Imagine you’re a caveman pushing a big rock along bumpy terrain as you work to construct your man-made home to take shelter from the snowy weather and bitter elements. The development of the wheel was monumental in our world’s history. There’s a reason it is always listed as one of the single greatest inventions of all time.
Fast-forward a few thousand years, and little has changed surrounding the importance of the wheel. With improvements made over the course of time, we’ve seen wheels and casters play a significant role in any major manufacturing operation or warehouse setting. The thing is, just like the wheel itself, casters are so commonplace to everyday business life, that I think most of us take for granted the impact they have on warehouse management, workplace productivity, warehouse safety, and our business’ overall bottom line.
Time To Improve Your Workplace Productivity
You’re probably wondering, “How Can a Caster Improve My Warehouse Management and Bottom Line?” This one is relatively straightforward, actually. If you were to manually transport or move materials throughout your facility or warehouse, it would take extra time and manpower to keep up at the rates that are needed to keep productivity moving along. Even with dollies or hand-trucks, the speed would be sluggish compared to modern-day material handling equipment, including casters.
It’s important to select casters that are appropriate to the floor or surface on which they are being used. Making sure those two align helps to reduce unnecessary wear on tear on both the caster and the surface area. Additionally, you need to take into consideration the weight and stress that the cart, machine or equipment is putting on the casters beneath. All of these factors affect the casters’ ability to operate as it should.
How fast are the caster wheels able to move? It’s something to think about. Naturally, the faster your equipment or materials can move throughout your warehouse (without increasing risk or reducing safety) will ultimately boost efficiency, productivity, and overall output. These are the three main factors that will affect speed:
- Surface: What are the casters rolling on? Wood, concrete, carpet, plastic? Smooth, rough, outdoor, indoor? Some casters are more suitable for certain conditions and/or surface areas than others. This not only impacts wear, but also impacts the stress and fatigue as the wheels begin to roll, move, and come to a stop – making a major impact on speed and efficiency. (This is affected too by motorized equipment that requires casters).
- Weight: What is the weight and stress of what’s sitting atop the casters? There’s a big difference between carts, refrigerators, tool chests, etc. This will help dictate the appropriate caster and wheel size and thickness.
- Type: Lastly, what type of caster is being used? Stem, plate, etc? There are many different types and choosing the right one based on your needs (surface, weight and application and how it’s being used) will ultimately affect speed and performance.
You need to avoid downtime that may come as a result of worn, faulty or broken casters. Beyond slower – or completely stopped! – production, you run the risk of impairing the relationship you have with your customers if you are unable to meet promised orders, or losing that business altogether to competitors who are able to fulfill the request. Proper warehouse management in ordering, implementing and maintaining the right equipment, can go a long way towards improving the bottom line.
Always Keep Warehouse Safety at the Forefront
Safety and employee wellbeing should always be your first and primary concern. Not just from an ethical standpoint, but also from a cost standpoint. The National Safety Council estimates that, annually, preventable workplace injuries equate to more than $160 billion in the U.S. alone. Wow! To make that number much more real, it boils down to $1,100 per worker per year at your organization. Consider how many your company employes, load up the calculator on your phone, and do the math. That’s a significant cost, right!? Be sure to keep your casters and flooring/aisles in tip-top condition to avoid workplace injuries. Be proactive and examine your casters to avoid overexertion, overextension, slips, falls and other accidents as a result of potentially faulty pieces of equipment. Replace your casters if you notice:
- Worn wheels
- Rust from the weather (if being used outside)
- Loose or broken bearings and brackets
- Busted plates or stems
Also, be sure to keep a lookout for worn, stripped or bumpy flooring or surface areas that the casters are moving along – and repair as needed. And examine any damage belonging to the carts, containers, furniture, or other equipment attached to your caster too.
Ensure you are quickly and properly replacing your casters to keep productivity at its peak and keep your operations functioning as safely as possible. Warehouse safety – and reducing unnecessary risk throughout your facility – can directly contribute to your overhead and your year-end profit margins.
The True Impact on the Bottom Line
At the forefront, revenue is generated from the sales of products and services. Within operations, we know that the cost of overhead – and all that makes up overhead – makes up a heavy expense weighing down on the bottom line. From downtime, to OSHA training, to broken or faulty equipment, the continual focus on well-maintained and fully-operating facilities and warehouses keeps overhead cost at a minimum and profit at its highest. It’s important to place value on not only the right equipment but ensuring each piece is fully-functioning and being used as it should.
Keep an eye on all the casters throughout your warehouse to be sure the typical wear and tear are not breaking down and affecting the smoothness, speed, and rollability of your casters.
Overall, the impact on the bottom line is clear. To overhead cost savings, something as small (and, oftentimes, forgotten) as your workplace casters have a significant impact on your company’s warehouse management and operations. These pieces are directly related to:
- Better workplace productivity
- Less labor and manpower required
- Increased speed throughout your warehouse
- Efficient transportation of goods and improved material handling
- Reduction in downtime
- Improved warehouse safety and less preventable injuries
And remember – quality casters lead to less frequent replacement of the casters themselves too. For any questions you have on casters, or to place an order today, contact us!