Simply put, carton flow is not a one-size-fits-all solution. While many operations may be similar, each one is truly unique, and your carton flow system should be tailored to match your application. This makes it nearly impossible to purchase a used carton flow system that will meet the demands of your business, yet it happens rather frequently. Our team has seen it many times; cost is always a factor, so you’re looking to save as much as possible - we get it. But what you save upfront on a used solution will almost always cost you in the long run. Here’s why:
1: Used Carton Flow Will Never Truly Meet Your Needs
Buying used equipment seems like a great way to save money, but it almost always comes with added costs that can be hard to see from the start. Implementing used carton flow will undoubtedly cost less upfront, but will it ever truly meet your needs? Probably not.
While you may feel fantastic about saving on the initial investment, you’ll be robbing yourself down the line by missing the opportunity to achieve maximum time and space savings. For example, if your used carton flow units are not a good match for the size and throughput of the SKUs you are storing, you will end up sacrificing space. This can become extremely costly over time, especially in larger metro areas where space is very expensive.
Another significant factor to consider is time and how much you might lose at the hands of an ineffective system. If the storage medium is not fit for the size and throughput of your SKUs, you create little inefficiencies for workers that start to add up quickly. When you compromise throughput from the start, it’s a domino effect from there, with far-reaching negative impacts. Key areas of your operation will suffer, resulting in:
- Increased pick times
- Increased search times
- Decreased employee morale
- Increased overall costs
- Profit losses
An inefficient system can also be frustrating for your team. Compromised throughput leads to more work for your employees in the form of increased pick and search times. This could lead to an overall decrease in morale, which eventually causes higher turnover. This means more time spent solving workforce and efficiency challenges instead of fulfilling orders and increasing profits.
If this all sounds like a headache, it’s because it is. Purchasing used carton flow may seem harmless or even beneficial at first, but doing so without considering the ripple effect it may have across all areas of your business can lead to frustration and failure.
2: Avoiding Needed Customizations Doesn’t Cut Costs
When purchasing a carton flow system - used or new - there are many factors to consider. Identifying what you are storing is the first step to ensuring you’re on the right track (see what we did there?), and knowing what you’re flowing will help you determine critical elements such as:
- Carton flow track styles like dedicated lanes or universal wheel beds
- End styles like low profile, high profile, hangerless, pushback, or knuckled tracks for each picking applications
- Track capacity - light, standard, or heavy-duty; rollers, wheel beds, or skatewheels
- Carton flow options and accessories like impact plates, slow down strips, infeed guides, and more
As you can see, there are quite a few considerations to make, and each one contributes to the overall effectiveness of the system. For example, purchasing used heavy-duty tracks may seem like a great way to cut costs, but if the items you’re storing are better suited for light-duty tracks, you waste valuable space by outfitting your operation with larger heavy-duty tracks unnecessarily. Starting from scratch with a tailor-made solution may cost more on day one, but the value over time is certainly worth it when you’re effectively utilizing every square inch of your space.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Used Carton Flow
If you purchase used carton flow without considering every cubic inch of your operation, you’re doing yourself a disservice. If your used carton flow doesn’t take advantage of filling every cubic inch of your space with highly effective and usable storage, you’ve wasted your own time implementing an imperfect solution. And this will cost you.
Your friends at UNEX are here to help you determine the best solution to meet the unique needs of your operation - all of it. From manufacturing and assembly, to order fulfillment, logistics, and retail storage, our team is well versed in creating smart space solutions for every area of the supply chain.
Get started on the path towards improved productivity, increased throughput, and better space utilization. Click here to contact a product specialist today!