Warehouse Consultants

October 10, 2019

History of the Forklift

DAK Equipment & Engineering is the top warehouse design and layout consulting firm in the nation. We’ve leveraged our experience in order to bring you the best warehouse solutions to whatever you are struggling with, be it implementing automation systems or figuring out how to maximize your warehouse space. When you partner with DAK Equipment & Engineering, you’ll gain the strategy and the tools you’ll need to take your warehouse to the next level.

In our desire to build better warehouses of the future, we need to focus on what we’ve learned in the past. In our last blog post, we looked at the history of the pallet and discuss our K3 Werks Selective Pallet Racking systems, where we help you maximize your warehouse space through our Double Deep Pallet Racking system and our Cantilever Racking system. Furthermore, we can customize a warehouse mezzanine system in order to utilize the space above your head to its fullest potential. Today, we’ll take a look at another key invention that transformed the functionality and the efficiency of warehouses almost as much as the pallet: the forklift. Contact us today to get started!

What is a forklift?

The forklift is a machine that is designed to lift and move heavy items from one place to another. The forklift has two prongs in front that resemble a fork (hence the name) and they move up and down, similar to a fork.

THE HISTORY OF THE FORKLIFT

Before the invention of the forklift, if humans wanted to move anything, it was usually by hand. Simple machines such as hoists, chains, and wenches were all that were available, which could basically only move items up and down. If you wanted to move items, you’d have to use an elementary conveyor line that still required human force and was extremely labor intensive.

In the late 1800s, humans began to think that there had to be a better way to lift things rather than with your back all the time. If some machine could be invented that had a platform with wheels, life would be great. When the advent of cars and trucks began to take hold, the idea of adding a platform to a truck was tried.

When World War I began, the need for such heavy lifting began to be accelerated. Here, platforms began to be able to be lifted and lowered. Lift trucks were invented as well and forks were added, and by 1920, the forklift truck that could lift loads off the ground and above the level of the truck was invented. Hydraulics and electronics soon began to be added, making the forklift easier to use and more powerful as well.

Forklifts skittered along, being seen as useful, yet at the same time inefficient with no new major innovations. Some warehouses embraced them; some didn’t. In 1923, an electric truck that could lift forks and the load up was considered to be the first true forklift and allowed items to be stored higher. However, at this point, pallets became the problem as they were usually either too small or too big to pick up. When standardization of pallets slowly began to take place in the 1930s and throughout the 1940s, the standardization of the forklift design began to take place as well. DAK Equipment & Engineering recognizes that it’s really hard to not have a forklift without pallets and vice versa. You really can’t get much done with just one.

Again, it was a world war, World War II, that spurned the forklift to the forefront of necessity and transformed the warehouse to what it is today. The demand to move large amounts of goods and services easily took center stage, and the modern forklift and its counterpart and partner in crime, the pallets, were born.

INNOVATIONS IN FORKLIFTS TECHNOLOGY

As you can imagine, the beginnings of forklifts were much like the Wild West — anything went. However, safety prevailed and cages were added and backrest for driver safety. The forklift is now better balanced to prevent tip overs. DAK Equipment & Engineering notes that the infamous beeping technology was added to warn others when a forklift was in operation.

Batteries were one of the first innovations in forklift; however, the shelflife of batteries were improved due to the constant use of forklifts in some industries and warehouses. Gasoline is a fuel source as well for the forklift, but increasingly, manufacturers are using electric technology in conjunction with batteries. There is no carbon emissions with battery-operated forklifts, which is great not only for workers who don’t have to worry about breathing in gas fumes, but also for reducing companies’ carbon footprint.

Computer technology has found its way into forklifts as well. Many of these systems are linked to the warehouse’s central inventory control system, making it easy for forklift operators to scan barcodes or read RFID chips. This is just one implementation that DAK Equipment & Engineering helps companies to implement in their warehouse design and logistics. This forklift innovation has made inventory much easier to manage and has allowed for real time data updates as to what is and what is not in a particular warehouse at any given moment. Fewer pallets are lost or misplaced in warehouses as well.

THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE

As our cell phones and tablets have shrunk, so have our machines with the goal or getting the same use but taking up less space, such as the Mini Cooper car. Forklifts themselves have followed this trend with smaller body designs. This enables them to turn with less space needed, and less space is needed between aisles, effectively increasing the size of your warehouse storage space just by decreasing the size of forklifts. This innovation has allowed for more pallet storage, which is more goods stored, which translates to higher profits — another great forklift innovation that is pushing warehouse technology into the future.

With more ergonomic seats and arrangements of the driving controls, forklift operators can sit for longer periods of time comfortably and without tiring. Forklifts can now be ordered customized to the hilt, much like cars and trucks, so warehouse operators can get exactly what they want and need out of a forklift.

SAFETY FIRST

Safety continues to improve with forklifts as well. Have beeping forklift machines is great, but what if your warehouse is playing music, or your employees have headphones on while they do their jobs? Talking on the phone or even just staring at the ground, lost in thought are common ways that people and forklifts collide in warehouses. Now, there are blue lights that shine out in front of forklifts to warn people that a forklift is coming.

HOW DAK EQUIPMENT & ENGINEERING CAN HELP YOUR WAREHOUSE MOVE INTO THE FUTURE

As a warehouse business, you have to be constantly innovating if you are to keep up with your competitors. You have to be better than them and one step ahead in this cut-throat world dominated by the internet, social media, and strong platforms.

DAK Equipment & Engineering has taken warehouse logistics and design services to the next level. When you partner with us, we’ll first do a warehouse needs analysis and assessment, focusing on your operations, we collect performance information to create a baseline in order to develop a strategic plan to take your warehouse where it wants to be in the future. Our mission is to not only maximize the areas that are glaring examples of inefficiencies, such as lacking a mezzanine floor, but also to take the areas that are operating “good enough” and turn those into exemplary operations.

DAK Equipment & Engineering also offers space planning services, where we analyze your warehouse workflow and implement a warehouse layout optimization plan in order to use every single square foot to its ultimate potential, even corners. Our K3 Werks custom pallet racking system can take your warehouse to new heights.

In essence, DAK Equipment & Engineering has years of experience in warehouse design and layout consulting services to help your warehouse meet the needs of the future. Contact us today to get started!

Read more

 
 
 

September 26, 2019

History of the Pallet

DAK Equipment & Engineering specializes in helping warehouses maximize their efficiencies, processes, and space by offering the best warehouse consulting services. We’ll analyze the needs of your warehouse and its operations in order to design a plan to maximize your logistics and services. We also offer inventory surveys, slotty analysis, and facility layout and design. Wherever you are facing a challenge in your warehouse, our team can help.

Many people not in the warehouse business have no idea what goes on and just how integral warehouses have been to the development of global commerce. In a previous blog post, we took a look at the history of the warehouse itself. In this blog post, we’ll examine an integral component that helped propel warehouses to their importance today: the wooden pallet. Contact DAK Equipment & Engineering today!

What is a Wood Pallet?

A pallet is essentially some pieces of flat wood nailed together with strategically placed holes for transportation purposes that provide a place for goods to sit. Wood pallets are remarkably stable when goods are placed on top and equally as remarkable for their portability. They are also frequently used to display items for sale.

THE ORIGINATION OF THE IDEA OF THE PALLET

Ever since humans began transporting goods in mass quantity, they have needed a way to transport them to market. This began simply with a bag or other carrying device. However, as more goods were being produced, wheelbarrows and other bigger objects were needed, such as a cart.

The idea of moving heavy objects on flat pieces of wood has been around since ancient times. The ancient pyramids in Egypt used human power to pull up large stones from quarries on wooden logs and rollers and sometimes on pallet-like platforms.

However, the actual idea of the modern pallet is hard to trace back to one person. Historians know that in the last 1800s, goods were moved in American factories by wooden skids. However, it wasn’t until the advent of modern machinery and vehicles that the pallet that most warehouses know and love, including DAK Equipment & Engineering, appeared.

We can’t ignore the invention and impact that the invention of the lift truck did. Lift trucks could now make possible vertical stacking of loads, which have greatly improved the number of goods a warehouse could hold.

You can trace the development of wooden pallet from patent records. In 1924, the first patent was approved for a “Lift Truck Platform.” The important invention of the pallet is when the development of the bottom deck occurred somewhere between the early 1900s and before World War II. This eliminated the need for the truck driver to continually get in and out of the truck to adjust loads. In 1938, a patent for a pallet jack was filed. And in 1939, another one was filed that used steel stringers. However, it was glaringly obvious throughout World War II that something had to be done in order to more efficiently move goods.

World War II

Before World War II, you would have been hard pressed to find a pallet as we know it today in any warehouse. Some local warehouses made their own pallets, but there was nothing commercially available. Although the forklift had been invented in 1906, it was still relatively new and obscurely used. The US government started to study the problem, particularly in the Office of the Quartermaster General, who came to recommend the process of using forklifts and pallets together to move goods around warehouses, which DAK Equipment & Engineering works to maximize the use of as well with our clients.

Finally, right after World War II, patents were registered for the four-way pallet and a disposable pallet design. However, another problem arose when individuals would make their own pallets to their particular needs. Hence, when pallets were shipped, the arriving company may not be able to accommodate the pallets because they had been made to a wrong size. While pallets today still come in different sizes, they are standard sizes that can be lifted by any forklift. The idea of pallets and their usefulness spread like wildfire after World War II, and our modern warehouse system would not be the same without pallets.

Pallets Today

There are two main types of pallets in use today.

  1. Stringer pallets. Stringer pallets have three pieces of wood (known as a stringer), two on the sides and one in the middle, or some have two pieces in the middle for added support. However, they block entry from two directions.
  2. Block pallets. Block pallets are distinguishable by having blocks on their sides and in the middle. Also known as four-way pallets, these are more versatile because you can lay them however you choose, and a forklift can pick them up from any direction. They also are better than stringer pallets in terms of load capacity.

Find the best pallet rack systems available

Common Pallet Materials Used

  • Wooden pallets. The original pallet material, wood is still by far the most common material for pallets. They are strong, durable, and easy to repair. They adhere better (thanks to our pal, friction) to forklifts and other machinery than plastic or metal pallets. They can get damaged fairly easily, but are usually recycled into other usable materials.
  • Presswood pallets. Made from engineered wood, or presswood, presswood pallets are very light, strong, and easy to move. However, they are damaged easier than their original wood counterparts.
  • Plywood pallets. Popular for light to medium weight shipping needs, plywood pallets are more resistant to moisture than engineered wood, but they do require more care than traditional wooden pallets.
  • Metal pallets. Metal pallets are popular because they are considerably stronger than wooden pallets. These pallets stand the test of time, do not degrade, are not susceptible to pets or water, and last a long time. However, when damaged, they cannot be repaired easily, and they tend to increase the cost of shipping since they weigh more than wood. They are popular though in the food industry since wooden pallets can contain bacteria.
  • Plastic pallets. Plastic pallets have many benefits: stable, strong, safe, lightweight, resistant to water, can be cleaned, last a long time, and have no nails. However, the drawbacks are simple but major: difficult to repair and non-recyclable, not to mention expensive.
  • Corrugated board pallets. The newest addition to the pallet material, corrugated board pallets are lightweight, recyclable, and easy to customize to odd-shaped loads. However, they are not meant for repeat use and deteriorate rapidly in weather conditions.

Pallets have made their way into homes as well for a variety of uses, such as in the garden or in home shops for storage. Furthermore, there are playgrounds made of mulch from recycled wooden pallets. With the variety available today in pallets, DAK Equipment & Engineering notes that you can find a pallet for any of your warehouse needs.

HOW DAK EQUIPMENT & ENGINEERING CAN HELP YOUR WAREHOUSE PLANNING

DAK Equipment & Engineering has taken pallets to the next level of service by offering pallet rack and storage solutions for your warehouse. By using our selective pallet racking, you can reach new heights in your warehouse (literally) by customizing your pallet racks by height, depth, bay length, and capacity. You can invest in our K3 Werks systems and pallet racking system to store more inventory, expand your operations, and rotate stock more easily.

DAK Equipment & Engineering helps companies all over the United States develops warehouse solutions to increase efficiencies, processes, and help automate their warehouse. Our professional warehouse consultants excel at saving space, reducing costs, and improving communication within the warehouse. From helping to implement warehouse order picking priorities to making your space more maneuverable for forklifts, DAK Equipment & Engineering can help you formulate and implement a plan to get you to where you want to be in the future. By partnering with us, your warehouse distribution and logistics can run smoothly every day of the year. Contact us today to get started!

Read more

 
 
 

September 09, 2019

Want to Increase Warehouse Profits? Read This…

When you start a small business, you are usually just looking to survive. However, once everything is up and running, you want to do more than just survive — you want to thrive. DAK Equipment & Engineering can help your small business, whether it’s shipping and receiving, a hardware store, or a clothing store, thrive by offering you solutions for your warehouse that will improve your warehouse operations and optimize your warehouse logistics to eliminate wasted time. Keep reading below for tips on how to increase warehouse profits, and then contact us today to get started!

TIPS TO INCREASE WAREHOUSE PROFITS

Hire a warehouse consultant.

Sometimes you just need an outside perspective, especially if you are the business owner who is so close to the business, it’s hard to see it. DAK Equipment & Engineering has over 20 years of looking for inefficiencies in warehouses. We’ve innovated some of the best equipment and implemented ideas that have transformed warehouse operations, as our client testimonials indicate. We are experts in warehouse planning and design and can help you, whether you are looking to expand, you’re moving into a new building, or you just want your current warehouse to run in tip-top order. When you partner with us, we’ll first run an audit to see what you are doing now. Then we’ll form a strategy and plan and then collaborate to make your warehouse run how you envision.

Consider requiring appointments for delivery.

We’ve all been there when 10 people show up wanting to drop off goods. It usually degenerates into a chaotic mess, costing way too much time, as frantic searches for paperwork ensues and tempers flare. We here at DAK Equipment & Engineering understand that deliveries don’t always run on time. From the car accident on the freeway to the snow storm that blew in out of nowhere, shipping and receiving of goods can vary. However, one way to help prevent goods from just sitting around in your warehouse unopened and unprocessed is to schedule delivery appointments. This spreads out the deliveries, gives you time to process what has just arrived, and time to prepare for the next one.

DAK Equipment & Engineering recommends either blanket assigning vendors windows or assign recurring vendors the same window each day or week as needed. If you share a loading dock with another company, this is absolutely critical or you will constantly be running into each other. Furthermore, your staff should be trained on having the paperwork ready as well to speed up loading and unloading times. This should keep surprise deliveries down to a minimum

Implement ABC analysis for inventory items.

ABC analysis involves assigning items a letter, either A, B, or C, based on their importance in the supply chain. A items are sold the most and thus only account for 10-20% of the inventory since it’s frequently being sold. C items are sold the least and make up about half of the inventory items. B items fall in the middle. A items are recommended to be under tighter controls and monitoring since they generate the largest revenue. They should be tightly monitored, even with lock and key. The supplies of A items should be checked more frequently as well in order to keep sufficient supply on hand for orders. DAK Equipment & Engineering recognizes this may not be efficient for every business, depending on the number of products you offer, but it is worth investigating, especially if you are finding yourself constantly running out of your most popular items.

Picking order analysis.

In our last blog post, we talked about examining how you organize items on the shelves of your warehouse. Here, it’s important to analyze your picking order, or how you pull an item off the shelf for delivery. There are many types of warehouse picking orders you can implement as part of your warehouse logistics strategy (which DAK Equipment & Engineering can help you with), but suffice it to say for now that picking order affects how fast you fulfill customer orders, the accuracy of the order, and the time it takes for your staff to do so. We want to emphasize that improvements in your picking order methodology can drastically affect your supply chain productivity.

Money talks.

Warehouse operations are not easy. It takes a lot of manpower to run a warehouse successfully, even if you’ve invested in a good amount of warehouse automation. From fulfilling orders, unpacking products, picking and packing goods for reshipment, and fielding customer questions, your staff is busy. Offering incentives to encourage better workflow could go a long way to increasing your productivity, which increases your profits. Plus, creating goodwill amongst your employees by rewarding them on top of their pay is just good business sense. Your employee retention rate will increase, as will employee happiness in the workplace.

WHY DAK EQUIPMENT & ENGINEERING

DAK Equipment & Engineering is the best in the business when it comes to warehouse logistics, design, and operations. We offer warehouse consulting services in order to maximize your warehouse workings so you can continue to invest and grow. For over 20 years, we’ve been providing not only warehouse logistics design and services and racking inspection services, but we’ve also led the way in warehouse equipment needs, such as offering pallet flow racks, drive in pallet racking, double deep pallet racks, wire decks, and our very own K3 Werks for your warehouse storage needs. Contact us today to get started!

Read more

 
 
 
 

Built by Clique Studios