What Do You Look for When Selecting a Conveyor Systems Supplier?
When it comes to selecting the right conveyor system, it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all. In fact, making the right decision on conveyor hardware, layout, design, and type for your business is critical to ensuring smooth operations that enhance productivity, reduce labor costs, and deliver products to customers quickly and correctly.
Is your supplier guiding you to the best conveyor system to achieve your best results?
What problems does your supplier need to address?
It may sound simple, but the most logical place to begin is to identify the nature of your business challenges and proactively address how to overcome them. Your chosen conveyor supplier should lead you toward a business-oriented, not a hardware-oriented, concept. A good supplier will:
- Determine the root of your conveying problem (for example, conveyor bottlenecks) and what you’ll need to do in order to keep product flowing to machines and maximize throughput.
- Measure product damage. Does the solution involve your picking, packing, or sorting operation?
- Look at time from order to shipping, finding issues that the right conveyor system can correct.
Once you’ve pinpointed specific challenges together, it’s easier to develop a vision of the conveying solution that will help you meet your goals and better serve your customers. In addition, the right conveyor systems integrator will help you develop a vision that can be easily communicated to management. Follow this link for a complete list of conveyor specification resources, including the right ways to utilize solutions like sortation systems, accumulating conveyors, spiral conveyors, incline conveyors, etc.
Can the supplier address both current and future needs?
A conveying solution should address current warehouse and distribution needs, but selecting the right supplier shouldn’t be viewed as a one-off solution. With changing consumer habits, increasing global competition, and shorter lead times, it’s crucial for your supplier to anticipate growth in the future in order to best position your facility for success over the long term.
A good supplier will help you achieve a balance between the best price for your current needs and avoiding the need for significant rework as your business changes. If you believe that you may be shipping heavy items in the future, your system should have the capacity to handle these items.
Designed for sustainability, Hytrol’s high quality product line can help you prepare for the future by providing a conveyor system that’s not only dependable and innovative, but that offers versatility that can meet the challenges of shifting technological advances.
Is the supplier providing the best return on investment?
Material handling systems are expensive, and it’s only by analyzing the total cost of ownership that you can truly understand the investment. Good suppliers will provide you with information on every cost factor, not just the cost of conveyor hardware.
Specific ROI considerations might include:
- Workforce reduction: conveyor systems typically reduce manual labor and time spent doing mundane tasks that are both difficult and less efficient. A well-designed conveyor line will be more consistent and faster than workers, while reducing the costs that come with dangerous and difficult tasks.
- Improved throughput and better production speed.
- Quicker turnaround, meaning that you may be able to carry less inventory and still maximize customer service.
- More floor space freed up for additional production or storage, etc. Conveyor systems can be elevated, or run through previously unused air space that allows you to recoup that space.
Is this solution improving safety and promoting a safer operation?
Industry experts agree that safety in the workplace is a critical measure of success for any industrial organization (both from the perspective of compliance with industry regulations and to reduce the risk of adverse events). But better workplace safety also drives manufacturing performance. An Aberdeen Group study shows that best-in-class manufacturers had the highest overall equipment efficiency and the lowest accident and injury rates. Safer operations, it turns out, are also better operations by nature. They’re more organized, better thought out, and have more productive employees.
Safety is a key priority in conveyor system design and implementation, says engineering manager Anthony Gustafson in a Manufacturers’ Monthly article on conveyor lines. “In many cases, a new conveyor system is used to remedy or lessen an occupational health & safety issue,” he claims. “One client recently implemented a conveyor system to transport their product from production to warehousing, via an elevator feeding onto a 130m-long overhead conveyor, which traveled between two buildings and over a roadway.” In this case, the conveyor system selected by the manufacturer addressed two important considerations at once: safety and productivity.
Speed, reliability, productivity, and safety are a few of the considerations to keep in mind when selecting a conveyor system that can best suit your organization’s needs. Depending on the unique challenges facing your organization, it’s important to ask the right questions to help you identify the type of system that will help you streamline your operation and lead to improved results.
The decision to partner with a conveyor integrator is just as important because that company will help you identify the right hardware and software, as well as implement the system.
What questions do you feel are most important to ask a potential conveyor supplier?
About the author:
Scott Stone is a 24-year veteran of the material handling industry at Cisco-Eagle. He can be reached through the company’s website, www.cisco-eagle.com, or by calling 888-877-3861.