Warehouses are constantly changing and evolving to create a more efficient workspace. A sometimes-forgotten aspect of that is the process of changing or updating equipment, which involves assembly and disassembly. This can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but there are things you can implement to make this process quicker. Below are six tips for more efficient assembly and disassembly of new equipment.
1) Keep the manual
One of the most valuable tools to have when dealing with equipment is a manual. Manuals are full of helpful information. They often provide checklists, necessary tools, descriptions of components, step-by-step instructions on assembling and disassembling equipment, and more. A manual can help streamline the process because it provides all the information needed to assemble and disassemble effectively.
One of the downsides of manuals is that it is easy and common for them to be misplaced. To help avoid this, manuals can be placed in a filing system, taped to the equipment, saved as an electronic copy, photographed, etc. Having a manual present can also be helpful with maintenance and inventory.
Overall, keeping manuals is useful and often necessary for various warehouse functions. However, if the manual has been misplaced, you may not be entirely out of luck. Many manufacturers have copies of their manuals online. These can also be found on websites like Warehouse IQ. Depending on how old the equipment is, you may not be able to find the correct version, but even newer version manuals can provide you with a starting point.
Working slowly and carefully would be your next best bet if you cannot find any manual. Many pieces of equipment are made similarly, so someone that has experience assembling and disassembling similar items may be beneficial. Additionally, it would be best to take detailed notes and pictures with each step (this can be beneficial with or without a manual).
2) Find the right tools
Another crucial part of handling equipment is proper tools. Warehouse equipment can often be quite complex and require a wide range of tools to assemble and disassemble effectively. Using the wrong tools can make this process more difficult, time-consuming, and potentially damaging to equipment.
For example, if the equipment you assemble is fragile and breakable, assembling or disassembling on a concrete floor may not be wise, as pieces can fall and break easily. Likewise, heavy equipment like a regular hammer can damage delicate components.
Using incorrect tools can damage the equipment. For example, using the wrong screwdriver could damage the screw and make it more difficult or impossible to fix. This would result in the purchase of more equipment or components down the line.
Overall, proper equipment helps employees complete tasks quickly and efficiently, which increases the amount of work done in a day and cuts costs without cutting corners.
3) Get help with heavy components
Warehouse equipment can be large and complex. Even when splitting equipment or roles into smaller components, assembly and disassembly can often be a two or more person job. This is especially true when dealing with heavy components.
Trying to move a heavy component without the help of another person or machinery can be less efficient, but it also puts you and other workers at risk for injury. For example, if you carry a large piece of equipment and your arm gives out, it can fall and hit you or another worker nearby. Additionally, moving heavy equipment can cause strain on parts of your body, which can affect your health and well-being. It can also worsen with time and lead to other health issues later.
Essentially, no job is worth risking injury to complete. Therefore, it is vital to ask for help when dealing with heavy components and remember that you can refuse unsafe work.
4) Inventory the components before you start
Be sure to inventory all parts before you start assembly. It is essential to ensure you have all the necessary components before starting. Missing components can result in equipment not working correctly, affecting efficiency and posing safety risks to workers.
Knowing you have the essential elements beforehand makes assembly and disassembly quicker since it avoids wasted time. Workers do not need to stop and search for what they need or reassemble unnecessarily. For example, if workers begin assembling and find out they are missing a crucial component, they may need to disassemble what is already done and re-do it once they have the missing piece. For example, if you need a quick release pin (click here) and it goes missing the whole project will need to stop until it is replaced.
In addition to keeping an inventory, it is also important to keep components together. For example, if you are dissembling to move equipment to a different location, keeping the pieces together ensures a more effortless assembly. It is also wise to place smaller components such as screws and bolts in a bag to ensure they do not get lost in the move. Otherwise, you may find items like quick release pins may need to be ordered if you misplace them
5) Call in experts for complex assemblies
Equipment can be challenging, especially when you have minimal experience with it. This can be even more difficult when working without a manual or instructions. Assembling and disassembling without proper knowledge or expertise is inefficient, but it can also pose a safety risk. Fortunately, many workers specialize in different types of equipment. Hiring experts ensure that the job is done safely and correctly. You can also find assembly guides on YouTube, like this pallet rack assembly guide.
6) Use packaging
Another, sometimes forgotten, aspect of assembly and disassembly is the packaging. For example, if you are disassembling to move a piece of equipment, you want to make sure it survives the move. Likewise, if something is being assembled at height, say on a mezzanine or up high on a column or wall, you will likely want to protect it during assembly if it drops before being secured; this is where packaging comes in handy. Be sure to remove the packaging on completion and when the item is full assembled.