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

Ways to make your facility more energy efficient and worker-friendly during warm weather

March 27, 2009

warehouse worker in hot summer conditions

As Spring kicks into gear, the heat of summer hasn’t hit yet in most places. The time to implement facility changes that could help you control climate costs and provide a better atmosphere for your operations is now, not once the weather has changed. It’s not just a matter of air systems; smaller, incremental changes at entry points or near work areas can have a big impact on worker comfort and productivity. Theses changes can also save you money.

As temperatures climb, more air conditioning isn’t always the best, or even the most effective solution – and it’s certainly not the most cost effective.

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How can you slash DC labor costs? With product slotting

March 24, 2009

The North Texas WERC (Warehouse Education and Resource Council) is presenting a Dinner & Educational seminar on the topic of product slotting. According to WERC, Product Slotting may be the most cost-effective improvement opportunity in today’s distribution center. Slotting is assigning an item into the right storage fixture type and placing it into a location that results in the most efficient use of space, equipment and labor resources. To get the product into the right location many factors can be analyzed including product velocity and order commonality. At the same time, the optimum location must satisfy special storage and handling requirements, such as weight and contamination issues. The optimization of product slotting can be complicated without the aid of an advanced slotting program. There are a few on the market, and WERC has invited Optricity to demonstrate how their slotting program  solves this complex opportunity to slash your DC labor costs.

The Dinner presentation is Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 4:30. It costs $40, and includes dinner and networking sessions. For more information, visit the WERC North Texas events page.

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The Top 10 Distribution Center Locations for 2009

March 22, 2009

sortaation system at a distribution warehouse

Operations & Fulfillment (an excellent publication you should be reading if you aren’t already) has published a list of the top locations for warehouses and DC’s in 2009, in this article “Where to Warehouse: The Top 10 for 2009.”

The winner this year was Henderson, Kentucky, assuming a single warehouse. Dallas, Texas finished among the best locations in a 5-warehouse network.

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Incentives for Material Handling Equipment in the Federal Stimulus Package

March 11, 2009

The Material Handling Industry of America’s Executive VP Hal Vandiver has released a guide to the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the impact it may have for purchasers of capital equipment like racks, conveyors, shelving, safety and automation equipment.

The act includes a couple of nice items for purchasers of new equipment in 2009:

  • 1-year extensions of 50% bonus depreciation and enhanced Sec. 179 small business expensing. The boost to $250,000 in Section 179 expensing is extended for new and used equipment purchases made and placed in service in 2009. The amount decreases to $128,000 in 2010. The cap on how much equipment can be purchased to enjoy the write-off remains at $800,000 in 2009. In 2010, that amount drops to $510,000. The one-year 50% bonus depreciation means you can write off in 2009 an extra 50% of the cost of your new equipment that you buy and start using in 2009.
  • A 5-year Net Operating Loss carry back provision for small businesses: Under the one-year extension, small businesses (whose total equipment purchases in 2009 don’t exceed $800,000) can also expense the first $250,000 for the 2009 tax year (until 1/1/2010). The 50% bonus depreciation can then be taken on the remaining basis of the machine, if it is new.

The MHIA article has some excellent information on the exact way you can apply these incentives, and is worth the short read. Track how the stimulus money is being spent at www.recovery.gov.

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Gravity Conveyor: How Many Skatewheels do You Need?

March 6, 2009

skatewheel conveyor straight section - Hytrol

Gravity skate wheel conveyor is probably the most economical conveyor option around for quick, portable movement of lightweight boxes, totes, or trays. You see it used in shipping & receiving areas, in assembly operations, or as a transitional piece between workstations and powered conveyor lines. You can even slap casters on it for a conveyor that can be rolled in & out of use areas. We even plug it into gravity flow racks to create heavier-duty, FIFO flow storage.

For such a simple piece of conveying equipment — in fact the simplest — errors can and do crop up when it’s ordered incorrectly.

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