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How To Select A Material Handling Equipment Supplier

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The safe and effective movement of your goods is critical to the success of your supply chain—and to be competitive, you need material handling equipment designed for your specific needs.

When searching for a material handling equipment supplier, you should connect with a vendor who understands and appreciates your operation's intricacies. The following tips will help you find a reliable option.  

Selecting a Material Handling Equipment Supplier

Finding the right provider can be challenging, especially if you work with hazardous materials or specific commodities. The right supplier can make your search for specific equipment much easier. 

Credentials: What Kind of Supplier Are You Working With?

The material handling equipment industry (MHE) consists of MHE manufacturers and authorized MHE dealers. Although both can likely supply the equipment you need, the manufacturer is unlikely to recommend equipment outside of their inventory. 

Whereas a "sales-hungry" dealer is likely to provide a range of options to suit your needs, regardless of brand. In either case, it’s best to know who you are working with to get the most value from them. Some questions you should ask include:

  • Are they authorized to sell the equipment you need? - Whether they are a manufacturer or an MHE dealer, can they set you up with what you need? 
  • Do they specialize in a specific type of equipment? - It’s best to find a supplier who specializes in the materials and equipment you need. If you need equipment to move HAZMAT, your supplier should specialize in HAZMAT handling and storage


Coverage: Do They Provide The Service And Support You Need?

Your supplier should also provide solid customer service and support, including:

  • Having a procedure for when something goes wrong with equipment 
  • Details on the extent of their service coverage area 
  • An after-hours emergency contact  

Value: What Is the Value of Partnering With That Supplier?

Be it a forklift or a stainless steel drum, your supplier should know how to position that equipment efficiently and instruct your team on its most effective use. In other words, the MHE supplier you select should provide value in addition to the material handling equipment they sell.

Scalability: Can They Support Your Business As You Grow?

Almost as important as the equipment itself, is your supplier’s ability to scale with your operation. The best way to ease the growing pains of success is to operate at scale with streamlined processes that minimize costs and increase customer satisfaction. 

You can't do any of that if you don't have the right supplier. If the trajectory of your business calls for materials and equipment beyond what a given supplier can meet, move on to one that can meet your needs at every stage.

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Material: Don't Forget About the Actual Material!

Regardless of their credentials, service offering, or coverage area, your MHE supplier needs to understand the best ways to move, protect, store, and control your materials throughout your supply chain. 

Your supplier should help improve your operational capabilities and make it easier to run your business. If an MHE supplier doesn’t understand that, it’s best to move on to a supplier that does.

Want More Tips On Material Handling?

Check out our post Material Handling & Shipping - Where You Can Save Money Now! where Andrea Ahern, cofounder of Mid Florida Material Handling, shares tips on getting the best value on pallet racking and how shippers can get the most out of their warehousing options. This is just one of our many Leaders in Logistics features connecting you with fresh industry tips!  

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