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Information on the products and techniques to better store, handle, and move products in your facility.

Upcoming warehousing & logistics seminars

July 29, 2008

Just a quick look at the continuing education opportunities that are available to you over the next few months. None of them are endorsed here, but we are passing along links for anyone who might find the topics of interest. It can be a very mixed bag, but there are times that just one point you carry out of an educational seminar can more than pay for the whole thing…

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The Forest for the Trees – Does Your Operation Need a Review?

July 23, 2008

 

order fulfillment operation

Warehousing is tough. Manufacturing is tough. Order fulfillment is tougher; the longer the operation runs the more difficult it can get.

You deal with constant disruptions , and the system you carefully designed a few years ago may not be working as well today, after changes in your business climate, personnel changes, SKU alterations, new lines, changing storage requirements, corporate policy changes, or issues with key suppliers or customers. These things happen, and at some point, all or most of them will occur in every operation. If a series of small changes have added up to big headaches, what can you do?

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Mobile weighing: getting it right means being able to weigh and count “on the spot”

July 11, 2008

Mobile weighing systems

In dynamic distribution environments, accurate, fast weighing, counting, and dimensioning systems are more important than ever. This is particularly true in 3PL’s and other operations where needs often change. Getting it right, and getting it quickly has become increasingly more important. One way is to utilize the newer mobile weighing systems on the market today.

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When racks collide: ways to minimize forklift impacts on pallet rack

July 3, 2008

pallet rack with end of row guard railsPallet racks take a beating over time. They get loaded with exceptionally heavy pallets, by exceptionally powerful lift trucks over and over throughout the course of years. Chances are that if you have pallet rack in your warehouse, it’ll get hit at some point. When it does, inspecting (and generally replacing) it is your best course of action. But what about avoiding that hit, or its dangerous aftermaths in the first place?

Rack is easy to ignore from a safety standpoint. In fact, it’s too easy. Other hazards might stick out like a sore thumb, so there are times plant managers or warehouse supervisors can be less concerned than they should for hundreds of tons of racks and load in a warehouse bustling workers and lift trucks.

Here are some ways to avoid (or minimize) lift truck/rack impacts…

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Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues

June 30, 2008

lifting from the “golden zone”As interest continues to grow in automated palletizing, let’s take a brief look at a few of the issues surrounding these applications.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be providing a handful of blog postings relative to palletizers. We will begin with what is driving the growth in the use of these products, then a look at basic systems, cost estimates, what you can expect from a properly applied palletizer system, and then share specifics from a couple of actual implementations in distribution centers.If you are experienced in palletizer systems, you will likely be familiar with much of what is covered here. If you are new to palletizing, or considering your first system, hopefully this information will help you understand what the issues are and how you can navigate them.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Palletizers. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues
  2. Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Palletizers, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

P.E. Seals and Calcs – what they are, and why you need them on mezzanine projects

June 19, 2008

structural mezzanineWhen you’re working on a mezzanine (or work platform) project, you may be provided P.E. seals and calculations. Here’s why you will get these elements…

What are P.E. Seals and Calcs?

  • Calculations are a hard copy document of the checks of the mezzanine structural components
  • Seals are a stamp placed on the calculations and drawings certifying that a state registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) has made or reviewed them

Who & Why might you need them?

  • To obtain building permits municipalities may require them
  • Required by municipality plan checkers to review for code compliance
  • The end user may require them to certify review of the structure
  • Some companies require them for their records

What is included?

  • 3 copies of the drawings and calculations (normal)
  • All with a P.E. seal for the state that the mezzanine will be installed

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Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

picking totes from flow rackWalk into any order fulfillment operation, and you’re probably going to see gravity flow rack.

The reason is obvious–it’s one of the best ways to pick orders utilizing first-in, first-out principles. It used to be that there was one kind of the stuff, the plastic-wheel tracks, but these days the choices are more diverse than ever. For the most part, these flow rack types act the same; they decline toward the picker and boxes or totes or even larger components flow toward him. They’re restocked from the rear and picked from the front onto a takeaway conveyor line, a cart, workstation, or another step in the process.

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Modular storage: when to use cabinets, when to use drawer inserts for industrial shelving

June 4, 2008

modular drawer - compartmental industrial drawersSomething we often recommend to save space for our clients is modular drawer storage — for certain operations, in particular those with components, assorted small parts, hardware, or even tool storage, we’re talking about recouping 50% -70% of floor space. Once people have ’em, they love ’em.

But there is more than one way to skin that cat. You can configure different kinds of cabinets to do different jobs. There are hundreds of possible combinations of drawer styles and sizes. Another wrinkle is what happens when you can merge the drawers with steel shelving. It can be new, it can be some you are already using. It begs the question: when is it better to have a cabinet, and when is it better to use shelving and compartmentalized drawer inserts?

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4 Practical Tips to Fight Summer Heat in the Warehouse

May 28, 2008

Manufacturing_Facility

There are many issues of productivity and safety that are stressed as the heat rises. As temperatures start to rise, it gets particularly hot in industrial facilities, warehouses, shops, and distribution centers where air conditioning isn’t always present, extremely costly, or very effective. Experts say that employee productivity increases when ambient temperatures are comfortable and plummets when they aren’t. Error rates climb and safety is compromised as workers fight through hot, sweaty conditions. Here are some ways you can go about combating the rigors of summer.

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Hytrol to hold the line on conveyor costs until June 30 despite escalating, unpredictable steel costs

May 22, 2008

conveyor system

Steel prices and fuel prices are headed nowhere but up in the coming months.

Price increases and surcharges have become commonplace, driven by increased steel costs and skyrocketing fuel prices. We look around and see manufacturers issuing price increases, steel surcharges and fees on a weekly basis. It’s industry-wide and it’s being driven by international demand and also some commodities market issues. We have seen manufacturers decline to provide a price – orders are priced at shipment. This is reminiscent of the 1970’s, and it’s welcome by absolutely nobody who runs an industrial facility or deals in material handling equipment.

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