Industrial Engineering

The Risks of Aging Material Handling Equipment

Material-Handling

Picture source: www.arcpacific.com
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – APRIL 2015 VOLUME 47 NUMBER 4
BY JAMES A. TOMPKINS

We suspected that the average age of material handling equipment was creeping upward but needed facts to back up our observations. So we surveyed retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, third party logistic providers and we also asked how companies viewed their material handling equipment.

The key highlights of the survey:

  • The average age is 15.3 years for the material handling equipment.
  • Around 35% of respondent have at least one material handling system older than 20 years.
  • One surveyed company still operates 30 years old material handling equipment.
  • Companies had on average 2.7 distribution centers with 15 years old material handling equipment.
  • Top 5 ways companies to indentified equipment was beyond it useful life: Extent of lost employee productivity, consider able amount of downtime, excessive maintenance costs, lost throughput capacity, and increasing facility operating cost.
  • 83% company leaders know the status of their aging equipment and its impact on operations
  • Company leaders strongly consider technological advancements when upgrade material handling equipment.
  • Increased demand on service levels and speed, operational flexibility, cost competitiveness issue and combining distribution and fulfillment centers are the primary justification for replacing material handling equipment.

Today’s companies are strongly considering advanced technologies in their decisions to replace or upgrade material handling systems and requirements. Factors such as speed, flexibility, cost improvement, and functionality are driving forces in the justification of new systems. These factors are important reasons to consider an upgrade to material handling systems.