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Prevent Forklifts from Cutting Corners

April 24, 2014

forklift aisle with striping

forklift aisle with guardrail corners

It’s always dangerous when forklifts and people inhabit the same work areas.

You’ve probably heard the statistics when it comes to the forklift and its safety, but one of the most disturbing is the injury rate compared to incident rate. Forklifts cause just 1% of industrial accidents, but are responsible for a staggering 10% of all injuries in the space. So what can you do to help keep people and industrial traffic separated?

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Safety in the Workplace: Key Insights from Modex 2014

April 17, 2014

Forklift in a warehouse

Supply chain expo Modex, held every other year in Atlanta, GA, offers attendees access to the latest manufacturing and supply chain technologies.  More than 800 exhibitors from industry, commerce, and government displayed their supply chain solutions on the 180,000 square foot show floor.

During the show, Cisco-Eagle demonstrated our automated forklift safety system, AisleCop®, a Best New Innovation Finalist for the MHI Innovation Award.  When possible, we snuck away from our booth to tour the floor and connect with some of the industry’s leading innovators.

One of the key trends we’re seeing organizations emphasize this year is safety.  To get a sense of how manufacturers are handling safety, we posed the following question:

“What are some of the key trends/ways you are seeing organizations shape safety in the workplace this year?”

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Automation for Everyone: Cisco-Eagle Q&A with Seegrid

April 14, 2014

Last month, Cisco-Eagle traveled to Atlanta, GA to take part in the supply chain expo, Modex.  We were there every day of the show, demonstrating innovations in forklift and industrial safety as well as focusing on other material handling innovations. It was a great opportunity for us to take in the innovations, see customers, and learn about new ways to solve problems.

Amanda MerrellWhen time allowed (it was a jam-packed 4 days!) we toured the floor to discover the latest manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain solutions from the industry’s leading innovators.  We’re grateful we had the opportunity to sit down with Amanda Merrell, Marketing Director for one of our partner companies, Seegrid, a manufacturer of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) for the material handling industry. 

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Cisco-Eagle’s 2013-2014 Employee-Owner of the Year is Tammy Barnes

April 7, 2014

Tammy Barnes and Darein Gandall

Above: Tammy Barnes, Employee-Owner of the Year, and Cisco-Eagle President Darein Gandall.

Tammy Barnes has been named our 2013-2014 Employee-Owner of the Year.

The annual award is presented by the company’s ESOP Advisory Committee. It recognizes an employee-owner who has gone beyond what is expected to promote and support the ownership culture at Cisco-Eagle. This award
is distinct because it is awarded directly by a committee of  employees rather than senior management.

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Warehousing Key Performance Indicators

April 5, 2014

order picking cartons at a distribution center

Key performance indicators – KPI’s – are frequently used in general business to evaluate the success of everything from a specific department to an entire enterprise. They focus on strengths and weaknesses. Many warehousing KPI’s tend to be focused on external performance, such as on-time shipments that directly impact customers. This is a good measure, but the need to go deeper and measure the factors that drive those success rates is critical. What are some KPI’s for warehousing operations?

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WCS vs. WMS: Complimentary Roles

March 16, 2014

sortation system

A warehouse control system (WCS) directs “real-time” activities within warehouses and distribution centers. They act as a traffic regulator for warehousing activities, with the mission of running material handling systems (and in some instances, the activities of workers). A good WCS system provides a broad, yet consistent interface for material handling systems like conveyors, carousels, palletizers, sorters, etc. On the other hand, a warehouse management system (WMS) is more focused on broader activities, people, and processes, such as shipments and orders. WMS usually doesn’t reach downstream into the automated equipment itself. A WMS is more about controlling human interactions to fulfill or receive product.

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Automated Shipping System at Diapers.com

March 12, 2014

How can Diapers.com, which prides itself on fast, often free delivery, keep up with ever-increasing customer demand and still operate profitably?

With a very in-depth product line with thousands of specialized SKUs, the company relies heavily on automation. It’s a rare example of an operation that transitioned from a full manual system to a fully automated one with very little ‘midstream’ semi-automation, utilizing conveyors, robotics, and other technologies to fulfill orders quickly and profitably. The video runs 1:48.

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Configuring a Forklift Warning Light

March 11, 2014

Forklift warning light distance

When it comes to pedestrian safety in warehouses, the problem is often one of attention span. Most experts agree that the key is training for both the pedestrians and forklift drivers, and that’s correct. Others will also point out the need to enhance that training with various facility and equipment upgrades. That’s why many companies have installed forklift warning lights, often called “blue lights”, that project a disc of light that precedes the forklift as it moves. Since the forklift is typically the most dangerous piece of equipment in any facility that uses it, these types of low-cost enhancements are sensible and easy.

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Posted in Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| 4 Comments »

25 Informative Manufacturing & Industrial Profiles to Follow on Twitter

March 6, 2014

Twitter Logo2014 is shaping up to be a year of transition for the manufacturing sector, with issues in talent development, an aging work force, the re-shoring of manufacturing in some sectors, and the forward moment of automation taking center stage.

Where can you go for the latest in industrial manufacturing news, trends, research, events, and discussions? Social media is one solution. With roughly one billion registered users, Twitter can be an invaluable resource for discovering what distributors, suppliers, publications, consultants, journalists, bloggers, and industry experts are discussing.

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The Case for a “Supersized” Receiving Area

March 3, 2014

Dock door in a receiving area

Receiving is an often-overlooked but critical component to warehouse workflow. Receiving  mistakes can flow through every other aspect of your operation.

If you can’t quickly and accurately break down landed shipments and send them to effective putaway, you can sabotage every other aspect of the operation. It has a direct impact on inventory accuracy (and security – in fact receiving is an area of particular vulnerability), throughput, and accurate fulfillment. Too little receiving space tends to become a root cause for many errors and throughput headaches.

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