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The benefits of having a prototype built

“Building a prototype eased our concerns and allowed us to see the product before placing a large order”

Author: Dee Jones/25 May 2017/Categories: PREVIOUS BESPOKE PROJECTS, Trucks, Trailers & Trolleys

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mobile work station trolley

We were recently asked to visit a large distribution centre that processes thousands of on-line orders every day. For the site, the increase of orders meant the current system of picking and packing wasn’t as efficient as it once was. The volume had meant the operatives were having to reload shopping trolleys and walking back and forth to collect the packaging materials to get the items ready for dispatch and this plainly wasn’t ideal because of the time wasted.

The assessment was that the operatives needed a trolley that could be loaded up with a variety of packing items such as, Kraft paper, bubble wrap, Jiffy bags and tape. Included within the trolley was a need for a folding work desk, scanner holder and compartments to house the essentials like pens, pencil and paperwork as well as the two tote boxes that live orders were conveyed directly to each picker, to then start the packing process onto the trolley prior to dispatch.

With a requirement of over 50 special bespoke design trolleys we always believe that taking the time to design in-house and produce a prototype is a great way for customers to see physically how the concept comes alive and gives the opportunity for staff to use and iron out any teething issues, as it is impossible to predict all the practical complications you may encounter in trying to please everyone in one go.

The prototype once delivered was in the main approved with just a few minor alterations requested from the customer - like having lips on the side of the trolley higher to hold the Jiffy bags in place better, as when in transit from packing area to conveyor, they tended to slip from one segregated area to another. Plus the base bar being moved back further, as some staff with larger feet, had a minor issue of getting close to the trolley when using the desk for paperwork.

pull handle

So the benefit of having the prototype made and then holding an on-site trial meant these teething issues could be ironed out relatively quickly and easily with minimal cost before going on to produce the batch of 50 to fulfil the complete purchase order for the client. It also eased concerns of placing such a large order for a bespoke product by taking away the uncertainty that the trolley could resolve all the issues for the customer.

When we are involved with a large project it is always good to visit site and see first-hand the problems that our customer is experiencing and speak to the staff on the shop floor ‘at the sharp end, so to speak’, the people that will be actually using the equipment. This snapshot is invaluable to us and is a critical part of the understanding process that enables us to paint a picture of the issues they have and pull all these parts together with management and come up with a solution that helps the customer overcome problems whether that be health and safety, technical or a physical issue.

It is without doubt one of the most positive things we do here at Action in helping our customers resolving issues within the workplace to make everyone’s job safer and easier. Knowing that the products we supply have such a positive impact in assisting someone to perform their duties safer and more efficiently on a daily basis is a rewarding feeling.

 

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