Snow Hyster UK

Be Prepared: Christmas Is Coming…

Can we talk about the C word yet?

Whilst there seems to be some unwritten rule that the season of good cheer can’t be mentioned until Halloween has passed, for many in retail, manufacturing and other industries, Christmas preparation has already begun.

From assembling additional storage to bringing in extra staff and equipment, there are a great many different ways that you can help ease the strain on your business.

It may seem strange to discuss a time of year typically associated with coloured lights and snow, especially when we’re experiencing some of the hottest weather on record, but taking the time to put processes in place now could prevent you from falling behind when the Christmas rush really begins, and time is running out.

 

But Why Now?

Simply because planning ahead could save you a great deal of stress. Taking a good look at your warehouse, facility or yard and analysing which areas could be improved is a great way to start:

  • Do you struggle with having enough storage space?
  • Do you find your material handling equipment fulfils your needs?
  • Do your walkaways get cluttered?
  • Do you have maintenance work that needs carrying out?
  • Could production be improved?
  • Do your operatives struggle to carry out certain tasks quickly and safely?
  • Do you want to expand your operations/stock range before the Christmas rush?

Whilst these are some useful questions, they certainly don’t cover all the areas you could consider. It’s also important to be realistic when it comes to making changes. For example; unless you’re able to purchase additional storage space, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to increase storage capacity by 100%. Setting realistic goals is key to figuring out a simple plan for success in the run up to Christmas.

But let’s take a look at the different areas you could focus on in more detail…

 

Maintenance

One of the easiest things you can do to prepare for Christmas (but also in general for the seasons of autumn and winter) is take stock of what maintenance your facility requires. Whether its indoors or out, having a summer ‘spring clean’ and making sure that any repair work is done could save you time and money.

Here’s a short list of things to look out for:

  • Light bulbs that need replacing
  • Ceilings that need cleaning and/or painting
  • Floors that need resurfacing
  • Damaged racking/doors etc.
  • Windows/glass that needs replacing
  • Any additional repair work that needs completing
  • Any holes need filling in your yard
  • Mounted lights/apparatus that needs securing

By taking the time to ensure that your facility is up to scratch in the summer, you’ll be ensuring that it can better withstand the cold and the wet of winter. This in turn helps to protect your employees, stock and equipment. You can even short-term hire scissor lifts to clean high ceilings and change the bulbs of suspended lights, leaving no stone untouched in your quest for a perfectly functioning facility.

Warehouse Optimisation

Sometimes one of the best ways to find out how to improve your business, is to take a walk round your facility. Checking what routes are available for staff and equipment to use and if they are clear/quick/effective is a great place to start.

Walk the aisles, production lines and walkways, observe any obstructions; are boxes on the floor where there’s not enough storage? Do cleaning materials get left behind? Are there any visibility issues which could result in accident? Do your machines cause frequent damage to the facility? Are there shorter routes that could be created which are faster and safer?

Take note of each issue and don’t worry – there’s plenty of solutions.

Need more storage space? Consider changing up your racking configuration; adding more aisles or even raising them up a level could provide you with the space you need.

Machines too big? There’s a whole range of alternatives. Need material handling equipment, but don’t have really have enough room to manoeuvre with your counterbalance? Consider an articulated or reach truck.

Visibility problems? Mounting mirrors on the racking could help prevent your employees from wandering out into the path of a forklift, additional training could also help operators to drive safely. By ensuring walkways are clear and clearly marked, it gives both pedestrians and operators a safe space to move.

If you manufacture and/or pack and send off goods on site, do they have separate areas?

Compartmentalising your facility can be a fantastic way of optimising – manufacture can take place without ever interacting with pick and pack, who can make their way to the packing bay without getting in the way of production lines or goods in. This can also limit the amount of interaction between pedestrian and machine, as they can be kept mostly (if not completely) separate.

 

A Dream Team

Having the right employees makes any business work.

By having a clear chain of command and ensuring that each job role is outlined and understood, you can avoid a lot of confusion. If you don’t have one in place already, hiring a warehouse manager can be a fantastic way of helping your team grow and develop.

For many businesses which sell goods to wholesalers, August through to October can be a very, very busy time, with a great many deliveries coming and going from the premises. Hiring in extra staff during these peak times can be a fantastic way of dealing with the additional strain. However, many companies can be, understandably, unsure about bringing in employees who don’t have the training to work in their facility.

One remedy is to have them quickly trained by a member of staff and then put to work. But what about the rest of the team? Over the course of a year, bad habits can develop and unsafe behaviour.

Why not consider a group training session? This can help get your new staff up to speed and also enforce safe behaviours and provide extra experience for your regular employees.

Refresher training can range from equipment courses (such as counterbalance and access) to manual handling and first aid. Get your whole team up to speed and on the mark and you can’t go wrong.

 

Wet Weather

Cleaning

Peak season for any business is manic (no matter how organised you are). Day to day tasks can become cumbersome and occasionally be put aside all together in favour of getting all the new, excess work done. One of the areas that this can particularly affect is cleaning.

Whilst we’re in summer, we don’t particularly have to worry about rain (apart from occasional showers). However, autumn and winter are a different story and definitely worth preparing for.

With the cold, wet weather, there’s a high chance that cleaning could become an endless and thankless job – especially if your facility requires a doors open approach and you have equipment frequently coming in from and going out to a yard.

Having a member of your team on stand by with a mop, bucket and broom is one remedy, but another could be hiring in cleaning equipment for the autumn and winter months. Pedestrian and ride along scrubber driers and sweepers can make quick work of a typically arduous task, improving cleanliness and safety along the way.

Outdoor Work

If you use outdoor equipment then the winter months can be very unforgiving. High winds and wet weather can inhibit the use of scissor lifts and open forklifts can leave operators exposed to the elements. To help keep your employees safe, consider hiring in forklifts that have enclosed cabs. These not only keep your operators dry and protected, but can also include heating, to keep fingers and toes toasty whilst at work in the rain.

It’s also important to make sure that your operatives have the correct protection from their clothing;

  • Waterproof safety boots
  • Waterproof, windproof, high visibility outerwear
  • Thermal layers
  • Gloves, hats etc.

It could also be worth your time looking at the assortment of attachments that are available for forklifts. During peak season, scoops and buckets can be used to keep your yard clean and tidy, whilst in the colder month, ploughs and gritters can be used to keep your safe accessible and safe.

 

Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways that you can prepare your facility for peak season and the Christmas rush. Whilst it can seem strange considering autumn and winter whilst the sun is bearing down, planning ahead could save you plenty of time, money and stress throughout peak season and when season of festive cheer finally comes around.

If you’d like to find out more about hiring any of the equipment mentioned, booking training for your team or need help optimising your warehouse or facility, why not give us a call? You can reach us on 01933 228127, by emailing info@askhitec.co.uk or by visiting our contact us page.

Christmas forklift

Want To Transform Your Operations This Christmas? Consider A Forklift

For growing businesses, Christmas counts. Not only can a vast majority of their trade come in the lead up to the festivities, but it’s a chance to prove themselves to customers. For those who operate out of a small warehouse, hiring on additional picks and packers becomes a must. But have you considered also hiring a forklift?

Not only could it help speed up your operations, but it could mean greater utilisation of your facility and better productivity too. Not sure? Let’s take a look at the ways hiring a forklift over Christmas could benefit you.

Christmas hyster forklift

Short Term Hire

If, for 75% of the year, your business manages perfectly well without a forklift truck, it doesn’t make sense to purchase one. Nor would it make sense to hire one for the long term. However for the few months you do need it, having a forklift could make the difference.

Short term hire would ensure that you have the equipment when it benefits you and when it’s no longer needed it doesn’t need to be kept in storage the rest of the year.

If this is something you’d like to consider, why not get in touch with our experienced team? They’ll be able to advise what type of truck would best suit your needs and facility. You can get in touch by calling 01933 228127 or emailing info@askhitec.co.uk.

Faster transport

The lead up to Christmas often sees an increase in eCommerce purchases. For pickers and packers, keeping up with demand can become stressful. Ensuring that goods are out on time could also result in injuries as staff strain themselves to carry heavier loads on pallet trucks and to move as quickly as possible.

A forklift could not only lift weighty goods, it can also move significantly faster than a staff member on foot. When goods come in, it can be used to unload lorries at a quicker pace, alternatively, it could help load them faster too.

Storage Efficiency

Are you currently unable to make the most out of your storage facility, as everything needs to be within reach for your pickers? A forklift could solve this issue in a pinch. You’d be able to utilise racking, storing more goods higher than before, and able to reach them when needed.

Whilst your pickers and packers are no doubt excellent at what they do, human strength and a pallet truck often aren’t enough to make the most of a facility. You can get more stock in for Christmas, store it safely and efficiently and increase accessibility with a forklift.

If your facility is narrow and aisles are close together, you might believe that this means you’re unable to utilise a forklift. Wrong! There are multiple models available, and side loading trucks are perfect for working with tightly packed racking.

Side loader Hyster

 

Handle Greater Inventory

In the lead up to Christmas, you might be tempted to get in bigger orders of stock, or perhaps even larger, heavier goods. Doing so in the past may have been difficult, or even impossible as your staff may have struggled to move and store them.

With a forklift, you wouldn’t need to worry about the strain of introducing bigger wares. This in turn could open up opportunities for your business to grow, whilst enabling you to fulfill customer desires by having stock in when they want it, with less worry about running out.

Reduce Strain On Pickers

Last year, UK consumers spent £1.4bn on Black Friday. With that figure expected to rise even higher this year, many businesses may cope with the Christmas rush by hiring more staff. This can be an excellent way of increasing the productivity of your operations.

However, with the increased workload, the chances of your staff becoming injured or unwell (despite their numbers) can become a worrisome problem.

By having a forklift, you can help ease the strain on your staff as you can not only save their backs, legs and feet (by lifting heavy loads and also by storing them better) but it can also help speed up their activities. In turn, this can help reduce the stress of trying to meet demand.

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We’re sure that your business is prepared and ready for December, but if you need that little bit extra help, Hitec Lift Trucks can help provide you with the forklift you need. For more information and to find a truck that suits your needs, why not contact our experienced team? You can get in touch by calling 01933 228127 or by emailing info@askhitec.co.uk

Hitec Forklift Hyster

How To Prepare Your Forklift Operations For Winter

Winter has finally arrived and brought with it a bout of miserable weather. But as the temperatures drop, forklift operations must continue in order for businesses to thrive, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

We’ve put together this helpful guide with suggestions on how to prepare your forklift operations for the winter months. We hope you find it useful, but if you’d like any additional advice, why not get in touch with our experienced team? You can contact us by calling 01933 228127, or by emailing us at info@askhitec.co.uk.

Hyster Forklift Hitec

Protect your operators

Unfortunately, even the most determined operator, who continues through wind and rain, doesn’t have the ability to withstand extreme cold. Simple steps to ensure not only their comfort, but also their safety, include:

  • Winter ready outdoor gear, which is windproof, waterproof and highly visible
  • Protective gear which will preserve their most vulnerable parts (such as hands, feet, eyes, nose and ears) examples include insulated work gloves and water-resistant boots
  • Thermal layers such as fleeces, long johns, long sleeve vests and neck gaiters

Prepare your facility

To help ensure that you’re well equipped for the winter months, it’s important to have a store of necessary products, such as anti-freeze, spare bulbs and grit in case of poor weather or if supplies become hard to come by.

It’s also vital to reduce ice build-up in areas where your forklifts operate. If you have a salter attachment (see tip 5!) you can sort this easily, but in a pinch, gritting by hand is also an option.

Any exterior lights should be checked to ensure they’re working and strong enough to provide visibility in difficult conditions. If they don’t, it’s important to replace them whilst the weather is mild, so that your team doesn’t have to choose straws as to who goes up to replace them in the rain.

Remember to always keep walkways clear and well-marked. Not only does this keep pedestrians safe, but also aids driver awareness.

Additional training

Did you know, that according to the British Safety Council, 25% of workplace transport injuries are due to forklift truck accidents? Ensuring that your drivers are fully trained to cope with all conditions not only benefits the productivity of your business, but also the safety of everyone.

Frequent training sessions not only promote operator culture but also prepare them for seasonal issues, such as bad traction or visibility caused by wet, winter weather. It also provides them the knowledge and ability to spot potential dangers to themselves or the machinery.

If you’re unsure of what training could benefit your operators, why not get in touch with our experienced team, who will be more than happy to help. You can reach us on 01933 228127, or by emailing us at info@askhitec.co.uk.

Maintenance

Although regular maintenance and thorough inspections are part and parcel for the day to day running of many forklift operations, you might be surprised that additional checks and a mid-winter tune up can go a long way in protecting your machinery from expensive damage.

The cold weather can play havoc with your forklifts, so it’s important to ensure that your drivers perform safety checks before each shift use and report any problems straight away. Common issues that often arise include:

  • Loss of tyre pressure and reduced tyre tread
  • The jamming of engines and/or hydraulics
  • Batteries losing charge at an accelerated rate

It’s also vital that lights are kept in a clean condition, otherwise visibility may be reduced and that coolant and antifreeze levels are maintained (specialised winterised fluids can help aid performance).

Forklift attachments for snow and ice

A snowed in yard is not only unsafe, but inaccessible, severely impeding the productivity of your forklift operations. There are several different pieces of equipment that once attached to your forklift, can help deal with snow and ice control.

These include:

  • Ploughs allow you to push and remove snow
  • Scoops allow you to pick up and pile snow in a safe place so that it’s out of the way
  • Salters help improve traction for machinery and pedestrians

If you’re unsure about what forklift attachments would work best for you, there are a large variety of options available of different sizes and capabilities. Our experienced team would be more than happy to help provide advice on whatever attachment you’re considering. We can be reached by email at info@askhitec.co.uk and by phone on 01933 228127.