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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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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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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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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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More is More: Estimating Pallet Rack Upright Capacities

December 9, 2013

pallet rack system

When you are configuring a pallet rack system, there are two types of capacity to take into account: beam capacity and upright capacity. Getting those capacities right is a critical factor in safe, efficient rack operations, so understanding why they are very different numbers is important. 

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Tactics to Reduce Small Parts Picking Errors

December 3, 2013

small parts picking line with Unex carton flow racking

Small parts are more difficult to count, measure and handle. They tend to cause more errors than case picking or larger component orders. If you are having errors, you should try to define the causes — and the suspects abound. Can you find out what’s causing the errors? Once you do, what happens next? Here are some common causes and solutions to this issue.

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