Utilities see a big spike in December

It's important to keep up with utility maintenance.

It’s important to keep up with utility maintenance.

Have you found there’s been greater need for utility carts to help get your systems ready for winter? If so, you’re not alone. With winter in full swing, all across the country people are using utilities at a record pace. According to Reuters, the month of December saw the biggest jump in utility usage since 1989, when outputs increased by 0.8 percent.

To put that into context, there was a 0.7 percent decline in November, indicating that while 2016 was noted to be one of the warmest on record, it’s not stopping people from using utilities. The news provider notes that because December was cold in contrast to the other warm months, it created a sharp rise in utilities, which normally have a gradual progression as the weather begins to cool months before.

There are adjustments that building managers can make to prepare for the winter that won’t have them spending all of their money on utilities. The Department of Energy suggests closing any holes or leaks around the building’s structure and windows. This can keep cold air from getting in, preserving the room’s temperature longer without the assistance of utilities. Additionally, doing routine maintenance on utilities can help prolong their shelf-life, reducing the costs that typically come with large repairs.

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New supply chain trends require adaptation

Do you know what materials are on which cart in the supply chain process?

Do you know what materials are on which cart in the supply chain process?

Now more than ever, a smooth running supply chain is critical to a business’s success. With so many ways of purchasing, channels that materials run through and shifting aspects of how business is conducted, managers need to have a pulse on every small detail of their operation. Every supervisor should have an idea of the kinds of inventory being placed on material handling carts in every aspect of the operation.

According to Modern Materials Handling, businesses are finding that they need to be able to adapt to changes in the supply chain from every angle, as trends have shifted in recent years due to the rise of e-commerce. The news provider reports that this marks a change in both business to consumer and business to business operations, so all managers need to be able to make adjustments.

However, the news source is quick to point out that many managers may feel like they need to do some serious catching up to the rest of the industry.

According to Smart Data Collective, visibility in the supply chain is only becoming a bigger trend, and there is a growing amount of technology that gives managers data as to where all materials are in the supply chain process. This can help create a better overall picture and execute strategy.

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Gear up for winter weather with regular car maintenance

Ready to make improvements to your vehicle?

Ready to make improvements to your vehicle?

Winter means maintenance for a lot of things. Ranging from automobiles to machinery to buildings, the harsh winter weather can be quite treacherous at times. Repair shop workers are no doubt filling their utility carts with auto parts as people take their vehicles in to prep for winter.

According to the Atmore Advance, severe weather can have dangerous impacts on vehicles, and drivers need to make sure they’re prepared for the tough terrain and difficult weather. The news provider suggests making sure tires have enough pressure and they’re free of any holes that could cause quick deflation with cold weather. Additionally, you should make sure that your tires have the proper treads to handle slippery winter surfaces. It can be particularly difficult to drive when it’s icy and snowy, and getting winter tires can be a big help in navigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports drivers should also be sure to check their batteries and cooling systems. Although winter may not seem like the time to check a cooling system, the organization reports that when the coolant freezes, it can expand, which can permanently damage the engine. This can be a major cost burden to drivers, which is why it’s important to take it to a professional.

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Utility trends put customers in control

Are you making improvements to your utilities?

Are you making improvements to your utilities?

Utilities can add up in expenses quickly, and smart building managers understand the importance of having their maintenance crews move their utility carts around the facility seeing where they can make improvements.

A growing trend in the industry is for smart utilities. Similar to how companies have been installing motion detectors to shut off lights when rooms are not in use, heating and cooling systems are also getting an upgrade. According to Green Tech Media, smart meters were on the rise for most of the year, after experiencing a lull post-recession. This is in part due to companies wanting to control the amount of utilities they’re using. Additionally, the news provider points out that the industry as a whole has been looking to become more technologically friendly, with providers wanting to give customers real-time data on energy usage. The source suggests that this trend will continue into the new year.

This year has been the focus of consumer demand, According to Forbes, utility users not only want to be able to control how much they’re using when it comes to resources, but they also want the freedom to choose what kinds. There’s also been a major shift toward using sustainable resources, which can reduce utilization and decrease costs.

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Certifications can help get manufacturers the workers they need

Would you consider certifications?

Would you consider certifications?

Hiring talent in the manufacturing industry has been a challenge that has plagued managers for years. While previous trends appeared to show less job opportunities, what many hiring managers were finding is that there were not enough skilled workers to meet demand. Not anyone can move material handling carts around; workers need to be properly prepared for what the job asks of them.

However, Modern Materials Handling reports that industry certifications are on the rise, leading many workers to come to the job prepared. According to the news provider, more companies are trying to prepare potential hires by requiring specific certifications. This way, interested candidates can take the training courses they need and achieve certification, negating any confusion about what they may need to do to prepare for the job.

Additionally, the news provider reports that some companies are creating coalitions to make sure every hiring manager is on the same page when it comes to certifications. This way, someone applying to a similar role in another company would have to fulfill the same standards.

Proper training could also result in cost savings. According to the Small Business Chronicle, properly trained personnel can help improve efficiency. Employees will have the sense of what is best practice, and they’ll be able to streamline operations.

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Preventative maintenance can be key in cost savings

How often are you having maintenance done?

How often are you having maintenance done?

How often are you sending around your maintenance crews with their utility carts filled with equipment ready to fix any problems they might find? While many building managers may think everything is in working order until there is a specific problem to address, doing routine, preventative maintenance can go a long way in keeping costs down and everything running smoothly.

According to Modern Materials Handling, maintenance crews sometimes have a habit of letting routine maintenance checks fall by the wayside in order to focus on other priorities. However, some managers have noticed that by increasing the amount of preventative maintenance checks and doing more necessary adjustments, this can keep equipment running for a longer time and give it a better shelf life than if problems are affecting it for prolonged periods.

If you’re outsourcing your maintenance, you may find that keeping with routine prevention can reduce the amount of times you need to call for an emergency repair. According to Facilities Net, one organization found that with routine maintenance checks, problems were being found at an earlier rate, which meant that there was less of a chance something would break unexpectedly, creating the need to call for an emergency repair that could take days.

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Keep up with landscaping, even during the winter months

Are you making winter landscaping plans?

Are you making winter landscaping plans?

With temperatures beginning to freeze across the country, landscaping may be the last thing on people’s minds. However, professionals know that there’s a reason to bring out the landscaping cart all year-round in order to ensure that greenery stays its best while it’s in season.

According to Total Landscape Care, plants still require maintenance even when the temperatures drop. The news provider recommends wrapping tree trunks in a light colored material to keep them from sun scald. In areas that are hit hard by snow, the heaviness can have lasting effects on plants. Landscapers will want to prepare by wrapping small shrubs in cloth in order to keep them from being weighed down by snow. Additionally, maintenance crews should check on plants throughout the winter and brush off any excess snow they can.

States susceptible to extreme winter weather shouldn’t be the only ones concerned. According to the Albuquerque Journal, landscapers from the southern and western parts of the country should still be watering plant roots even in the winter months. This can help protect the plants from any frost damage, because the water will keep the soil at a consistent damage. Doing maintenance now can increase the chances the greenery reappears in the spring looking just as vibrant.

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Make energy efficient improvements now to save money in the long run

Are you ready to make building improvements?

Are you ready to make building improvements?

The winter season means a lot of stress can be put on your utilities. While you’re walking around your building with your cart filled with tools, consider making adjustments to your utilities that will have them more efficient than ever. Not only can improvements help prolong equipment life, it can also increase overall energy efficiency, saving you money in the long run.

According to Green Tech Media, while some businesses may be hesitant to improve the technology associated with their utilities because of the upfront investment, it can actually save money in the long run. Many local governments are trying to show the benefits of making system upgrades early, and how energy efficiency can help save money over time. Building managers may want to think about this when they’re planning their spending forecast.

While system upgrades can help, they’re not the only things building managers can do to improve efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, taking the time to make sure the structure is properly insulated can keep heat in, meaning you won’t have to use your system as much to control the temperature. Finding air leaks and adding the proper insulation can go a long way in making improvements.

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Stay on top of routine maintenance to avoid unexpected costs

Do you have your maintenance tools ready?

Do you have your maintenance tools ready?

How often do you have the maintenance crews going through the building with their utility carts filled with equipment? While some building managers believe that just fixing problems as they occur is enough, preventative maintenance can help the building stay in good shape for much longer, decreasing maintenance costs in the long run.

If you wait until something needs to be fixed, you could be paying for an even bigger problem than if you had just checked up on it on a routine basis. According to Business.com, companies can no longer just wait for a problem to arise. Building managers should instead try to anticipate exactly when something will break or notice when a part of the building looks slightly worse for wear and work to address the problem quickly.

The news provider reports that by doing routine maintenance to make sure a problem doesn’t get out of hand, building managers won’t be caught off-guard with an unexpected expense.

According to Buildings.com, the things the maintenance crew should be on the lookout for the most is plumbing, roofing, lighting and the HVAC system. Should a large problem occur with any of these, it could be very costly for building management.

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Keep storage bins to organize your warehouse in time for the holiday rush

Keep your warehouse organized.

Keep your warehouse organized.

The holiday shopping season is underway, and businesses across the country are ramping up their efforts to prepare for the rush in customer demand. This means warehouse managers need to be at the top of their game in tracking inventory. Organization is key, and storage bins can help keep different sized inventory in order and easily stackable. If you properly label each bin, you’ll be able to find the item quickly and fulfill the order efficiently.

According to Business 2 Community, without the proper organization in place, it doesn’t matter how much a manager has prepared the sales forecast, they won’t be able to meet demand as efficiently, which could cut down on sales. Additionally, if you’re unable to find items and properly fulfill orders, you’ll lose out on potential purchases.

Analysts are predicting a lot of sales will come from online. With e-commerce more popular than ever, companies have to organize their warehouse in a way that fulfills both brick-and-mortar and online sales. According to ABC News, about 17 percent of all online shopping is done online, and people are choosing to spend a lot. The news provider reports Cyber Monday sales are expected to hit $3.5 billion this year, up from $3.12 billion last year.

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