The warehousing industry gets more expensive every year. The Warehousing Cost and Pricing Survey shows an average yearly increase of 5.59% for 2021, compared to a 3.3% rise last year. And the automotive industry is no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a string of supply chain shortages and record inflation. The average cost per new-car transaction rose 13% this year alone, thanks to rising fuel costs and increased demand.
So, what can automotive warehouses do to save money when just about everything seems to cost more than it used to? Buying used warehouse equipment is a great place to reduce costs in the automotive industry. Disposable shipping materials like plastic wrap and wooden pallets will cost you more in the long run compared to reusable containers. From shipping to receiving and everything in between, learn how to save money by investing in used warehouse automotive equipment.
1. Used Racking Systems for Storing Parts
Every warehouse needs a racking system with individual shelves for storing parts and goods. You’ll need to choose a style based on the size of your inventory. Look for used shelves made of steel with a large weight capacity when storing heavy items like tires, doors and car frames. Beam shelves tend to be the best choice for tires. They come with large cross beams that you can use to hang your merchandise. You can also use these racks to store pallets with heavy items.
Many automotive warehouses use mezzanine storage racks to create several tiers of products. These racks come with a wide variety of shelves and racks for smaller parts and supplies. Separating your goods into different levels will help your workers quickly distinguish one section from another.
Traditional stack racks are perfect for storing miscellaneous goods and supplies. You can place storage containers directly on the shelf if the person is picking smaller items one at a time. Place the container on a pallet if you need to move large quantities of goods with a forklift.
Consider the layout of your warehouse when choosing a racking system. The racks should be easy to move and rearrange as your storage needs evolve. If you’d like to keep the racks in place, find shelving racks that bolt to the floor for added durability.
Stack racks are typically made of highly durable materials that will last the test of time. You can save thousands of dollars by buying used racks when redesigning or expanding your automotive warehouse. Shop for used stack racks online to make the most of your storage budget.
2. Collapsible Containers for Sorting and Delivering Goods
Space is always an issue in the warehousing industry. The cost to rent warehouse space continues to rise every year as the number of goods moving through the supply chain increases. Your containers make up a big part of your warehouse. They will come in and out of rotation depending on the flow of goods, which can be hard to predict.
That’s why it’s best to utilize reusable collapsible containers. They are usually made of high-quality materials like High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or metal. Your team can quickly deploy these containers when new orders come in. All they have to do is pull the walls of the container apart, and it will be good to go. Collapsible containers take up less space than rigid shipping or storage materials. You can stack them along the wall or place them on a rack near the loading dock for faster unloading times.
These containers can also be used to ship goods in bulk. You can put smaller boxes and containers inside the collapsible bin and move it with a lift truck. When the driver is finished making deliveries, they can collapse the empty container in seconds to make more space in the truck.
They also cost less and are easier to use than cardboard boxes and crates. Your team won’t have to worry about assembling the box and breaking it down at the end of the day. You can reuse these bulk collapsible containers over and over again without damaging your inventory.
3. Lift Trucks for Loading/Unloading Goods
Most automotive warehouses handle large, heavy merchandise. Even if you don’t handle heavy items, your team will likely need to ship in bulk. Instead of having your workers move these items by hand, have them use a lift truck to save time and energy. It’s the safest way to load/unload goods, while protecting everyone’s muscles and joints.
Consider what type of lift truck will work best with your goods. They come in several different styles, including pallet jacks, hand trucks and service carts. You’ll need to use a forklift or pallet jacket when moving items on a pallet. They come with forks that fit into the slots on the pallet, which helps distribute the weight.
Some machines are operated by hand while others need to be driven. Make sure your workers can drive the machine while safely navigating the workplace. Your aisles should be wide enough for the forklift to move safely in and out.
When buying used lifting equipment, be sure to have it inspected by a professional. Experts say it’s best to repair and maintain this equipment after every 200 hours of work.
4. Plastic Pallets for Safely Handling Goods
Pallets are essential in every warehouse. They help you and your team move goods quickly and safely with a lift truck. While wooden pallets tend to be common in many facilities, they’re not exactly the most cost efficient. Wooden pallets will break down and chip apart over time. They also lead to the spread of dust, dirt and other airborne debris that can reduce air quality. If the pallet is damaged or structurally unsound, it could collapse at a moment’s notice, putting your workers and inventory at risk.
Utilize used plastic pallets when your wood pallets break down. They are made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) with excellent weight capacity to give you more peace of mind on the job. They retain their physical dimensions better than wooden pallets for a perfect fit every time. The plastic won’t warp or chip apart for a cleaner workspace.
5. Conveyor Belts for Simplifying the Packaging Process
Conveyor belts are used to quickly move items and packages from one area to the next. They will help you and your team simplify the packaging, manufacturing or order fulfillment process by automatically moving goods, so your workers don’t have to do it by hand. Employees can quickly put something in the shipping container or add parts to the product as it moves down the belt.
There are lots of different types of conveyor belts to choose from, including motor-powered belts that your team can turn on and off and gravity roller conveyors that slide the product down a slight decline.
Find used conveyor belts that suit your needs. Parts of the machine may need to be repaired or replaced, especially if it uses a motor. Modular conveyor belts are easy to repair. The belt is made up of individual sections that you can swap out as needed.
6. Plastic Bins for Organizing Parts and Supplies
The average vehicle is made up of tens of thousands of different parts and components, including everything from spark plugs and gaskets to small items like nuts and bolts. Keeping track of all this inventory can be a struggle.
Use a parts bin to store and organize all these different parts and supplies. These containers come in all sorts of bright colors that make it easy to distinguish one item from another. You can put these nesting totes and racks directly on the shelf for easy access or stack them on top of each other to create even more storage space. They also come with drop-down openings that make it easy to reach inside. Your team will also quickly recognize the contents for faster picking times.
Plastic bins are extremely durable. They will last for years on end, especially when they are just sitting on the shelf. The tote will need to be cleaned before storing your products but, as long as it isn’t cracked or damaged, it should be good to go.
7. Laundry Carts for Restocking Misplaced Items and Returning Inventory
If you’ve ever been to a laundromat, you might be surprised to learn how useful these carts can be. They are much safer and easier to use than lift trucks and service carts. Your team can push them around the facility as they stock incoming inventory or put back misplaced merchandise. They’re not designed to lift heavy items or store smaller goods that might slip through the cracks, but you can use them to quickly move larger items and raw industrial materials like rubber, metal, felt and upholstery.
You can find all kinds of push carts for sale online. They tend to last for years on end if they are treated well. You may have to replace one of the wheels, but it’s much cheaper than buying a brand-new cart.
8. Packing Tables, Scales and Labeling Machines
You’ll need equipment to package your goods and prepare your containers for shipment, including scales, packaging and labeling machines, which can cost hundreds of dollars. You don’t have to buy this equipment new. Try finding gently used packaging equipment to save money where it counts.
Try to reduce the amount of waste created during the packaging process. For example, use bulk containers that are designed to fit on top of a pallet instead of shrink-wrapping individual boxes to a pallet. This can be a difficult and arduous process. Your team will have to cut the wrap and recycle it at the end of the day. Save time by having them ratchet strap the container to the pallet.
9. Super Sacks for Transporting Dry Goods in Bulk
Super sacks are the preferred choice when it comes to moving large quantities of dry goods, including powders, salts, coal and grains. If your facility transports or uses these items, you can find used super sacks online to save money on the cost of materials. These sacks are made with thick woven plastic that won’t break apart over time. You can safely store your dry goods in these sacks, even if they have seen their fair share of loads or harvests.
Saving money usually takes time. You can slowly implement this equipment and see how it affects your bottom line. New warehouse equipment isn’t necessarily any better than used equipment. Remember to clean and maintain these containers over time to increase their working life.
You also need to make sure your team is using this equipment correctly to improve worker efficiency. Everyone should be trained on how to properly operate this machinery. Encourage your workers to work smarter and not harder. If it’s easier and safer to push items in a cart rather than use a lift truck, they shouldn’t bother using the more complicated piece of machinery.
Use an automated warehouse system to collect data on your warehouse operations. It’s nearly impossible for one person to keep track of everything happening in the warehouse without using technology. Every moving piece adds up to a greater whole. You can analyze how long it takes your workers to complete certain tasks. Continue making changes and compare the outcome with your previous times. If you don’t see a noticeable improvement, try and try again.