Healthcare moves toward a retail model, opening the door for warehouses

The healthcare industry moves to a direct to consumer model.

The healthcare industry moves to a direct to consumer model.

The material handling industry has been particularly busy with wholesale, manufacturing and retail goods. As the economy improves, there’s a greater need for efficient material handling equipment to help businesses get their supplies out to customers in a timely manner. Efficiency is key in a material handling operation.

However, one industry that is fairly new to material handling and inventory fulfillment is healthcare. According to Modern Materials Handling, the healthcare sector is looking to supply goods directly to the customer, and warehouse managers are currently trying to figure out how to solve their distribution challenges in order to meet customer demand and efficiency. Still, the news source is quick to point out that similar to traditional retail, costs, efficiency and accuracy are all things that can threaten a new supply chain. This means that there’s more pressure to start off on the right foot.

Becker’s Hospital Review reports that the healthcare supply chain is a changing process. According to the news source, the healthcare industry is attempting to increase supply chain distribution while cutting costs and consolidating their operations. This is a way to address the trend of revenues from care facilities declining and standalone hospitals closing in favor of other care facilities.

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Regularly update your material handling equipment to keep employees safe

Using new, efficient equipment can keep everyone safe.

Using new, efficient equipment can keep everyone safe.

Keeping your warehouse a safe working environment should be a top priority as a manager. An injury on the job can not only be costly from a compensation perspective, but it can also reduce your overall productivity due to the loss of a worker. You want to regular invest in new material handling equipment like dollies to reduce the physical stress of moving inventory, and also make sure the equipment works smoothly.

Reliable Plant reports upgrading your equipment can help keep your employees safe, because there is less manual work and therefore less chance for injury. The other bonus to new equipment is it helps move things more efficiently, ultimately helping the bottom line and overall productivity.

Managers should also offer training programs to employees on how to stay safe while on the job. According to Safety & Health Magazine, encouraging employees to lift materials onto equipment by keeping them close to the body and asking for assistance can help reduce the chances of strain. When possible, if you can reduce the size of the load by cutting down on packaging on space can also make it easier and safer to move, according to the news provider.

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Wholesale goods increase after revisions

Are you being smart about inventory?

Are you being smart about inventory?

Material handlers continue to experience growth as consumers feel more comfortable spending in the current economy. Workers are busy pushing material handling equipment filled with wholesale goods around through warehouses in order to go to other suppliers and consumers themselves.

CNBC reports that April revised figures indicate the wholesale inventory increased slightly. Originally, figures had indicated that wholesale inventories were unchanged from the previous month, but after observing an increase in auto sales and other wholesale goods, it was revised to 0.1 percent. This report goes along with manufacturing inventories, which were found to rise by 0.3 percent during the month of April.

Inventory levels and sales continue to be a look into how consumer confidence in the economy is playing a role. But that means warehouse managers need to be strategic in how they’re managing their inventory. According to Multichannel Merchant, without being strategic about your inventory, you may accidentally buy too much of a product that does not sell as well, leaving you with sunken inventory. Additionally, the news source reports that smart inventory management can help when you have a larger operation that ships from multiple locations. It’s easy for inventory to get lost when it’s coming from different points with a lot going on.

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Warehouses need to improve management for better visibility

Do you know where your inventory is?

Do you know where your inventory is?

Do you know where your inventory is at any given time? As retailers continue the quest toward omnichannel operations while still delivering on customer demand, it’s more important than ever to have an idea of what inventory is being moved on material handling equipment. As dollies come in and out of the warehouse, being able to track where inventory is in its life cycle is a critical component to providing great a great customer experience.

One way to help with this is through warehouse management software, which allows you to scan inventory as it moves in and out of the warehouse so you can better track where any given item is. However, the material handling industry has been slow to adopt the technology. According to Supply Chain Dive, one-third of warehouses are still lacking a management system. The news provider reports that while the sector has been making strides in bringing in new technologies into the warehouse, overall adoption has been slow.

Business 2 Community reports when implementing new technology and processes, it’s important to start small. The source suggests that improving efficiency of the receiving process can help improve the overall supply chain to make sure you’re receiving all the materials you’ve ordered.

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E-commerce changes the retail game

Move lots of inventory at once with material handling equipment.

Move lots of inventory at once with material handling equipment.

Those in the material handling industry have noticed a shift over the past few decades in how business is conducted and what consumers want from service providers. As technology becomes more integral, so has e-commerce, which has caused a lot of inventory moving on material handling equipment to head directly to shipping centers rather than the store.

Material handling equipment such as dollies are great because they allow you to move multiple orders at once without causing worker strain and allows things to move efficiently. According to Manufacturing.net, for every $100 spent in retail, $9 of it has come from e-commerce. This is the highest the figure has ever been, and as more companies have been upping their e-commerce service in an effort to reach more customers.

However, e-commerce isn’t just for the typical consumer. According to Shopify, business to business e-commerce actually outpaces the business to consumer model by nearly $5 trillion. This could be because the typical B2C purchase would be much smaller than one on behalf of a business. The news provider reports that wholesalers have really been driving the e-commerce business, making it a busy time for material handlers to keep up with demands on their customers for materials and unfinished goods.

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Be smart when it comes to inventory to sales ratio

Keep track of how inventory is doing.

Keep track of how inventory is doing.

Smart inventory management focuses a lot on having the right products to meet consumer demand. However, forecasting is a critical component to make sure you’re not overwhelming your warehouse with products that will ultimately end up not moving.

It’s important to stay up on your inventory to sales ratio, as it could be an indicator for how smart you’re being in the warehouse, according to Logistics Management. If you’re bringing in lots of inventory with your material handling equipment but not seeing a lot move out, or continue to stockpile, you may be faced with a sunk cost that you can’t get back due to unmovable inventory. Too much of this could eventually hurt your bottom line. Having higher inventory can have negative consequences to the overall economy, if too many businesses are struggling, according to the news source.

Fortune reports that not knowing a company’s inventory to sales ratio can put it in jeopardy because it will leave a company unable to operate its finances efficiently. The figure is calculated using the net sales and dividing them by inventory. However, the ideal rate can vary by industry, so it’s important for every warehouse manager to research and forecast appropriately.

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Factories see a jump in demand, productivity

Material handling can help productivity.

Material handling can help productivity.

People are moving with material handling equipment at really efficient paces in favor of being efficient and keeping overhead costs down. With companies trying to increase their own market shares by offering on-demand order fulfillment for customers, the onus is in the warehouse to keep things running smoothly and productively.

Material Handling & Logistics reports that factories other than in the automotive industry have found their footing and increased their production during the month of April. The news provider also reported that factory use clocked in at 75.8 percent, which is the highest it’s been since August 2015. These gains have helped shine a light on the positive trends in the manufacturing industry, as well as the growth and demand of consumer spending.

According to Modern Machine Shop, having material handling equipment can help boost overall productivity in the factory. In addition to buying new material handling equipment, it may be a good idea to study the machinery and make sure you’re doing all the right things when it comes to routine maintenance.

If you keep up with routine maintenance, there’s less of a chance that the equipment will break or not work as powerfully as it used to due to wear.

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Employment in manufacturing continues to be an economic bright spot

Material handling equipment can help keep the manufacturing sector efficient.

Material handling equipment can help keep the manufacturing sector efficient.

The Manufacturing Index continues to experience growth spurts and setbacks, but workers within the field are still seeing a lot of positivity. There continues to be a hunt for skilled individuals who are able to handle material handling equipment and support the logistics of various manufacturing businesses. As a result, there continues to be a lot of benefits for employment in the field.

According to Forbes, one of the areas the manufacturing industry is really excelling in is in hiring. The source points out that the sector is one of the largest employers and in addition to having 12 million workers who are directly in the field, it supports another 17 million. The news provider also reports that recent data suggests that it’s a much higher paying field than other blue collar jobs.

Popular Mechanics reports that even if there are fewer jobs than there once were, the industry is still seeing a surge in productivity as some of the largest organizations try to keep up with demand. The news provider reports that as companies are trying to attract customers by being more on demand than ever, there is a need for an efficient and talented workforce, as well as material handling equipment to help boost efficiency.

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Keep employee safety in mind in the warehouse

Keep warehouse safety in your mind.

Keep warehouse safety in your mind.

Working in a warehouse could lead to injuries if employees are not aware of their surroundings while on the job. Material handling equipment can help reduce the chance of straining oneself while working in the field, but it’s important to implement a proper safety and awareness program in your warehouse to minimize the risk of injury while at work.

Chicago Now suggests holding awareness training regularly can serve as a refresher for employees to be aware of their surroundings, continuously be on the lookout for spills that could cause people to slip and also lessons on how they can do their job safely and efficiently. There is a right way to load inventory on and off material handling equipment and making sure employees have that knowledge could keep them from potentially overexerting themselves.

The news provider also reports if you can’t fit everyone’s schedules for an in-person training, there are online options that will help inform workers and keeping everyone on the same page.

Safety and Health Magazine reports a clean warehouse can go a long way. One of the most common workplace hazards is clutter causing people to accidentally trip. Similarly, out-of-date equipment can also be risks, so it’s important to continuously check equipment.

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Due to lack of skilled workers, managers turn to other means of efficiency

Investing in material handling equipment can help boost efficiency.

Investing in material handling equipment can help boost efficiency.

Material handling equipment can help boost productivity as it allows workers to focus less on moving big items and rotating the same tasks in favor of moving multiple items at once without straining themselves. In an effort to boost productivity, many companies look to material handling equipment so they put less stress on the workforce.

With the amount of talented workers dropping in the warehouse pool in favor of going into other industries, warehouse managers have been looking for ways to do more with less. One way is through equipment, the other is technology. Modern Materials Handling reports more businesses are turning to automation as a means of addressing the talent gap in their warehouses.

The news provider reports that companies on average are agreeing to pay more for automation than they have in previous years. The same goes for spending on material handling equipment.

Shopify reports that investing in proper inventory management and operations upfront can help save money in the long run. When you’re running a more efficient organization, you’re spending less money on time and staff, ultimately adding to your bottom line. Staying efficient helps companies remain in good financial standing.

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