Conveyor Conversations: Selection and Scalability
Choosing the right conveyor system need not be an overwhelming task for the warehouse or distribution center professional. It starts with the realization that there is no perfect or ideal material handling system. The most efficient mindset when considering a conveyor system is to be sure the system is designed with specific characteristics starting with the ease of adaptability to changing needs.
While seeming rhetorical, the conveyor system must be operationally safe and reliable. The conveyor solution must require minimal maintenance and cost effective to operate.
Too often conveyors are relegated as non-value-added equipment that does little more than move product through a warehouse or distribution center. Conveyors must not be the last elements considered in the process planning cycle, but rather the first.
Turning conveyor selection and purchase into a pure commodity introduces risk to the operation, productivity, and cost-effective material flow.
The wrong conveyor type undermines the warehouse or distribution center’s operating efficiency and long-term strategy, impacting profitability and competitive advantages.
In all warehouse and distribution environments conveyors transport product between steps in the order fulfillment process and provide accumulation buffers throughout the process allowing for workflow balancing.
Scalability of a conveyor system is required whether the strategic planning process is short-term or long-term. Selecting conveyors that facilitate growth and adaptability to change over time is essential in omni-channel, ecommerce, 3PLs, and other FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) warehouses. Accounting for an extensive range of product types and sizes will generate increased throughput over time. The system should be capable of being “extended” and/or reconfigured as needed to adapt to future needs and requirements.
Conveyor systems are mechanically necessary to automated warehouse and distribution solutions and should never be considered as an afterthought. They are a critical element in the DC facility’s operational efficiency and company’s profitability. Properly selected and designed, these systems grow and adapt to meet future expectations.
For a company to realize the maximum benefits and return on investment from such a purchase, conveyor systems should be planned for and considered early in the process planning cycle, evaluated as an investment in productivity and operating efficiency, and selected based on real, strategic value.
Alfacon Solutions (https://alfaconsolutions.com) will be exhibiting at MODEX 2018 April 9-12, 2018 in Atlanta, GA at booth #B637 and presenting an educational seminar called Adaptive Conveying on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM in Theater I. The presentation will provide attendees an overview of a configurable conveying solution and how to integrate conveying solutions into automated vehicles. John Murdoch is CEO of Alfacon Solutions; a thought-leader in both the manufacturing and materials handling sectors and leveraging more than a quarter century of experience, Murdoch brings a unique perspective to engineered material handling solutions and the role of automation. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with Murdoch at Schedule a face-to-face meeting with Murdoch at https://alfaconsolutions.com/meet-us-modex/.