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Technology’s Impact on Manufacturing & Distribution Center Industry

June 14, 2016

conveyor system automated

Automation comes sharply into focus at industry shows like this year’s Modex 2016. It’s an opportunity to see the latest innovations in technology up close and hear from vendors the new ways they are incorporating automated material handling systems into their own facilities, as well as serving their customers.

Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain companies are doing everything they can to keep pace with the rapid change of technology, from the Internet of Things to 3D printing to highly intuitive software. As we made our way around the show floor, we were curious how the increase of automation is affecting the workforce, updating facility processes, and changing how manufacturers do business. Let’s take a look:

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New Ways Manufacturers Are Attracting and Retaining Talent

June 8, 2016

manufacturing employees

If there’s one takeaway from Modex 2016 that will stick with us it’s that the supply chain industry is evolving at a rapid pace. From automated material handling to software that harnesses and makes sense of big data to safer and more ergonomic products, the show was rife with innovation.

While the technology is improving, most companies are facing challenges in another critical aspect: Hiring skilled workers. As the workforce ages and veteran employees look to retire, companies are struggling to fill positions. We’ve written about the manufacturing skills gap before and it was a topic that came up repeatedly in our conversations with industry colleagues at Modex. After all, the Manufacturing Institute research shows that by 2025 the skills gap will result in 2 million unfilled jobs. It’s a great concern across the industry.

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How to Make Shipping Docks Safer and More Efficient

May 19, 2016

shipping dock area

Loading docks are often the busiest area of any distribution facility. When trucks are being loaded or unloaded, they become a center of activity with a number of people and forklifts operating within proximity to each other. Usually this is fast work, with the need to quickly load or unload a truck. Everyone involved, from forklift drivers to warehouse workers to truck drivers to bystanders has a role to play in a safer dock operation. Here are some common issues and solutions.

OSHA lists some of the potential threats on its official workplace hazards resource.

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Modex Interview Series: SixAxis’ Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 18, 2016

Modex Show Floor

Modex is more than an opportunity for the material handling industry to convene in Atlanta, GA, network with peers, and exhibit products and solutions. Heralded at “the Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth,” Modex offers manufacturers and distributors access to cutting-edge innovations, allowing them to position themselves and their organizations to take full advantage of the next wave of technology to hit the industry.

Estimated at 25,000 attendees, Modex 2016 was a great event. We took the chance to speak with some of the exhibitors. Here’s what SixAxis President Rob Honeycutt told us about the future of automation in manufacturing and distribution.

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Modex Interview Series: UNEX

May 10, 2016

Modex 2016 Show Floor, Atlanta Georgia

At Modex 2016 in Atlanta, we had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Neuwirth, President of UNEX, for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of manufacturing. He shared his insights on key issues facing the industry from improving customer experience to addressing the skills gap.

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Securing Product in Pallet Rack Bays

April 19, 2016

Rack Safety Types
There are some inherent safety and security issues when it comes to pallet rack – goods failing to be appropriately stacked on the pallets, failing to shrink wrap goods on the pallet, over hanging pallets past the rack beams into the flue space, and failing to secure high dollar products being stored in rack bays. Each of these situations present hazards either in safety or security.

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Product News: Spring-Rail Pushback Product Announced

April 15, 2016

Spring-Rail Close Up
Recently Exglobe, maker of the horizontal flow rail featured on our website, announced the upcoming launch of a new product that allows existing pallet rack to be used as pushback rack without the carts and retrofit expense typically incurred. I contacted Exglobe’s U.S. sales manager, George Bally, to ask a few questions about the new product.

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How Forklift Warning Systems Help Separate Traffic & Pedestrians

April 14, 2016

Large modern warehouse with forklifts

Forklifts are ubiquitous in the modern warehouse

As an invaluable tool, they must be operated properly and always with safety in mind. However, that’s not always the case. OSHA statistics reveal there are more than 30,000 serious injuries involving forklifts (and similarly powered vehicles) in the U.S. each year. Approximately 20 percent of those accidents occur when a forklift strikes a pedestrian. This can make the forklift the most dangerous equipment in your facility.

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Demonstrating the Value of Warehouse Operations

April 12, 2016

Executive in the warehouse

You know that your warehouse is critically important to being able to satisfy customers. You know how warehousing mistakes can impact your company’s bottom line, and how excellent warehousing can boost it. You know that a lack of resources can cripple a thriving storage or distribution operation. You also know that there are people in some organizations who don’t understand this.

Communicating the warehouse’s value is almost as important as establishing it.

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Yard Ramps: 4 Critical Specification Factors

April 12, 2016

yard ramp in use

Yard ramps usually perform one of two functions: (1) They allow forklifts or other equipment to load a truck trailer from the ground, or (2) they allow loading and unloading from the ground level to a dock. For many operations, where truck access to dock doors is impossible or impractical, yard ramps create flexibility. Loads can be deposited at the ground level, and left there until they can be dealt with. Loads can be staged outside the dock area and then picked up by truck later, using the yard ramp. Yard ramps are excellent for many loading/unloading issues.

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