Supply chain managers are turning to technology to address the labor crunch and transform warehouses into more adaptable platforms.
Courtesy of Toyota Core Electric_Turret
Something as simple as adopting a new type of forklift can help a company adapt for shifting e-commerce trends. And it's just one technological innovation that retail and e-commerce warehouse operators are using to keep up with rising consumer demand.
The daily ballet of fork trucks lifting pallets into warehouse racks could become more elegant with a new ambidextrous forklift.
Instead of fork trucks turning in the aisle to face the pallets, the Toyota Core Electric Turret Forkliftdrives along the aisle, parallel to the racks. The fork attachment pivots 180 degrees from side to side, so it can reach racks on either side of the aisle without turning.
That saves a lot of backing up for forklift drivers. It also means the aisle can be reconfigured from a standard 12 to 13 feet to a very narrow aisle set up of 7 feet wide.
The very narrow aisle option is becoming more popular, because it can yield two additional rows for every 10 rows of a traditional wide aisle, said David Morzella, a territory manager for Toyota Material Handling, headquartered in Columbus, Indiana.
"This solution allows customers to reduce their aisle widths, add more racks, and drastically increase the storage capacity and overall volume of their operations,” he said.
The turret is mated to a standard, electric driver-down forklift unit with an attachment that pivots the forks from the center of the mast. It's designed for pallet-in, pallet-out operations with a sweet spot of up to a 2,500-pound load, 20-foot reach for standard 48 by 40 pallets, Toyota said in a press release.
The pivot forklift is suited for finished-goods storage and raw materials in manufacturing plants, where there's warehouse space connected to the factory floor to store products.
"As the company grows, that space becomes more critical. And so, if they wanted to use the space better, this would be a big gain for them," Morzella said.
The pivot forklift is suited for warehouse space connected to the factory floor to store products.
Permission granted by Toyota Material Handling