The continued growth across the eCommerce industry has led to increased demand for warehousing and logistics services. As millions of shoppers place orders online, a behind-the-scenes network of warehouse operatives, logistics managers and delivery drivers work tirelessly to ensure inventories are well-managed and goods are dispatched on time.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, warehouse and supply chain managers are using innovative technologies to streamline and accelerate operations. From inventory management software to automated packing solutions, there is a variety of tech that’s helping the eCommerce sector to hit new heights.
While innovative solutions are certainly enhancing eCommerce operations, there is one type of equipment that is essential to the functioning of warehouses: forklifts. Used in logistics centres and warehouses all over the world, forklifts for eCommerce are critical to optimising efficiency and maximising productivity.
In this article, we take a closer look at why forklifts for eCommerce are such an important element of the industry and examine how they’re being used to enhance operational performance across the sector.
What Are Forklifts for eCommerce?
Forklifts are used across a range of industries but, when utilised in the eCommerce sector, they are predominantly relied upon to move large pallets of goods from trucks or delivery areas on to warehouse racks. In some instances, eCommerce businesses and warehouses may also use forklifts for eCommerce to facilitate the picking of items prior to packaging and dispatch.
As inventories are constantly updated and orders are shipped at an ever-increasing rate, forklifts are an essential tool to help keep the supply chain functional and efficient. While it’s easy to overlook the impact they have, forklifts for eCommerce can bring a variety of benefits to the industry, including:
While other types of equipment, such as a reach truck, may be used for picking orders, this type of machinery doesn’t match the functionality of a forklift when it comes to moving pallets. When goods arrive onsite in vast pallets, it is forklifts that are required to move them at a sufficient volume.
Without forklifts for eCommerce, more journeys would be needed from trucks and delivery areas to racks, which would inevitably take longer and reduce operational efficiency. Fortunately, forklifts enable operators to move significant amounts of stock in minutes and, therefore, keep warehouses and eCommerce distribution centres operating efficiently at all times.
Optimal Use of Space
Space is at a premium in warehouses and managers are under pressure to maximise the volume of stock that be stored in a single location. After all, the more stock you can hold onsite, the more economical your investment in the building becomes.
Until fairly recently, wide aisles were the norm in fulfilment centres and warehouses due to the size of the equipment that was used to place the goods on racks and pick orders. Now, however, futureproofed forklifts are enabling warehouse managers to reconfigure storage areas and make better use of the space available.
In some instances, smaller forklifts can be used to navigate narrow aisles, for example. Alternatively, innovative designs are combining forklift power with streamlined specs to enable operators to access more confined spaces.
As a result, investing in new forklifts for eCommerce can be a viable way for businesses to maximise space and reduce operational costs.
In today’s climate-conscious environment, all businesses are under pressure to improve sustainability and minimise their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Indeed, failure to do so could result in businesses losing customer support and/or facing regulatory sanctions. As sustainability becomes a critical factor for business success, electric forklifts for eCommerce are highlighting how the warehouse and logistics industries can become greener.
With no emissions to worry about, electric forklifts provide warehouses and distribution centres with a simple yet effective way to reduce their environmental impact and lower their carbon footprint. What’s more – electric forklifts typically require less maintenance than their fuel-powered counterparts, so they can be a viable way to reduce costs too!
Improved Inventory Management
eCommerce retailers must have access to sufficient stock to generate revenue and facilitate the fast dispatch times that consumers have come to expect. Conversely, holding too much stock means more space is required and costs are increased.
To overcome this challenge, fulfilment centres and warehouses have a fast turnaround of goods and are consistently restocking racks so that orders can be picked and shipped. As heavy-duty forklifts are capable of moving tonnes of stock at once, they ensure racks can be replenished quickly and, therefore, improve inventory management across the site.
Instead of pickers waiting aimlessly for racks to be restocked, forklifts ensure that goods can be immediately replenished upon arrival so that orders can be picked and dispatched swiftly.
Enhanced Employee Safety
Distribution centres and warehouses can be dangerous environments, which is why a variety of health and safety regulations must be implemented and followed. Fortunately, having access to the right equipment helps to improve employee safety and reduces the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.
When operatives are trained and certified to use forklifts, for example, they have a greater understanding of the risks they face in the workplace and are more able to implement effective risk management procedures. In addition to this, being able to use forklifts to move heavy loads avoids the potential of using more lightweight equipment that isn’t designed for the task.
By integrating forklifts for eCommerce into their operations, warehouse and supply chain managers can, therefore, enhance workplace safety and avoid unnecessary absences or liability issues.
Forklifts for eCommerce from Premier Lift Trucks
With a wide range of new and used forklifts, Premier Lift Trucks makes it easy to optimise your operations with the equipment you need. Whether you’re expanding your business, modernising existing equipment or launching a new site, we’re on hand to provide the critical equipment you need.