Thomas R. Cutler, leading manufacturing journalist, recently authored a feature about the role of logistics and hand truck efficiency in the current issue of Automation.com. According to Cutler, the North American distribution and logistics industry is valued at more than $300 billion and will experience even more growth in 2012. The value chain for the production, distribution, and sale of food, beverage and other merchandise indicate that production and warehouse facilities still handle products in bulk on pallets; pallets are moved using forklifts and pallet jacks.
While retail storefront employee occasionally use hand trucks to move merchandise in the backroom or on the sales floor, these hand trucks are not used frequently and employees do not consider the hand trucks to be a primary tool in their work.
Current research indicates that customers in these delivery segments have pain points that are not sufficiently addressed by the hand trucks currently used at the distribution center, warehouse, and delivery sites in the supply chain.
Stackable Merchandise Drive Material Handling Automation Requirements
Productivity and process improvements of the delivery component are driving most supply chain and automation changes across all business industries. Delivery is a vital step in the value chain is vital because the merchandise is handled in a packaging format that requires the use of hand trucks.
Firms offering solutions to better meet and automate delivery business requirements address stackable merchandise will see dramatic sales improvements in 2012.. A tall, heavy load magnifies the force placed on the frame, axles, wheels and bearings of the hand truck which leads to breakdowns and repairs. Of equal or greater concern is the fact that the hand truck status quo requires the hand truck operator to exert significant effort in pulling back, supporting and maneuvering the load.
David Dosier, Product Manager of Rotacaster for Magnus Mobility Systems, outlined some of the specific challenges in these types of material handling situations. Dosier said, "Uneven surfaces, long distances, and physical obstacles are real issues impacting the delivery supply chain. The amount of uneven surface area covered magnifies the impact of stress on the operators' body and on the hand truck. Uneven surfaces also eliminate the ability to use larger delivery trucks that can also fully support the load."
The typical range of distance traveled from the ramp of the truck to the delivery area of the retail storefront is 10ft to 100ft. When the distance traveled is significantly increased, such as 100 to 400 yards for mall and casino deliveries, company tends to use a different type of hand truck.
"Negotiating curbs, changing levels or thresholds, traversing doorways and lift entrances all require additional activity and exertion to ascend, turn, reverse and continually park," Dosier noted.
Bottom-line impacts in the Delivery process
Many food and beverage companies are self-insured;
An exclusive arrangement has been formed between Rotacaster Wheel Limited and Magnus Mobility Systems Inc. Magnus is the leading, worldwide provider of motion control solutions including casters and wheels, gas springs, levelers, bearings, and accessories. Magnus combines the best of single-source convenience with the benefits of a global network. Strategic distribution and service centers enable Magnus to provide timely delivery of Rotacaster products.
Magnus Mobility Systems/Rotacaster
David Dosier, Magnus/Rotacaster Product Manager