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4 Mistakes Buyers Make in the Material Handling Industry

February 19, 2016


Buying equipment for your company can be a long and painful process, but if you avoid these mistakes, you can have an easy buying process in no time.

Poor Time Management

Amazon has changed the game with same day/next day shipping. This is a great feature if looking for the latest consumer good that just came out. It has instilled the notion that all products are readily available and can be at your door within 48 hours. Products such as pallet racks, conveyor systems, and free-standing mezzanines have a lead time for the manufacturing process. The first step of the buying process for any of these products would be contacting the manufacturer to obtain current lead times to start planning your purchase. Doing so will allow for ample time and give you a little wiggle room for any unforeseen circumstances.

Shipping Locations and Freight Charges

The next mistake many buyers make is miscalculating freight or knowing where the product is shipping from. Quite often, people say they want to spend x amount for a product but forget to include freight. It is best to develop a budget that includes product, freight, and any installation costs to have a general idea of the cost for a project. Many companies offer comparable products and it is best to find the product that ships from a close location to avoid high freight rates and long shipping times. Some of the leading material handling suppliers have seen this as an issue and have started to build multiple warehouses to offer various shipping locations to better serve customers. When considering a purchase always evaluate the cost of the product from each vendor along with the freight cost and lead time.

Poor Research

When you hear “research and the buying process” your head probably jumps right to making sure you are buying a reputable brand. It is important to research and make sure the product is a good fit for your location and the needs you have. I have seen situations where someone is looking for pushback racking, but it turns out drive-in rack ends up being a space saver for them. So, it is important to keep your options open to different solutions. The same can be said for conveyors, shelving, or almost any type of equipment for your warehouse. Knowing exactly how you are going to use the equipment and knowing how you will use it once your company grows is a very important part of the process. Also researching local laws can be very helpful. One example is California’s specific laws for warehouses with pallet racking due to the amount of seismic activity in the state. Knowing these things before the buying process starts can save headaches down the road.

Not Looking Into Buying Used Equipment

If you are a budget conscious person, then buying used equipment might be right for you. Buying used equipment will help save from 40-60% off the price of the same equipment new. Outside of fork trucks, most material handling equipment has a very long usability life. Since there are few technological upgrades to products such as pallet racking it does not become obsolete quickly. Buying used is a safe and smart investment. Used equipment is also readily available and, depending on the product, can usually ship within 48 hours. Going back to the time management ideas, new equipment tends to be fabricated to order while used equipment is available quicker. Spending a little time to research used product could save you both time and money.