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Ways to reduce costs and increase profitability of distribution facility :

5 Areas to focus on in the pursuit of  warehouse cost savings !

Labor

labor costs are typically the largest expense in the warehouse, and in many operations, such as 3 rd party logistics service provider 3PL’s .

Operations

Identify your best, trustworthy and productive employees and implement reward to achieve goals

Optimize your space

Land cost is one of the largest contributors to costs in warehousing. Cost per pallet stored should be questioned to ensure space is optimized. The type of racking within your warehouse should utilize the height of your warehouse.

Technology

Consider  new, advanced Warehouse Management System . If you are not using a W.M.S, most likely it is much harder to realize warehouse cost savings.

  • Facilities Management and Optimized equipment use :
  • Evaluate leasing rather than buying
  • Consider short term rental
  • Make equipment in peak performance
  • Avoid equipment failure during a process
  • Invest efficient fans like H.V.L.S fans
  • Convert to high efficiency lighting like L.E.D .

Optimized equipment use :

[1]  Increase trailer volume / weight capacity [2]  Increase dock capacity [3]  Increase loading speed [4]  Increase safety in dock service area [5]   Increase the energy efficient thermal barrier at dock  door .

Increase Trailer volume

With legal and practical limit to the height [ 13’ 6” ]  and length of trailers [ 75’ ]  and width restrictions [ 8’ 6” ]  , the only opportunity to grow trailer capacity is to lower the bed. To achieve  that goal   low profile tires  &  Air ride suspension are  options .  Trucks using low profile tires are becoming increasingly common today. The old standard 24” wheel has been replaced by 22.5” wheel  This trend means lower trailer bed heights as much as 5” to 8 ” lower. However capacity is still restricted  by  how much additional weight can be carried within posted road  gross vehicle weight[ G.V.W] Limits. And Air ride how it work ?

Air suspension is a type of vehicle suspension powered by an engine driven Electric air pump or compressor. Using an air Suspension Compressor, it will turn on to fill the air bags when needed. This pump pressurizes the air, using compressed air as a spring. An air suspension dryer is attached directly to the compressor. The function of the air dryer is to capture the moisture that is released when the air is compressed. Air suspension replaces conventional steel springs. With a height sensor the vehicle height can be determined. Working together, the air compressor and computer will allow the proper amount of air to be dispersed to the bags. There is a solenoid in the air bags; the solenoid will close once the correct amount of air has been achieved. If for some reason there is a surplus of air the solenoid will open letting the air out and bring the vehicle to factory height. All this is possible with a control module; this is the brain of the system. The control module controls the air suspension compressor through a solid state relay. If the height sensor determines a change, the information is sent to the control module and the air suspension system begins to work. The purpose of air suspension is to provide a smooth ride quality and in some cases self-leveling. Air suspension has been installed on vehicles for years and is one of the most dependable systems if properly maintained. These air suspension systems can have many benefits, great ride quality, increase handling, decrease tire wear, and the ability to adapt to changing loads.

  • Trailer heights can now range from 40” to 50″ [ 52″ for refrigerated trailers] 53′ for inter modal   containers , and 56″ for overseas containers. Consequently, dock heights should be lowered from 48”  [ 50 ” for refrigerated docks to 46″ .
  • Another solution is longer dock levelers [ from 6 ‘ to 8 ‘ ] to cover the greater range in bed heights
  • Dock door widths of 8’ 0 ” are not adequate for 8 ‘ 6 ” wide trailers to load or unload the   Pallet  closet to the door. A dock door width of 9 ‘ 0” [ or even 10’ ] is more appropriate
  • A lower dock height requires a higher dock door . With interior clearance of up to 112 “ [9’ 3 ” ]  door height of 10 ‘ is now recommended . These larger doors are too big for manual operations and should be to  Increase dock capacity.  Previously dock door centers of 13’ 6 ” were recommended for over the road carrier. Docks with  closer centers of 12’ or 12’ 6 ” acceptable when the trailers were being placed by company drivers. These were predicated on a 120 ‘ deep truck court  With greater the greater use of  75 ‘ long trailers, recommended truck court depth are now
  • 150 ‘ for 13  to 14 ‘ centers
  • 165’ for 12 ‘ to 13 ‘ centers

More land is needed to accommodate more trucks and

Increase dock capacity

Column center lines along the dock face might also be adjacent to work with closer  spacing of wider dock doors.

Increasing loading speed

An increasing in loading dock speed can reduce driver down time [ now mandated maximum driver hours of service are reduced] remove a bottle neck in supply  chain and possibly reduce employee head court  Loading speed can be increased through staging the trailer loads at the dock door prior to the truck arrival. Larger capacity trailers now warrant deeper staging areas . The recommended staging depth is now 65 ‘ – 75 ‘ , which is measured from the back of the dock leveler to the cross aisles of the racking . This becomes a new challenge for the structural engineer to minimize columns in the staging area. *  Increase safety

There e are now various methods of securing dock trailers to dock walls and dock . aprons to ensure that the trailer does not tip over or a fork lift does not drive out the dock door after the trailer has departed . Some of this equipment will need to be adjusted for longer trailers with smaller wheels. The other key adjustment is a deeper concrete apron at the dock door after the trailer  has departed . . A depth of 75’ is now recommended with a minimum of 55’ . Hydraulic or Pneumatic  dock levelers integrated to dock operations and truck restraint are also becoming the standard to ensure safety of employees as well as trailer content.

 Increase energy efficient   thermal barriers

Standard dock levelers are allowing outside air in and inside air out [ which creates huge electric bill when in side temperature are in a controlled condition ]. Many dock leveler have accessories that reportedly decrease air flow and water vapor. A better solution is the vertical storing hydraulic leveler, which allows the dock door to be completely shut when not in use. These levelers do not have the range of standard levelers and cost a bit more. They also provide great security from out side tampering.  Better thermal barriers can also be achieved through new vision panels which have higher R values and allow greater visibility of the truck court . Better dock seals and dock shelters can also create a tighter fit and better at diverting rain or snow from the dock opening. Using a H.V.L.S fan also increase energy efficiency because It circulates air and control moisture.

Another means to reduce air flow is to eliminate the practice of stopping the trailer  just short of dock, opening the trailer doors 260º  and backing up the trailer to the dock. This practice prolongs the time that the dock door is open and the trailer doors are open [ possibly damaging the product from rain , snow or temperature ]  and it raises a safety issue  when the driver leaves his rig to open the doors. The solution is to provide  10 ‘ wide doors and continues trench vertical store levelers. This approach allows the trailer to   drive through  ‘ the dock seals and trailer doors open 180º in the building after the trailer is secured. Unfortunately , in this approach the width of the dock door may preclude using 12’ center line spacing while still maintaining the structural integrity of the dock wall.

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