Streamlining processes inherently makes them more efficient, but how quantifiable is that increase? Let’s delve into the basics and explore how streamlining processes through the implementation of Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (VRCs) can boost efficiency.


1. Reduced Handling Time


Time Studies

Conducting time-motion studies helps measure the time taken for material handling tasks before and after implementing VRCs. Compare the total time spent moving materials manually with the time spent using VRCs to see the improvements.


Cycle Time Reduction

Calculate the reduction in cycle time for transporting materials between floors. For instance, if it takes 5 minutes manually and 2 minutes with a VRC, the time saved per cycle is 3 minutes.


2. Increased Throughput


Throughput Analysis

Measure the number of items transported per hour before and after VRC implementation. For example, if throughput increases from 20 items per hour to 35 items per hour, calculate the percentage increase in productivity.


Productivity Gains

Use the following formula to quantify productivity gains:
{Productivity Gain %} = (({New Throughput} – {Old Throughput}) / [{Old Throughput}) x 100

In the example above, going from 20 items to 35 items, using this equation should equate to a 75% increase in Productivity Gain. 

Example Calculation
  • Old throughput: 20 items/hour
  • New throughput: 35 items/hour
  • Productivity gain: ((35−20) / 20) ×100 = 75%


3. Reduced Labor Costs


Labor Cost Savings

Calculate the reduction in labor hours due to decreased manual lifting and moving. Multiply the number of hours saved by the hourly wage rate to determine cost savings.

Reallocation of Labor

Determine how many workers can be reallocated to other productive tasks, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Example Calculation
  • Labor cost per hour: $20
  • Hours saved per hour: 0.6 (36 minutes)
  • Labor cost savings per hour: $12 per hour per employee


4. Decreased Downtime


Injury Reduction

Track the decrease in workplace injuries and associated downtime. Fewer injuries mean less lost time and lower costs related to injury management and compensation.


Maintenance Efficiency

Modern VRCs often require less maintenance compared to manual handling equipment, leading to less downtime and improved operational efficiency.

Example Calculation
  • Injuries per month before VRC: 4 (20 days of downtime)
  • Injuries per month after VRC: 1 (2 days of downtime)
  • Days of downtime saved per month: 18 days

Injury Cost Savings = Injuries Reduced × Downtime per Injury × Daily Cost of Employee 

  • Daily cost of employee: $160 (8 hours * $20)
  • Injury cost savings per month: 3 injuries * 5 days * $160 = $2,400


5. Improved Workflow


Workflow Analysis

Evaluate workflow improvements by measuring the reduction in bottlenecks and delays. Streamlined workflows result in faster processing and higher throughput.


Process Optimization

Use process mapping to identify and eliminate unnecessary steps, ensuring a smoother and faster material handling process.


Example Calculation
before and after material lift installation numbers chart

Time Savings


Calculation: Time Saved Per Cycle = Original Time − New Time

Based on the example:

  • Time saved per cycle: 3 minutes
  • Time saved per hour: 3 minutes × 12 cycles = 36 minutes


Productivity Gain

Calculation: Productivity Gain % = ((New Cycles per Hour − Old Cycles per Hour) / Old Cycles per Hour) × 100

Based on the example:

  • Old cycles per hour: 12
  • New cycles per hour: 30
  • Productivity gain: ((30−12) / 12) × 100 = 150%


Labor Cost Savings

Calculate the labor hours saved per hour. The example shows a time saving of 36 minutes per hour, translating to a 60% time saving. Given a 50% reduction in staffing needs, the labor cost savings per hour would be:

  • Labor cost: $20 per hour
  • Savings: $10 per hour per employee


Injury Cost Savings

Before VRC:

  • Total downtime per month due to injuries: 20 days (4 injuries x 5 days each)

After VRC:

  • Downtime reduced to 2 days per month
  • Injuries reduced by 3 per month (4 – 1)
  • Downtime saved: 15 days (3 injuries x 5 days each)
  • Daily cost of an employee: $160 (8 hours x $20)
  • Injury cost savings per month: 15 days x $160 = $2,400




By implementing VRCs, businesses can significantly reduce handling time, increase throughput, lower labor costs, decrease downtime, and improve workflow. These quantifiable benefits lead to a more efficient and productive workplace. Streamlining processes is not just about making tasks easier; it’s about creating a safer, faster, and more cost-effective operational environment.