This in turn is directly associated with the type of storage system and therefore determines the usage of the warehouse cube, or in the case of a new build, directly impacts the design stage. The cube, or floor space, is directly responsible for storage density achieved, and therefore the type of lift truck can directly impact operating aisle widths in the operational environment.

Facilities need to assess whether they are utilising the right combination of equipment for their operation and investigate whether different or additional Lift Trucks may be beneficial.

A key trend we have seen in recent years is operations going to greater heights due to the high cost of property. The average clear height of warehouse ceilings has increased steadily over the few years. This is influenced by the desire to optimise cubage. A few years ago, the average top beam height was approximately 7m. Today, in newly constructed facilities, we are seeing reach trucks with 14 m and VNA trucks with 17,5 m lift heights, respectively.

Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC) already has solutions that speak to this trend as showcased by our range of Lift Trucks varying from powered pallet trucks through to VNA Trucks. We also know that in a warehousing environment, not one piece of equipment can do the complete solution, so with our multiple brands, we have a 360-degree turnkey solution from one stable to help operations maximise their efficiency.