Material Handling Experts

888-877-3861

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

Excess Walking Makes “Zombies” of Order Pickers

July 10, 2013

zombie order picker

Studies indicate that order pickers spend too much time walking – according to many studies, distribution center employees routinely spend more than  half their day walking, not picking orders, packing orders, or replenishing stock. They’re going from point to point, burning man hours getting where they need to be, not working. And that’s the average — for really poorly designed operations, it’s worse.

As they tire, workers pick slower, pick less accurately, and work more dangerously — almost a zombie like situation! Every bad thing that can happen in a warehouse operation is amplified, the more time employees spend walking.  

Check out our most recent Info-graphic, “Walking is the Walking Death of Order Picking Productivity”  for more information on ways you can combat this issue. 

More information:

Tags: , ,
Posted in Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Top 12 Distribution Center Metrics

June 29, 2013

Busy distribution operationAs it has every year for the last decade, DCVelocity Magazine has surveyed its readers and members of WERC to  find what industry professionals believe are the top metrics for a successful operation. This is instructive for most operations, and worth taking a look.  The full survey can be found here.

The top 12 metrics, and (category)

  1. On time shipments (to customers)
  2. Internal order cycle time (customer)
  3. Dock-to-stock cycle time, in hours (inbound operation)
  4. Total cycle time (customer)
  5. Order picking accuracy (quality)
  6. Lines picked and shipped per hour (outbound operations)
  7. Lines received and put away per hour (inbound operations)
  8. Percentage of supplier orders received damage free (inbound operations)
  9. Average warehouse capacity used (capacity)
  10. Order fill rate (outbound operations)
  11. Percentage of supplier orders received with correct documentation (inbound operations)
  12. Peak warehouse capacity used (Capacity)

Not everything on this list necessarily applies to every operation, but they are all worth some reflection. It’s worthwhile to have the questions posed, as we all fall victim to the “forest and trees” syndrome. 

Related: How to benchmark your warehouse operation

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Docks & Shipping, Inventory Management, Material Handling, ROI, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Can Warehouse Safety be Automated?

June 28, 2013

warehouse corner

OSHA estimates 85 deaths, 35,000 serious injuries, and another 62,000 non-serious injuries. More than 11% of forklifts are involved in these accidents every year, meaning that the forklift in your warehouse is statistically destined to have an accident before it goes out of service.

The cherry on top of this awful pie? Almost 40% of those accidents, depending on whose numbers you follow, involve a pedestrian. And this doesn’t  take into account the accidents that damage property, but don’t hurt people. Forklift-to-forklift collisions, or forklift colliding with warehouse racks aren’t included in these numbers if people aren’t injured.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in AisleCop, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

A Rule of Thumb: Rack Height to Depth Ratio

June 21, 2013

 pallet rack system

When designing pallet racks, people tend to pay attention to the easy parts. Beam capacity is straight math; the capacity of a pair of beams, so long as the load is evenly distributed, the load properly positioned, and the safety clips are installed, is a reliable number. Frame capacities are a more complex, as they rely on vertical spacing between levels. Get these factors right, and typically it doesn’t take an engineer to design a safe and reliable rack system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Cisco-Eagle Publishes Steel Guard Rail Configurator

June 7, 2013

steel guard rail in a distribution center

We have published another exclusive Cisco-Eagle WebTool, a configuration tool that lets you create steel guard rail layouts, basic drawings, prices, and component lists. The Steel Guard Rail Configurator works instantly right in your browser. Like all of our other webtools, it doesn’t require registration. You can elect to send your results to Cisco-Eagle for assistance with your project. 

The configurator allows single sided, two, three, and four sided layouts. 

Steel King’s Steel Guard Heavy-duty guardrail creates a highly visible wall of steel that is perfect for surrounding machinery, protecting conveyor lines, modular buildings, or lining a pedestrian walkway. Specially designed ribs in the guardrail give the walls extra durability. 

Posted in News, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Key Considerations for Warehouse Aisle Widths

May 31, 2013

Forklift aisle widths are typically set when pallet racking is installed. In many cases, such as narrow aisle projects, these spaces are critically important. Typically, warehouse managers don’t attempt to lay out these types of storage facilities. But for reach truck, selective rack applications, these aisle sizes are often “eye balled”, or given a 12′ width no matter what type of forklift is using the aisles. If you are laying out a facility, what criteria should you use for rack aisle width?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lifts, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Merging Warehouse Operations: The Pitfalls

May 28, 2013

merging an industrial operation is difficult

Merging two formerly separate industrial operations can be more difficult, expensive, and time consuming than creating an entirely new plant. After all, even in the best of scenarios, it’s almost always easier to start with a blank slate. But in these days of consolidations and cost cutting, this can happen to almost any company.  Planning and open communications is the key in general, but there are specific issues you should be aware of.

What are some pitfalls, and how can you avoid them?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Inventory Management, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

What Causes Pallet Rack Collapses?

May 15, 2013

Pallet Rack System

We have all seen the spectacular (sometimes humorous), but often horrifying videos of rack collapses. They’re all over YouTube. But what really happens to cause these dangerous incidents?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,
Posted in Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Video: Forklift Approach Warning Light in Action

April 29, 2013

Forklift approach warning lights are an economical way to help alert people on foot to the approach of a forklift, AGV, or other industrial vehicle. In this case, we are able to show you how visible these lights can be in a setting where an order picking vehicle is traveling through a rack aisle, and where someone’s perspective might not allow them to see the approaching danger. The light is very visible, up to fifteen feet preceding the lift.

Tags: ,
Posted in Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Video: Seegrid Automated Industrial Truck

April 26, 2013

This video displays a Seegrid automated industrial truck, at our recent Open House and Automation Exhibit. The Seegrid truck navigated a large warehouse, interacting frequently with attendees to demonstrate its route learning and safety features. “I trust it more than many forklift drivers I’ve been around,” said one attendee. (Seegrid trucks have a 100% safety record, so that trust is well-founded).

Posted in Automation, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Robotics, Warehousing| No Comments »