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Material handlers are an integral part of the manufacturing process.  We rely on them to keep machines running and prevent downtime.  We rely on them to know where material is stored and where finished goods go. We rely on them for inventory control and FIFO (first in first out).  It’s a high stress role we can overlook as ‘easy’.  Especially if we are working with long-term, seasoned material handlers.  What about new material handlers?  How are they trained?  What direction are they given? Is turnover high? Is downtime high?

What if we could take some of the stress from the role by giving material handlers direction for every move?  They’d know where to put incoming material. They’d know where each container of finished goods is supposed to go.  What if we could alert them to every material need?  They’d know what is needed at each workcenter. They’d know where to find each component. Their jobs become more structured.  Turnover drops. Downtime drops.

Scenario: Line down.  Material needed at work center. 

New Material Handler: operator will alert them to a down situation.  The new material handler will try to determine where material might be stored.  They’ll ask the operator for direction, a supervisor, or a seasoned material handler.  The material still is not found.  Another round of asking for direction.  Stress is building, downtime is mounting.  Finally, the material is located.  Forget FIFO. The new material handler is stressed, they’ve faced 5 situations exactly like this already today.  Their supervisor is asking them about the downtime.  They feel the stress of the blame.  They start to weigh the facts of the job.  Is it worth it? 

Seasoned Material Handler: operator will alert them to a down situation.  The material handler will go to the first place they ‘think’ the material may be stored.  If they don’t find it right away, they’ll keep looking until it’s located. They may try to determine FIFO, or not, depending on how quickly a determination can be made.  During the time they’ve spent looking for one container, they’ve heard 3 more pages for their services. Stress is building, downtime is mounting.  We may not hear about their stress, but operators, all other material handlers, and anyone else who will listen will hear about it.  Morale will drop.

So where do you go from here with the turnover of material handlers so high? Without the accurate movement of materials, production is stopped and dollars are lost. You must find a way to alleviate the pressures on your material handlers while simultaneously making them more efficient. Enter Cella.

For more information on how Cella helps manufacturers increase inventory accuracy and drive efficiency through material handling please reach out and schedule a conversation with our experts.