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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: Complementary Warehouse Software

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 can be plain old attention span

People who aren’t paying attention are at the most risk, particularly those who walk near and around forklifts. People don’t pay attention because they’re busy, worried about deadlines. Or they’re absorbed in their smart phone, or in a conversation with someone. The reasons vary, but when forklifts are involved, the results can be deadly.

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 Material Handling, 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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Quick Guide to Order Picking Methods & Productivity

February 12, 2014

Order picking from rack

When you are working on an order picking strategy, knowing the metrics for picking rates may be helpful. Labor productivity is the key to any warehousing or order picking operation, since labor tends to be the largest single cost factor in these operations. It’s critical to understand production rates for processes that absorb labor hours, energy, money, and time.

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AisleCop® a Finalist for MHI 2014 Innovation Awards

February 7, 2014

AisleCop Forklift Safety System

The Material Handling Industry of America (MHI) has named Cisco-Eagle’s AisleCop® Automated Forklift Safety System a finalist for the 2014 Innovation Award, Best New Innovation Category. Judging, and the final awards, happens at Modex 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Manufacturing: Attacking the Skills Gap

February 3, 2014

CNC manufacturing cutting operation with bridge crane

In its 2011 “Skills Gap in Manufacturing” report, the Manufacturing Institute laid out the situation: as American manufacturing continues to expand, a lack of critical skills in the workforce is becoming an increasingly common limitation. In many places, we see classified ad pages full of jobs for skilled positions like CNC machinists, high-volume assembly technicians, welders, or electricians. With a reported 600,000 unfilled jobs in the manufacturing sector, it’s something that has to be addressed.

Certainly, lower-cost foreign labor is still a drain, but there is little manufacturers can do about that. What can manufacturers do?

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Posted in Manufacturing, Palletizers, Robotics| No Comments »