COVID-19's Impact of Material Handling Equipment in North America

October 28, 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has fallen upon nearly every industry, including material handling. As more businesses reopen and warehouse facilities are back to work, it’s crucial for warehouses to utilize their motive power equipment at hand to streamline operations and boost productivity.

Warehouses have the vital role of efficiently moving products from the manufacturing stage into consumer’s hands. How the material handling industry operates in the wake of the pandemic will have an impact on the American economy moving forward, as it did during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

How COVID-19 Has impacted American Manufacturing and Warehouse Productivity

Material handling is an essential component of the modern supply chains; nearly every North American industry has material handling equipment, such as electric forklifts or pallet jacks, involved at some point in their manufacturing process.

However, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many warehouse and distribution centers throughout the country have had to either temporarily close or reduce their workforces to prevent the spread of the virus. It soon was apparent, through nationwide shortages of goods, how important American manufacturing and warehouse productivity is to the economy.

As the economy begins to recover, warehouses are busier than ever before as stores struggle to keep up with the demands for groceries, pharmaceutical products, and essential household goods. In the ensuing months, distribution centers, and their material handling equipment, will continue to have a pivotal impact on how the country recovers.

The Importance of Material Handling Equipment in North America During COVID-19

In lieu of the current situation, equipping domestic supply chains with motive power equipment for efficient and streamlined operations has been more crucial than ever.

Increased Efficiency

Motive power equipment are the workhorses of most warehouse operations and will be crucial in the coming months in wake of the pandemic. As products being transported throughout the country, the odds are that an electrical forklift, pallet jack, or other motive power equipment moved it to get to consumers' hands.

To increase overall efficiency and productivity, American manufacturers are taking advantage of motive power equipment to ramp up their operations and recover from any downtime sustained by COVID-19.

Streamline Operations

An increased advantage that domestic materials handling companies have over overseas competitors is the quick transportation of products. Although foreign companies, such as those in China, may have cheap labor, their goods are easily delayed through foreign shipping. After the assembly process, these foreign goods must wait till there is shipping space available on an American-bound freighter. Then, they have to go through customs processing before the initial transportation process to the customer. In total, this could take weeks.

American manufacturing companies cut the wait time to days, partially due to electric motive equipment. Industrial forklifts are able to increase productivity in warehouses by moving products more efficiently and safer than by a labor force, allowing employees to complete other tasks that results in an overall more effective manufacturing process. Forklifts help American manufacturing companies compete with overseas competitors, especially during this time in the wake of COVID-19 while international supply chains have suffered. Motive power equipment makes it possible for American businesses to provide a quicker and safer means of transportation of products within the warehouse facility and ultimately to the customer.

Material Handling Equipment For The American Economy

It’s no new news to anyone that the world economy suffered a blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on international trade. In fact, the World Bank predicts the global economy could possibly shrink over 5% - cuts unseen since WWII. The American economy itself has suffered as a result, with impacts on the economy not seen in decades.

As the U.S. economy revives in the wake of the crisis, material handling equipment will have a huge hand to play. In fact, all domestic industries would be severely affected and limited in how they could move heavy products or large quantities of items safely and efficiently without material handling equipment. In just a matter of minutes, an industrial forklift can move large crates smoothly and safely; without forklifts, a team of people would be needed to accomplish the same task in a significantly longer timespan.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis and currently, material handling equipment have enabled essential business to quickly produce and receive valuable items, including pharmacies, food suppliers, grocery stores, and more. Consumers wouldn’t be able to have the products they need - be it hand sanitizer or toilet paper - if it wasn’t for the efficiency of industrial forklifts and pallet jacks. And as more and more businesses reopen to jumpstart the American economy, industrial forklifts will be expected to help streamline operations so companies can get products to the public.

How to Optimize Your Warehouse Facility During COVID-19

Since material handling equipment is vitally important to helping the American economy get back on track during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s key to optimize your warehouse facility for the greatest product output and efficiency. Part of that includes proper forklift battery maintenance, since a forklift fleet can only operate to its full capacity based on the condition of its batteries.

By implementing a stringent maintenance program, you can utilize your forklift batteries to their greatest potential in order to optimize productivity, ensure employee safety, and receive the highest return on investment during these times where output volume is of high importance.

what should be in your BATTERY PLANNED MAINTENANCE PROGRAM? find out today!

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Ensuring proper battery maintenance is essential to guaranteeing the most out of your battery investment and keeping your forklift fleet healthy. To help start a successful warehouse maintenance program, reach out to the experts at SSE for guidance. We’re able to customize your forklift battery solutions and comprehensive maintenance services to meet the needs of your own warehouse facility and operations so you can achieve optimal performance out of your forklift fleet.

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