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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2019 / Vol 42 No3


58 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert Footlik Robert B. Footlik, PE is a retired Professional Industrial Engineer. With over 50 years’ experience as a Warehouse and Logistics Consultant to a wide variety of clients including Fastener Distributors, Bob has a wealth of valuable information for our industry and he is willing to share it. While Footlik & Associates is now closed, his expertise is still available to his friends and our readers. For friendly advice, a second opinion or just to start a conversation, he can be reached at HOW TO BUY SMART ON USED WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT As companies go out of business, shut down operations or downsize plants and warehouses, they often sell some or all of their materials handling and storage equipment. An astute Fastener Distributor may find others misfortune a golden opportunity to obtain needed equipment at a fraction of replacement cost. This can also be an opportunity for disaster. On the positive side, used equipment usually is immediately available. In addition, if this equipment was in use at a company that suffered a sudden or catastrophic economic setback, then it may never have been used or abused. A bargain on such materials handling equipment can save time, money and manpower from day one. Unfortunately, finding the right equipment is never easy. All too often, equipment comes on the market because of initial misapplication, technical obsolescence or hard usage without maintenance. Sorting out good used equipment from “lemons” can be an extremely difficult task. A system that is the “latest and greatest” does not guarantee that it is successful. Therefore, let the buyer beware and be wary. To simplify your task, here are a few rules to follow. A Bargain On Something You Don’t Need Is Not A Bargain Just because the equipment is available is no assurance that it will be successful in your operation. As CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE an example, some companies successfully use conveyors for order picking. Yet, in many fastener manufacturing and distribution operations the conveyor not only slows the pickers down, but requires twice as many people as would have been necessary without it. Meanwhile, the system occupies prime space vitally needed for manufacturing and storage which can contribute to the demise of your company. Before you go shopping for equipment, develop a menu of your precise needs. Then look for items that suit your needs instead of purchasing someone else’s mistakes. Keep in mind that all the equipment must suit your operation without compromises. Know Where The Equipment Comes From While we don’t advocate the use of grocery carts in any industrial application, we are aware that many firms use them as picking carts, yet very few people can produce a bill of sale. Here’s a violation of both rule one (a grocery cart is inefficient) and rule two (they may be using stolen merchandise). Forklift trucks previously used in cold storage facilities should be avoided. These vehicles continually move between hot and cold, dry and humid, causing condensation and extreme deterioration. Conveyors from food operations may bring efficiency to your company, but they may bring insects and rodents attracted by sticky residues. CONTINUED ON PAGE 150



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