One of the easiest ways to improve warehouse productivity and reduce the amount of time you spend moving inventory is through the use of conveyors.

Far removed from the slow-moving motorized conveyor belts you’ve probably seen in movies (which seem to be used more for big action scenes than actually moving product), gravity flow conveyors and other types of conveyors can drastically improve productivity in warehouses of any size and cut down on a lot of the more laborious parts of moving product where it needs to go.

Of course, just like with any new warehousing implement, there’s somewhat of a learning curve to getting these conveyors working their best, and your workers may need some time and extra help familiarizing themselves with how to use it effectively. Below are a few commonly-cited tips for making conveyor belts work smarter, more safely, and more ergonomically for your staff:

 

Use conveyor belts to ‘fill the gaps’

Conveyors work best when used to fill a space between steps in the warehousing process, or to close a gap between different sets of warehouse shelving. Locate areas in your warehouse where workers have had to carry boxes themselves; any distance too short for forklifts but too long to install other shelves is a perfect candidate for conveyors to help move products more quickly and reduce the strain placed on your workers by having to move packages manually.

 

Don’t allow any loose clothing near the belts

A common safety issue with conveyor belts is the risk of loose clothing getting caught in the belt mechanism. Any worker that is authorized to use the conveyors needs to be properly trained on how to prevent baggy/loose clothing, tool belts, and even hands from getting snagged in the rollers.

 

Understand the weight limits of each belt

Every conveyor is different, and every conveyor is designed to handle a different load. Make sure your workers understand how much each conveyor can take, and the risks of overloading the belt in order to minimize the chance of damage or injury.

 

Install conveyors in low-traffic areas

As much of a benefit as conveyors can be to your warehouse operations, the fact remains that they can take up a lot of space depending on where they’re installed. When possible, focus on keeping your conveyors in an area that traditionally doesn’t see a lot of foot or vehicle traffic, and try to make sure it doesn’t disrupt the flow of packages through the facility—after all, the point of a conveyor is to help move product, not make it slower.

 

Make sure everyone gets the training they need

Finally, the whole point of conveyors can be lost pretty quickly without the right training on how to use them. Make sure your workers understand how to effectively lift product onto the conveyor, take it back off, and get it where it’s going without any extra strain on their back and legs, or damaging the products in question.

 

Got any other tips for using conveyors? Have conveyors made your warehouse more productive? Leave a comment below!

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