For fifteen years, we've always been about finding ways to make the warehouse workstation mobile and productive. But our new world in 2020 has created needs and solutions we may not have always anticipated. Whether it is businesses operating at full capacity or those just trying to stay open enough to support their customers, there has been a sudden recognition for the need to maintain physical distancing and personal spaces to keep everyone safe and to keep supply chains healthy.
While our carts have always been a staple of an efficient receiving dock, over time they have not only found a place in almost every part of the Distribution Center in addition to other facilities like retail floors, storage vaults, and even offices, but are now being used creatively by our customers in other new ways as well.
Here are a few new ways to get more out of your Newcastle Systems mobile powered carts in addition to a few old ones you many not have previously considered, but may seem more relevant :
Personal Workstations and Physical Distancing Applications:
There are a number of ways creating more mobility for your DC equipment improve the ability to mainatain physical distancing and keep staff safer:
- Create an Outdoor POS Station for Customers Picking up Product - as seen in the top photo here at Plywood Company of Fort Worth, Texas, a cart with a mobile power source can be easily fitted into a mobile POS station to allow your "take-out" business to stay outside and minimize visitor contact with your staff. Just check on the power requirements for what you need to have on the workstation and contact us if you have any questions about the capacity for your battery pack to support it and for how long. We can help with that.
- Create Personal Workstations For Safer Operations - One immediate need we've seen is to limit the equipment being shared by critical staff. If the staff are moving around and working with their own set of equipment and not sharing it, it is much easier to maintain safe distancing as well as a morale booster in a time of fast-changing information and the fear that is an undercurrent to the work being done by those in essential businesses.
- As a Component in Flexible 3PL Infrastructure – One lesson learned over the years is that our 3PL customers need to build out their warehouses for clients with a maximum of flexibility. So racking, conveyors, etc. can be moved or rearranged when they are replaced by a new client or the client’s business changes due to seasons or other factors. This is more true than ever as Brands are rapidly trying to expand eCommerce options to maintain their connections with customers. Having a heavy-duty fleet of carts with powerful batteries means that nearly every type of standard 110v equipment can be put on wheels, or used from temporary locations while reconfigurations are happening.
- The Fastest Inventory Taking System on Earth – conceived by one of our clever Resellers. This application entirely changes the approach to taking inventory and radically shortens the hours required while guaranteeing nearly 100% accuracy. Designed to work in an RFID equipped area, this cart is outfitted with a telescoping pole that also has three RFID antennae mounted on it. Because RFID works by proximity rather than line of sight, RFID tags will get recorded even if they are on the backside of the item in the rack, and depending on the range of the tags used and the width of your aisle, inventory can be taken from both sides of the aisle at the same time simply by pushing the cart along as you go. No need to stop or scan anything. It means that inventory will take only as long as it takes you to walk up and down your aisles! RFID has made huge leaps and bounds in recent years, and if your facility is handling high-value items or a high percentage of case, pallet or bulk goods, and you haven’t considered it in the last five years, it might be time to speak with someone and get an analysis done for you.
Accessorize, Accessorize.As part of an effort to make workstations both uniquely personal AND safer to use, there are a number of accessories that will help you get there:
- Protecting Surfaces – Not everyone gets to work in a clean room style environment. Hopefully your teams have the right gear for a dirty or dusty environment, and your carts have options too. A cover for your cart when it is not in use is a way to secure a safety aspect of creating "personal workstations". But if you must share a printer among many, make it safer for the maintenance and IT teams supporting your equipment by getting them a clear cover that doesn't restrict use but protects all its surfaces.
- Take it Outside With Rugged Wheels - normally ideal for work areas that may not have a perfectly smooth floor or where there may be unavoidable cords or hoses to traverse, but now a necessity to make it easy to move in and out of an outdoor staging or pick-up area.
- The Mobile Desk Set – just because we all agree with the goal of creating a paperless facility doesn’t mean we don’t have paperwork. For those who need their desk to go with them on the floor, the top of your cart can be transformed into a mobile desk with a desk organizer, an LED light and even a cup holder!
Tell Us About Your Idea. Or Your Need. We’re Listening.
Maintaining your productivity during this difficult time implies a lot of new thinking – new processes, new equipment that enables them, and new skills. It also implies innovations no one has seen yet, or shared…but you may have already imagined it:
- “I wish I had a way to bring this device to [name your location].”
- “I wish I could bring [additional item] on my cart on the floor.”
- “I wish there were a cart that could help me with [name ].”
- “If only there were a battery-powered version of [name].”
If you’ve caught yourself wondering about any of these questions or ideas, do let us know. As always, many of our best innovations come from what our customers share with us and what we see out there on the floor with them.