#1 Create Handling Routes
Let us face reality in most organizations Material Handling is a necessary evil and very seldom engineered with a purpose. If you look at your Material Handling requirements like a process and conduct a comprehensive work breakdown you will find significant opportunities that go beyond reducing your Material Handling costs while actually improving productivity.
Focus on your Material Handling to look like a Mass Transit Bus system rather than the typical "hey" approach used to hail a cab or roaming lift truck/
#1 Provide Your Drivers with Well-Optimized Routes
A bad route can make all your route planning efforts be in vain and your entire route could be a mess if you’re planning routes using a pen and paper. Poor routes also mean that your Material Handlers will spend more time on a task and traveling longer distances which will skyrocket energy usage and expenses. Ensure you always provide 100% accurate and well-optimized routes to your Material Handlers. Y
#2 Monitor Your Material Handlers and Routes
You measure Productivity, Health & Safety and even quality but do you measure the effectiveness of your Material Handling processes? After you have defined your routes and established Key Performance Indictors then as a team you can enhance and improve.
Planning optimized routes may be the most important step, but it won’t have any impact on your costs if your people and Material Handlers don’t follow it. They may make personal stops, be in the wrong location at the incorrect time or not follow the prescribed time schedule which will quickly put your system out of whack. In addition, people may not want to wait for the Material Handler so again your system could become vulnerable to corruption.
#3 Move it Closer and Chaku-Chaku
For a normal person 2 steps covers 5 feet of travel and typically takes 0.6 of a second ... not a big deal, but if you multiply this by 1,000 or 10,000 or 1million transactions it becomes a huge time robber ... so how many opportunities can you realize by reducing distances by 5 feet between operations/
Chaku-Chaku literally means "Load-Load" ... so after you move operations closer do you have an opportunity where the output from one process can automatically load the next process? You may need to do some task or sub-task balancing to make it work.
#4 Ensure Regular Vehicle Maintenance
One vehicle breakdown can jeopardize your entire plan. Can you afford that? Therefore, you should have a preventive maintenance program in place because regular vehicle inspections and maintenance will prevent breakdowns and keep your vehicles in optimal shape to provide better performance and save you money.
The reporting and analytics feature of a route planner if used and used in conjunction with a GPS tracker will also be useful here. It provides critical data, such as the total distance traveled, total stops, and the energy used, which will help you identify when vehicles require maintenance.
#5 Focus on Reducing Failed Deliveries, Missed Stops
Every failed delivery will put a dent in your profits. But more important it will interrupt the cadence of your operation and process. This will directly impact your productivity and ultimately profitability. Also make sure that you have a Key Performance Indictor to measure equipment utilization.
So, what’s your strategy for reducing Material Handling costs? Do you have any other cost savings methods to add?