Haskell team members are pictured at a recent project. They are, from left, Joe Buescher, Construction Manager; Ginna Pratt, Senior Integrator – Packaging; Chelsea Houston, Design Integrator – Packaging Mechanical; Benjamin Johnson: Project Integrator – Packaging, Controls.

July 11, 2022

Material Handling Solutions Ensure Safe, Efficient Warehouse Logistics

System integrators apply their expertise and insight to design operations that minimize touches in storing and moving raw materials and finished products.

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Moving and accessing goods in a manufacturing facility requires ease of access, minimal touches and safety to operate smoothly. Haskell’s Material Handling and Distribution System design team conducts each segment to produce the greatest possible harmony.

Every manufacturer must store its raw materials and finished goods. The amount of storage space needed varies, but the need to store and move goods is a constant of every facility.

A large distribution center may require an automatic storage and retrieval system that delivers pallets with the push of a button. Others use standard racking, which stores pallets on metal shelves accessed by an operator using a forklift.

Haskell designs systems to move materials from truck to storage and from storage to and from the manufacturing line with efficiency and ease. Placing items near their point of use optimizes material flow and reduces travel time.

Overhead trunklines for finished cases are pictured.

Insights Beyond the Data

Haskell engineers, also called integrators, work with operators to understand how they interact with their systems, so equipment and pathway placement provide the best possible experience.

“They are the experts in their business,” said Bela Jacobson, Haskell Vice President of Packaging Operations. “They have insights for how it works beyond data.”

Haskell also optimizes material handling by reducing touches.

“The more you touch things, the less efficient it becomes,” Jacobson said. “Every touch is time. It is a risk of damaging the product, and it is a risk in safety.”

Automation reduces touches, as does optimal space utilization. The challenge is to balance storing as much as possible in a warehouse while also offering operators easy access.

In many warehouses, pedestrians and fork trucks share the same space. Haskell’s warehouse design minimizes the likelihood of interface between pedestrians and fork trucks, which improves the safety of warehouse personnel. Integrators validate their assumptions using simulation software.

“The fewer times they intersect, the fewer times they have for an accident,” Jacobson said.

A high-speed palletizer is shown during installation.

The Big-Picture View

Design simulation for proof of concept helps Haskell improve existing warehouses or design new ones. Often, clients come to Haskell when they add a new product stock-keeping units (SKUs) and need help finding space to store raw materials and finished goods.

“You either figure out how to make it work, or build a new space,” she said. “And our customers often want us to figure out how to make it work to optimize their capital budget.”

Haskell also performs capacity analysis and master planning to ensure that clients have available space for growth.

“We don’t want them to corner themselves into a solution that works today, but in one year it’s going to be outdated,” she said.

This holistic view is Haskell’s competitive differentiator.

As a design-build firm, Haskell doesn’t just design the warehouse layout. Its teams take facilities from the concept to commissioning, offering the cost savings and certainty of outcome that only come through integrated delivery.

“Understanding the whole process and not just a small part of the process helps drive a better design,” Jacobson said. “From the process side to the packaging side, we address all the different areas, so we understand how they work together. We design for the whole system, not just with blinders on for the warehouse.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The three major functions of a material handling system are to move, store and process materials.

Material handling is divided into two methods. One is manual material handling, in which workers use their hands to move individual components or containers. The other is automated material handling, in which equipment reduces or replacing manual handling of materials.

A warehouse integrator is a company that offers services to improve the efficiency of a warehouse, distribution center or fulfillment center.

A system integrator is a company that specializes in designing and installing hardware and software solutions for material handling businesses. System integrators are a type of solution provider that can offer a full range of efficiency and automation services.

A material handling process is a process that is used to transfer a product from one location to another. Material handling is a term used to describe all the activities involved in transporting and storing materials, products, and/or components. Material handling is also known as logistics.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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