According to Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director of Supply Chain Group, this year’s Warehouse and Distribution Center DC Operations Survey, reducing operating costs continues to be the top priority for professionals in charge of warehouse and distribution center (DC) operations—yet they have little no new capital to sink into improvements.

So when it comes to optimizing the number of employees required to keep a production line stocked JIT with the correct parts- there are many options to consider before implementation which help support getting your materials handlers to optimal levels.

Material Handling engineers can help you find the right equipment to lift, rotate, transport, position and dispense material or equipment in the safest, most effective manner your world class manufacturing environment and process requires.

Various Material Handling Equipment

Regardless if you are working with parts in containers-totes, handling materials on pallets or transporting loads or loading and storing large metal coils – there are methods and processes to make every job safer, easier, ergo friendly and much more efficient.

Even when utilizing these time, labor and energy-saving tools or equipment – anytime any company also applies time and performance standards for measurement using a predetermined time system will provide–even more operator efficiency because non-valued added movements are exposed.

Lift Tables

Portable lift tables come with both powered and non-powered mobile and stationary scissor-lift versions.

There are standard tops available along with rotatable tops and tilting tops.  You can also find stainless steel construction. Some companies even make lift tables for material handling to suit the exact physical size as well as lift capacity of the user.

Container Tilters

A significant increase in productivity for an assembly or manufacturing process comes with eliminating the need for laborers to dig through containers of parts.

Container tilters can dramatically improve productivity and safety.  It is critical to position baskets so that parts can easily be accessible without stretching, bending, or reaching.


These are both powered and manual. They come in a variety of sizes and capabilities designed specifically to meet your needs.

Pallet Handling And Stacking Equipment

Manual stackers benefit from a rugged, ergonomic design.  Simple to use, they are highly maneuverable and support capacities up to 3,000 lbs. and lifting heights up to 80 ft.

Lift is accomplished by simply pushing a button embedded into an ergonomically designed comfort-grip handle. An indicator provides charge status at-a-glance and also includes a charger.

Coil Up-enders

Coil up-enders let users upend palletized metal coils to a coil cart safely.

A load-deck rotates 90 degrees, inverting the coil so it’s ready for loading. Up-enders are available with a full variety of capacities.

Coil Transporters

Coil transports provide movement for metal coils both to – and from coil storage – to stock reels. They arrive ready for positioning onto a stock-reel mandrel.

Transporters are best-suited anywhere movement of coils using cranes isn’t practical.

Jib Cranes

Invest in jib cranes to load metal coils onto coil reels – for skid mounting and transport by fork-truck.

Jib cranes are placed at the coil payout device. This allows your operators to use a coil hook, lifting the coil from a pallet and manipulating it onto a reel mandrel or into the nest of a coil cradle.

Jib cranes also work to position other loads to work station positions. This is needed most where overhead cranes and/or use of fork-trucks is not possible. Jib cranes can be designed to a customers’ application needs.

So summarize the aforementioned equipment, rare is the manufacturing, warehousing or distribution facility that does not suffer from some amount of space limitations. Maybe inventory has exceeded current capacity, or perhaps the footprint of the facility limits expansion possibilities. The point being the proper equipment can help to improve most any operation.

The Value of Predetermined Time Standards for Material Handling Tasks

The accountants help us determine the value of our equipment investment. Material handling engineers can help you select from multiple kinds of device designs for lifting, manipulating and repositioning materials and assembly-line products to ensure we get the best value. They can also help support predetermining time standards by planning the ergonomics of an operators movements. I think most engineers and companies “get that.”

I believe the true “valve” of your labor, however, comes from your efforts to engage them in what they do. The true value of any company is in the creativeness of their employees. I believe there is no better example of the age old adage “knowledge is power” in a manufacturing facility then where an employee is engaged in the decision making process.

Going forward, the trend in labor strategies within socially responsible companies is to focus on the individual more than the production numbers. Remember Edward Deming? It seems like a lifetime ago already – but he stated, “People support what they help create.” In the November’s addition of Industry Week, Rick Bohan, principle of Chagrin River Consulting states, “It’s not that the value of labor is ignored, it’s that it is not thought about in many organizations.”

To learn more about how predetermined time standards can help your organization directly involve your employees in the creation of labor standards please contact us.