Hello all and welcome to Warehouse and Operations as a Career. I’m Marty and today let’s talk about some of the equipment we’re all using each day. First, I’d like to thank everyone for the questions and suggestions sent in last week. We mentioned a Slip-Sheet attachment and I think it got us all thinking about those pieces of equipment we see or hear about but haven’t been exposed to just yet. Before we discuss our equipment usage I’d like to throw out a quick reminder to never get on or touch a piece of powered industrial equipment that we’re not trained on or certified to do so. I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing it but it’s the law and even more importantly it’s a good rule that helps keep us and our coworkers Safe. We haven’t mentioned the reg 29CFR1910.178 lately, if you’re here in the states look it up, it’ll give you some in site about its importance and purpose. And we here at WAOC would love to hear about any other countries regulations and how there implemented too.
So, if you’re in the warehousing industry one of the first pieces of equipment you’ll experience could be the manual Pallet Jack. We spoke about the manual jack and its origin back in episode 36, Op’s most go to piece of equipment, check that show out, its history is pretty interesting. Powered wise the Single Jack is usually our first step into powered equipment, wither a walkie, meaning you walk along with it and there’s not an attached platform for you to stand on or a Rider which will have a platform if it’s an End Control and an actual driver’s compartment should it be a Center Drive or Center Control. Those of us that’s used a Tow Truck or Tovar will recognize its driver compartment, I think they just engineered a tow truck that we use to pull buggies behind us with and added the load forks so we could select and pull pallets instead of having to fingerprint the products twice, once placing on a buggy and then again putting them on a pallet. We got smart quick once product started being loaded onto trucks with pallets instead of all the floor loads and learned to place the pallets on our buggies which could then be picked up by a forklift on the docks, what a time saver that was! Anyway, a single jack is great for loading and unloading trailers and moving freight around the warehouse and staging areas, close quarters and tight places. Then we have the Double Jack, simply a Rider jack that can pick up and haul two pallets at a time. A double jack is great for order selection, as we can pull twice the cube and cases with one pass through our pick path or thru warehouse. It’s definitely a productivity maker. And when you talk about Selection Productivity there’s the Tripple Jack, you guessed it, meaning we can pick up and haul 3 pallets at a time. The triple pallet jack is relatively new to the industry, but man has it helped product movement and metrics. It arrived on the scene around 2004 and it’s been quite the game changer in our larger distribution operations. I actually had the privilege of working with a couple of manufacturers as their engineers worked out the load wheels and turning radius needed to navigate the aisles and end caps. Of course, this beast won’t work in all environments, even some of the larger facilities ended up having to remove a few end bays and uprights to create the turning space needed but wow, we went from being able to select like 60 cube to 180 cube at a time or with each pass through the warehouse. That’s real productivity, and pretty easy to achieve when all that travel time is cut out. Anyway, today as an order selector chances are we’ll be working on a double or triple electric pallet jack.
Another piece of equipment, the Cherry Picker or High-Rise machine. I actually operated the high-rise machine for about 2 years, the height took some getting us to but I really enjoyed working in that department. Something like this may be found in large item or bulk item storage centers. I’ve seen them in furniture warehouses and those large big box warehouse stores before, especially those DIY home remodel or repair stores. A unique piece of equipment as the operator rides up in the air with the pallet on an operator’s platform. Since we’ll be working in the air and capable of rising more than 6ft off the ground we’ll be required, and should want too, be wearing a harness, a full body harness that we’ll attach to a lanyard which will catch us should we step from our platform or off the pallet. Here we’ll be reaching out and retrieving items from a rack or storage slot and securely placing them on our pallets. They used to be used in the foodservice warehouses for small wears selection but you don’t see them much in those kinds of operations anymore. I’m seeing more mezzanines and bin load systems handling the smaller items now.
Another attachment used in our forklift world are clamp trucks, a very unique lift that basically does just as its name implies. It has two large blades on either side that clamps or squeezes an item or a palleted product, so you can lift it and move it. I see them used mostly for unloading and handling disposable wares, maybe light bulky type items. It takes a little practice to properly operate these trucks and learn not to damage the loads, but you can really move some freight once you master it. I’d really like to talk with a pro about their experiences using them, maybe one of our listeners could interview with us and share their thoughts with our group, it’d be fun to hear them.
One of the few machines I haven’t had an opportunity to drive is the Turret truck, or swing reach truck. These machines aid in high volume pallet environments working in very narrow aisles to maximize storage capabilities. If you have not had an opportunity to see one in action check it out on-line, theirs some great videos on their use. Better yet, if you’re an operator let’s talk, we’d love for you to share some of your thoughts about this beast! I’ve put out some feelers in the industry, I’ve got to check these out!
What’s another one, oh the Slip Sheet, we’ve mentioned it a lot the last two weeks but I’m not sure we’ve really discussed it much. It’s another attachment, sometimes called a push pull attachment that eases the movement of freight. Basically, it’s a large blade that scoop’s up under a piece of cardboard or heavy plastic sheet where you can pull the edge of the slip or cardboard or plastic sheet up onto the blades, position the load over a pallet or in the trailer or container and push it into place. Another variation is a blade followed by a bunch of small rollers that you use to scoop under the load, pick it up and then tilt the load onto a pallet, the product, which is on a slip sheet, the cardboard or plastic sheeting then slides off of the rollers. Theirs many different models of clamp trucks and slip-sheet attachments, again I’d urge you to check them out on you tube, you very well just find your next interest there!
We have our drawing tonight for that Prized WAOC Tee Shirt, let’s get that done real quick. I want to thank everyone that sent in a subject or thought, we had some great entries and we’ll be getting to some of them this month! I took all the entries put them in our official hopper, which is actually a large mug cup and pulled out the winner! And this week’s winner is Michele, Michele’s a benefits coordinator for a large light industrial agency, she sounds like she’s very familiar with order selectors, fork operators and production facilities. Maybe we can get her to help explain the importance of the Orientation and those many different benefit opportunities on an upcoming episode!
OK, I just saw a note here, nearly skipped right over it, about a question we received regarding a platform lift or scissor lift. Several of our larger facilities may have one in the building that Building Maintenance uses to change light bulbs or help with removing a crossbar between uprights or slots and I guess a host of other duties. The question was do I need any special training to use this lift, it operates simply by pushing a button and holding it down and it goes really, really slow. We’ve probably all seen one of these at some time, usually used by maintenance, simply a small working platform enclosed by rail’s or a cage that goes around it and just goes up and down. They do move at a crawl and are not meant to move around when raised but Yes, as with any piece of powered equipment we must be trained on its operation before we touch it, don’t try and move it or play around on it at all. Like I mentioned I can’t wait to drive a turret truck but I’ll need to be trained on it by a certified trainer before I even look at the drivers compartment. A hard temptation but one we have to respect. Let’s never touch a piece of equipment until trained or certified to do so!
I hope you enjoyed todays episode, we like working off of topics and questions sent in by ya’ll, keep them coming, keeps us busy! If you operate any of the powered equipment we discussed today and would like to participate on an episode shoot us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set it up, all it takes is a phone and a few minutes! Check out all the warehouse equipment on line, you tube has some fantastic videos of everything, you can spend hours checking them out! Oh, we’re looking into start up meetings, share your thoughts with us, what’s covered and how their ran at your facility, it’ll be interesting to share the different approaches with our group! Thanks for checking in with us and until next week be safe out there especially working with your equipment, remember it’s not a toy and it can be dangerous to us and others!