As distribution, fulfillment and manufacturing requirements become increasingly complex, it’s fairly commonplace for companies to invest in multi-million dollar material handling equipment (MHE) and systems. Too often, companies make these investments without knowing how to maximize their MHE ROI or plan for its operation, maintenance or evolution throughout the lifecycle. It’s also common to see material handling systems engineered for one purpose, then be used for a completely different purpose (e.g., a retail store distribution system that’s now operating primarily as an e-commerce operation). But the unforeseen consequence of such an unplanned transition is the added expense due to the system adjustments needed to achieve performance goals.
With a proper lifecycle management plan, companies can avoid MHE and system missteps and maximize ROI without sacrificing customer service levels. On August 7 at 2 p.m. EDT, we will address this topic in our next On The Move webinar, entitled “Protect Your Investment With Effective Lifecycle Management.” The webinar will explain how successful companies can create a lifecycle management plan for their material handling system and support staff. Honeywell Intelligrated lifecycle support services experts Dave Trice and Doug Bach will co-present this informative webinar and cover five key points:
- Why lifecycle management is critical to maximizing ROI and maintaining profitability — When considering a new material handling system investment, companies should have a clear lifecycle plan from the outset, not only for the system itself, but for the staff and training required to operate it. This is also a good time to evaluate market trends to predict what needs may arise within the next five years.
- How effective lifecycle planning leads to better budget and resource planning — To maximize system ROI, companies benefit from careful planning of capital expenditures, especially the potential to defer these costs over multiple years. This way, they’re not over-investing in a first- year upgrade when a planned multiple-year expansion could meet the same objectives while offering better long- and short-term operational advantages.
- The importance of establishing predictable maintenance schedules and procedures — Maintenance is a critically important part of a lifecycle management plan, but it’s necessary to consider its impacts on both uptime and equipment ROI. However, the industry’s lack of skilled maintenance personnel makes it difficult to find and keep a qualified service team on-site — and makes training what staff you do have even more important. There are many maintenance strategies to address all of these issues.
- When to replace parts, plan rebuilds and upgrade software and controls — When material handling systems continuously operate, it’s inevitable that certain parts will need to be replaced. Having a parts list and a schedule for planned replacement is critical to maintaining uptime. Technology upgrades, which include software releases and controls components that become obsolete over time, must also be accounted for in a lifecycle management plan.
- How partnering with an experienced OEM can deliver optimal results — Partnering with an OEM that takes a proactive approach to lifecycle management is perhaps the most important factor to consider when investing in a material handling system. Very few OEMs have the customer commitment, qualified resources and industry expertise to offer anything other than reactionary programs.
As more leading retailers seek to ensure 99 percent uptime objectives and maximize ROI, effective lifecycle management will become increasingly essential in any material handling system investment. We hope you’ll join our webinar to learn how you can implement a true lifecycle management plan. Register here and stay tuned for more relevant topics in our On The Move webinar series.