Ageing US material handling systems in need of overhaul – survey

3 April 2015

Many US material handling systems need replacing to ensure productivity, research has found.

A survey of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and third-party logistics firms by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium found the average age of a material handling system is 15.3 years old. A total of 35 per cent have at least one material handling system that is more than 20 years old. 

Responses indicated that a system that has reached the end of its useful life typically leads to an 18.2 per cent drop in employee productivity, an excess of downtime and the chance of a complete system failure. 

“It’s scary the number of times I have visited distribution centres and found maintenance managers piecing together equipment to keep it working,” said Dale Pickett, director of supply chain services, Tompkins International. 

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