If your daily business operations involve dealing with drums and barrels, then having the right drum and barrel handling equipment, the proper safety precautions and an effective strategy can go a long way in improving the overall efficiency, employee productivity and thus, revenue in your company. But in order to do all of this, you need to make all the right decisions, and that starts with buying the right drum and barrel handling equipment. With so many different products available nowadays, knowing what’s right for you and what’s not isn’t as easy as one might think. With that said, warehouse owners and managers need to put in a lot of thought and effort into taking the right approach in determining the right product for them.
But before you decide on a particular product, you need to consider your goals for handling the drums or barrels. Perhaps your current methods leave you with more damaged barrels than you’d like to admit, in which case, you might want to consider padded barrel handling equipment. Or maybe you want your inventory and through-put turns to be improved, in which case you’ll want barrel lifting equipment that can handle four barrels at a time instead of just two.
With that said, you should ask yourself: what type of barrels am I handling, and what’s their weight and size? Do my barrels require extra care when being handled? Should they be weighted? Is barrel dumping needed? Do I need spark-resistant or corrosion-resistant equipment? Knowing the answers to all of these questions can help narrow down your choices and determine the ideal product for your operations, which will prevent unnecessary costs and problems in the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, you need to consider who will be operating the barrel handling equipment. This is important because work-related accidents that result in injuries can be very costly if are a result of the operations of an inexperienced operator. That being said, you want to work to your employees’ strengths and pick equipment accordingly to maximise their efficiency and safety. Some things to consider include the hours worked, reporting of data, serviceability, maintenance, shift discrepancies, etc. After carefully considering these factors, you can determine whether you want a simple or sophisticated barrel handing routine.
Next, carefully analyze your current operations. Just because you’ve always done things one way doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look to change and improve. Various barrel lifting equipment attachments and accessories, dispensing and dumping equipment and portable equipment are just a few of the many possible choices that can improve your day to day efficiency. Most of the time, the best solution isn’t the most expensive or most apparent one. Consider your working cycle, product flow and shifts to effectively find equipment that will provide safety enhancements and return on investment in the long term.
Speaking of safety, assess how safe your current work environment is. There’s more to safety than just having your workers wear hard hats, steel-toe work shoes, and safety glasses. Worker capabilities, product alerts, vision and sightlines, labeling and training to ensure everyone is up to date with procedures and equipment are factors that also play a huge role in the safety of your barrel and drum handling operations. Additionally, be honest with yourself about the condition of your current barrel handling equipment. Set up a regular service and maintenance program and make sure your workers stick to it.
Moreover, are the materials you move in the barrels safe? Or are you handling products that are flammable or have a high flash-point? What about materials that require temperature control, mixing, vibration or heating? Are the materials corrosive to some types of metal? Do they have a limited shelf-life? Some materials may be seasonal and demand quicker handling in higher volumes, which may require you to use drum lifting equipment that can handle four drums instead of one or two.
This is another testament to the importance of following safety protocols instead of following bad, outdated habits. I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they do things this way because that’s how they’ve always done it. Safety protocols and standards are there for a reason, and guess what – they’re changing with the times to make workplaces safer for everyone involved. Although you might not have experienced an accident in the recent past, that doesn’t mean that accidents won’t happen in the future. And all it takes is one mishap for a major catastrophe.
Avoid man-handling drums and avoid rolling them on and off trucks, docks or pallets, as that’s just asking for trouble. Back, joint and feet injuries are far too common in this industry, which speaks volumes about how inconsiderate some workers and employers are about their own health and the health of others around them. Minimizing manual labor is something every employer should strive to do, not just to make their processes more efficient, but also to take some weight off of their workers.
And lastly, you need to consider whether you’re truly saving money in the long run. A lot of people focus on the upfront cost of barrel lifting equipment and are buying cheaper products, not knowing that it can be a costly mistake in the long run. Ask yourself how much money you have spent on equipment in the past 5, 10 or 20 years. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true for most industrial purchases. It’s better to buy a more expensive product from a reputable brand that has a reputation of providing quality products than buying a cheap knock-off that will need continual repairing and replacement of parts in the long run.