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

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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Video: Vertical Lifts increase efficiency, cut costs, increase safety at submarine manufacturing facility

February 12, 2009

This video is a short few minutes, and features vertical reciprocating conveyors implemented by Cisco-Eagle at defense contractor Electric Boat, Inc. The company manufactures submarines at its Groton, CT facility.

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Ergonomic Considerations for Designing Conveyor Workstations

February 6, 2009

conveyor workstation considerations

Designing your conveyors and workstations to work together gives you significant safety and efficiency advantages. Using conveyors is a good way to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injury in tasks or procedures that involve manual handling because conveyors reduce the need for repetitive lifting and carrying, but implementing conveyor into workstations requires some basic understanding of how to prevent stress. As a bonus, well-implemented conveyor workstations also boost productivity.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Transferring onto belt conveyors

January 12, 2009

belt-transfer21.jpg

Transferring onto belt conveyors isn’t recommended due to box tracking issues. When you use belt conveyor, boxes will probably drag the belt as they enter, which will push the belt toward the far side. (Above: boxes may cause tracking problems)

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If you can’t avoid using belt conveyors to transfer, the transferring conveyor should be positioned so that it overhangs the belt conveyor, as shown above. Boxes will drop onto the conveyor. If your load cannot be dropped, another solution may be necessary. For assistance with these kinds of transfers, contact us.

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Cisco-Eagle to present at North Texas WERCouncil End of Year “Celebration and Education”

November 12, 2008

Cargill Distribution in Friona, TexasIf you’re in the North Texas area or can easily make the trip, I highly recommend that you attend the North Texas Warehousing Education and Resource Council  “Celebration and Education” seminar on December 10, 2008 in Dallas at the Marriott DFW Airport North.  It’s an excellent day of networking, education and fun. Cisco-Eagle’s Donald Prater is presenting at this session, on the topic “Cargill Excel Beef Case Study – Taking Order Fulfillment to the Next Level.” Donald has implemented multiple facilities for Excel over the years and has keen insights on how to best improve the operations at these kinds of fast-paced, complex operations that you can apply to an operation of almost any kind.

The conference costs $30.

See  our case study on Excel’s innovative order fulfillment project.

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When it Comes to Order Picking, Don’t Walk the Walk

November 3, 2008

picking & restocking from shelvesIn a recent Catalog Success magazine, the following facts were reaffirmed: Three areas – picking, packing and returns – take anywhere from 60% to 80% of labor costs in your typical distribution operation. 60% of the average pickers’ time is spent walking. Not picking, not packing, not checking for quality and accuracy – walking. This is an activity that cannot add value to your operation or to your customers, so you should strive to eliminate it whenever possible.

Not only does it waste time, it makes people tired, and tends to cause a loss in focus and can increase error rates.

Here are some ways to go about removing “walk time” from your operation…

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Industrial Shelving, Space Saving, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

New testing methods deployed at University of Arkansas RFID research center

October 30, 2008

rfid-conveyor.jpgDmitriy Nesterkin, a graduate student employee of the University of Arkanas RFID Research Center, has recently developed a new test data management system for use in the Lab. His software application will allow test data to be stored and analyzed from within one system. In recent weeks, the RFID Research Center has also added two Masters of Information Systems (MIS) students to their staff. These two students have successfully extended a software application that was written by former student employee, Jarrod Bourlon. This application will now be able to handle new inputs and outputs. (Note: Cisco-Eagle is a strategic sponsor of the RFID center)

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Straight Conveyor Transfers: An Illustrated Application Guide

September 24, 2008

Straight conveyor transfer, roller to belt

This guide provides some quick tips to avoid snags, box tumbling, & hang-up’s when you’re transferring from one conveyor to another. Transfers are used to move a package from one conveyor to another, often in a longer line. Straight transfers are the most common type, used to connect individual conveyors in a longer line. Typically, these conveyors can be utilized in straight transfer applications:

Check it out: A guide to conveyor transfers

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