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Material Handling Issues Solved by Creative Solutions


The months after the holidays are an interesting time for material handling businesses. The rush is over and machines that were clocking overtime have gone back to their normal levels.

“Now’s the time to focus on upgrades and preparing for peak season,” says Andy Hillard, Business Development Manager - Material Handling. During the cooler months, manufacturers should begin to prepare their equipment for the summer temperature shift. Ron Sherrick, Vice President of Electrical Supply, says most of those upgrades are preventive maintenance, such as chain tensioning, gearbox maintenance, belt maintenance, and proper cooling within cabinets, so electronics do not overheat when temperatures begin to rise.

Supply chain problems have been a constant challenge for the past few years, and Sherrick says that has led to a shift in focus to other services and solutions, such as preventative maintenance.


“If you don’t change the oil in your car, eventually it’s going to malfunction. It’s the same thing with equipment in distribution centers. If it’s not properly maintained, it’s going to fail. Right now, the last thing you need is a product line to fail because you can’t get new parts and equipment to replace it,” Sherrick says. Proactively ordering spares may also help to alleviate stress.


“Manpower continues to be an issue,” Sherrick said. The talent gap is striking the heart of the manufacturing industry, and companies are competing for a shrinking supply of skilled and knowledgeable workers.

To combat job woes, some employers have turned to automation. “If you go to national material handling trade shows, you’ll see an increased offering of Autonomous Mobile Robots,” Sherrick says. An Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is a type of robot that can move through a workspace independently without needing tracks or paths. Some warehouses have floors where all the “employees” are robots operating in the dark.

While robotics can help fill the gap in labor shortages, human labor will always be essential. Many employers have began expanding their recruitment efforts, whether that includes more training opportunities, better benefits, or turning to previously untapped talent pools. In a study completed by The Manufacturing Institute*, roughly 73% of manufacturers polled felt that increased compensation had helped keep their company competitive in their ability to recruit and retain employees. For more resources focused on strengthening the modern manufacturing workforce, visit

Having multiple issues and not sure where to start? CLICK HERE to contact a CBT Specialist to discuss preventive maintenance options.

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