All too often, we hear industry stories about companies that make these significant system investments without knowing how to maximize their ROI or planning for its operation, maintenance or evolution throughout the lifecycle.

We see material handling systems that may have been engineered for retail store distribution that are now operating primarily as e-commerce facilities. One significant consequence of such an unplanned transition is added expense due to various system adjustments needed to achieve performance goals.

With a proper lifecycle management plan, companies can avoid material handling system missteps and maximize ROI without sacrificing customer service levels.  This topic was addressed in our On The Move webinar, titled “Maximize your material handling system’s ROI with lifecycle management.” The webinar explained how successful companies can create a lifecycle management plan for their material handling system and support staff. Intelligrated lifecycle support services experts John SorensenDave Trice and Corey Calla will co-present this informative webinar and cover five key points:

1. Why lifecycle management is critical to maximizing ROI and maintaining profitability – When considering a new material handling system investment, companies should have a clear lifecycle plan from the outset, not only for the system itself, but for the staff and training required to operate it. This is also a good time to evaluate market trends to see what needs may arise within the next five years.

2. How effective lifecycle planning leads to better budget and resource planning – To maximize system ROI, companies benefit from careful planning of capital expenditures, especially the potential to defer these costs across mulitple years. This way, they’re over-investing in a first year upgrade when a planned multiple-year expansion could meet the same objectives while offering better long- and short-term operational advantages.

3. The importance of establishing predictable maintenance schedules and procedures – Maintenance is a critically important part of a lifecycle management plan, but it’s important to consider its impacts on both uptime and equipment ROI. But the industry’s lack of skilled maintenance personnel makes it difficult to find and keep a qualified service team on-site – and makes training what staff you do have even more important.  There are many maintenance strategies to address all of these issues.

4. When to replace parts, plan rebuilds, and upgrade software and controls – With the continuous operation of material handling systems, it’s inevitable that certain parts will need to be replaced. Having a parts list and even a schedule for planned replacement is critical to maintaining uptime. Technology upgrades, which include software releases and controls components that become obsolete over time, must also be accounted for in a lifecycle management plan.

5. How partnering with an experienced OEM can deliver optimal results – Partnering with an OEM that takes a proactive approach to lifecycle management is perhaps the most important factor to consider when purchasing a material handling system. Very few OEMs have the customer commitment, qualified resources and industry expertise to offer anything other than reactionary programs.

As more leading retailers seek to ensure 99 percent uptime objectives and maximize ROI, effective lifecycle management will become increasingly essential in any material handling system investment.