Warehousing, Distribution and 3PLs

Optimizing Efficiency and Productivity in Warehousing, Distribution Centers and 3PLs

Warehouses, distribution centers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers face constant pressure to move product faster and more efficiently. Rising consumer expectations for rapid order fulfillment, along with the growth of omnichannel retail, have compressed order turnaround times to hours and minutes. At the same time, escalating throughput demands strain warehouse infrastructure, equipment, and personnel.

Without the right solutions, warehouses and 3PLs risk compromised productivity, avoidable equipment downtime, product and facility damage, and worker injuries. Fortunately, today’s innovations in materials handling equipment, fleet optimization, and operator assist technologies enable warehouses and 3PLs to overcome these challenges and maximize efficiency.

The Problems Warehouses and 3PLs Face

Meeting Throughput Pressures

Maximizing Productivity

Mitigating Risks

Managing Costs

Increasing Storage Density

Difficulty Adapting to Fluctuating Demand

The Black Equipment Difference

For over 50 years, Black Equipment has partnered with warehouses, DCs and 3PLs to optimize their operations and materials handling. Our experts evaluate your infrastructure, workflows, and objectives to recommend solutions that enhance productivity, safety and uptime.

Responsive Service That Keeps You Running

Ergonomic Equipment That Protects Operators

Innovative Technology to Enhance Productivity

Optimizing Storage Density and Picking Processes

Boosting storage density maximizes the footprint of your facility so you can accommodate growth and seasonal peaks without costly new construction. Streamlined picking processes also translate to faster order fulfillment and labor efficiency. We offer the following solutions:

Very Narrow Aisle Solutions

  • Very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks like Yale’s NR series optimize storage density through narrower aisles and taller racks. Their tight 92″ turning radius allows smooth operation in extremely confined aisles.
  • By utilizing the full vertical space of the warehouse, VNA configurations can increase pallet positions by up to 100% using the same footprint. This allows substantial SKU growth without expanding the facility.
  • Rail guidance systems available on Yale VNA trucks enhance precision maneuvering in narrow aisles. Sensors provide operators feedback on truck position and warn if they drift off the guide path.

Multi-Level Order Picking

  • Low-level order pickers enable picking across an expanded vertical range. This allows you to store fast moving SKUs in lower picking zones and reserve upper levels for slow movers.
  • By leveraging the low-level order picker’s expanded picking range, the same footprint can accommodate 33-45% more pick positions. Facility expansion to add pick slots is avoided.
  • Longer forks on low-level order pickers allow the simultaneous handling of up to 4 pallets. This further enhances labor efficiency and order throughput.


Hyster H80-120FT

Internal Combustion Pneumatic Tire Forklift Trucks

High-Capacity Solutions

  • High-capacity lift trucks like Hyster’s 8,000 – 12,000lbs H80-120FT models allow the stable handling of multiple pallets and large loads in each trip. This reduces total trips required, maximizing labor efficiency.
  • Yale’s high-capacity trucks feature industry-leading dual side shifters for quick, precise load positioning during order picking and putaway processes. The dual shifters eliminate the need to reposition the truck to handle pallets.
  • When storage density is maximized, fewer aisles and pick paths are needed to store the same SKU volume. By traveling shorter distances, high-capacity trucks further boost productivity.

Superior Maneuverability

  • Cushion tire trucks like Yale’s ERC series offer exceptional maneuverability. Their refined control enhances putaway and retrieval in confined spaces.
  • Responsive steering and acceleration provided by Yale’s trucks allows operators to navigate densely packed warehouses quickly while maintaining load stability even at high lifts.

Optimized Slotting Strategies

Our warehouse optimization experts can redesign pick slot layouts and workflows to leverage the expanded vertical picking range of low-level order pickers. This allows greater SKU capacity within your existing footprint.

  • Detailed pre-assessments of your infrastructure, inventory profile, order data and business objectives inform an optimized slotting strategy.
  • Our recommendations enable expedited picking processes and “perfect order” fulfillment through well-designed workflows.
  • We verify that the optimized slotting strategy is implemented correctly during roll-out to ensure maximum ROI.

Optimizing Shipping and Receiving Operations

To keep your docks flowing smoothly, your warehouse trucks need to enable rapid, reliable load handling. Yale’s lift trucks deliver the performance, visibility and precise control needed to excel in the demanding loading yard and trailer environments.

Agile Handling Where Space is Limited

Smooth Trailer Entry and Exit

Versatile Load Handling

Enhancing Comfort and Stability

Adapting to Fluctuating Demand

Growth spikes, seasonal sales and promotions drive rapid changes in inventory volumes. This requires frequently adjusting warehouse capacity, workforce levels and equipment to meet changing needs. Short-term rentals provide access to high performing lift trucks that flexibly scale to meet your requirements.

Flexible Short-Term Rentals

  • Short-term rentals allow you to easily scale your fleet for peak demands.
  • For extended rental needs, we offer 3, 6, 9 and 12-month rental terms with 24/7 emergency service included. 
  • To easily scale and optimize your fleet for actual needs instead of peak demand, we also offer daily, weekly, and monthly rentals with the same 24/7 emergency service.
  • With over 1,300 units in our rental fleet, we fulfill requests rapidly across our 10-branch network. We handle delivery, set up and retrieval when the rental period ends.
  • Our certified technicians ensure rented trucks are serviced for maximum uptime. We can also provide on-site technicians during peak rental periods.

Optimizing Direct Store and Last Mile Delivery

Direct store delivery (DSD) and last mile delivery bring unique challenges like frequent entry and exit, tight maneuvering, and varying trailer configurations. Our specialized equipment, accessories and technologies optimize efficiency and control.

Superior Retail Maneuverability

  • Hand pallet trucks like Yale’s electric pallet jacks are equipped with exclusive features like Smart Lift that enhance control and shave seconds off each delivery.
  • Creep Speed Control, Yale Smart Lift, Yale Smart Slow Down, and Moveable Load Backrest are just some of the features that make these walkies so easy to use.
  • With the optional DSD package, accessories like non-marking tires, high visibility markings, horn and blue spotlight protect people and inventory in crowded retail settings.

Enhanced Visibility and Control

  • Instrumentation like side-stance operator positions, dual side mirrors and side lighting packages on trucks enhance visibility. This helps operators avoid accidents in retail environments.
  • With Yale’s exclusive BlueSpotTM package, blue LED ground lighting signals truck presence to pedestrians while optional strobe lights provide 360° visibility to protect operators and inventory.
  • Controlled acceleration on trucks and programmable performance protect merchandise. Features like Yale’s Smart SlowdownTM reduce top travel speed when cornering to prevent load shifting.
  • Yale Reliant™ is an advanced operator assistance technology that helps reinforce safe lift truck operating practices. It uses a combination of detection systems to monitor the environment, equipment status, and location in real-time. Based on this data, Reliant can automatically adjust lift truck performance to match conditions while keeping operators safely in control. 

Route Optimization

  • Leveraging the reporting capabilities of Yale’s Vision fleet management system, supervisors can analyze metrics like drops per hour to inform route optimization.
  • Operators can also leverage Vision’s turn-by-turn navigation feature to provide guidance to each stop. Voice-enabled headsets allow operators to hear audio directions.
  • With Vision, dispatchers gain real-time equipment and operator location visibility. This enables dynamic route adjustments to accommodate priority deliveries or delays.

Start Optimizing Your Operations Today

With pressure on warehouses and 3PLs only intensifying, now is the time to assess if your infrastructure, equipment, and processes are optimized for today’s demands. Our team of experts is ready to evaluate your unique challenges and needs to recommend solutions that enhance safety, uptime, and productivity.

Contact us today to request a comprehensive warehouse optimization assessment and consultation or to learn more about the best solutions for your operation. With 10 locations across the state, we’re ready to partner with you.