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

Proper Storage and Handling of Prescription Drugs

June 21, 2011

warehouse storage - pharmaceutical

When it comes to storing controlled substances, in particular prescription drugs, the warehouse and bulk storage aspects are important for pharmaceutical, hospital central supply warehouses, or retail outlets. This is an area where many people who should not have access to medication may find easier opportunities for pilferage. The FDA offers some guidelines on how to operate securely, and within regulations. State licensing laws will typically reflect the minimum Federal requirements, but may exceed those, when it comes to the storage and handling of prescription drugs.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Industrial Shelving, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Security, Warehousing| No Comments »

Seegrid Automated Pallet and Tow Trucks: No Driver Needed

June 16, 2011

Seegrid Unmanned Industrial Pallet Truck

Cisco-Eagle has partnered with Seegrid to offer automated, unmanned industrial pallet and tow trucks as part of our continuing focus on automated storage systems.

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Posted in Automation, Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Lifts, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Robotics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ten Reasons to Automate your Operation

June 10, 2011

automated robotic palletizer

In the not-too-distant past, most companies that weren’t running immense distribution operations, who didn’t have multiple facilities, who didn’t run 24-hour shifts, didn’t even consider automation. Too expensive, they’d say. Too much risk. Too little upside if things go wrong.  All valid in context, if we were in 1998. But the reality is this: While most costs—personnel, land, energy— have increased, automation costs have remained steady or declined across the board. The reality today is that the four guys stacking pallets at the end of a line, even for a single shift, even at low wages, are more expensive than a well configured palletizing system.

Those costs aren’t going to do anything but escalate, either. Listed are ten ways automation has become more relevant, even to mid-size operations:

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Robotics, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Use Propane in your Forklift? Tax Credits are Running Out

June 9, 2011

Forklift propane bottleA federal tax credit that could allow forklift users to recoup 50 cents of every gallon of propane purchased runs out August 1, 2011. If you run forklifts on propane, it’s nearly a no-brainer that your company should apply for this credit. To get in, you must have submitted your paperwork by the first of August. The credit is part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  Propane is part of the alternative fuels classification, which also includes natural gas, bio-diesel, and ethanol.

After the deadline, the tax credit reverts to 30%. As always, see your tax professionals before undertaking any decisions based on this information.

Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, News, ROI, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

Smart Labor Management Helps Cut Warehouse Costs

May 22, 2011

packing operations

Especially as the economic recovery continues, it’s important to control costs in your operation. What are some warehousing cost-cutting methods you can employ that don’t require extensive investment or re-tooling? Most of the costs of warehousing operations fall into the following categories:

  • People
  • Real Estate, Utilities & other Fixed Costs
  • Inventory
  • Technology

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Posted in Lifts, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Mixed-Load Robotic Palletizing Application Video

May 10, 2011

In this video, a Fanuc robot is executing mixed-load palletizing of beer cases at a distribution center.

In this operation, differently-sized beer cases are conveyed to the robot to fulfill a specific order. Since the cases vary by width, length, and height, their dimensional information is sent to the robot by the WMS (warehouse management system). The robot utilizes mixed-load palletizing software to determine the best pattern to build a pallet with the available products, achieving high density and stack stability with rapid speed.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Robotics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Four Options for Bar Stock, Tubing & Pipe Storage Racks

March 24, 2011

storing bar stock

Especially in heavy manufacturing, machine shops, petroleum, or chemical operations, large bundles of pipe, tubing, bar stock, or other long, heavy loads must be stored and picked during the day. Multiple ways are available to store these loads.  They can be picked by forklifts, by hand, by hoist or crane. The choices you make will determine how you access the product (and how easily), how much space it takes, and its safety. Here are the options:

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

13 Best Practices for Warehouse Productivity

March 17, 2011

Improving a warehousing operation is a complex endeavor that can be approached from any number of angles.  Here are 13 common actions you can consider in any warehouse improvement effort:

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Supply Chain, Warehousing| 10 Comments »

Moving Material Vertically – VRC’s, Conveyors, and Other Options

February 2, 2011

mezzanine and conveyor picking area

The easiest space to recoup in most every operation is overhead space – the vertical cube. Expanding out costs more than expanding up. Over time, that means utilizing mezzanines, suspended overhead conveyors, pick modules, taller rack systems, the space over dock doors, etc. That space is available in most every warehouse or manufacturing facility, but utilizing it means that you have to be able to move material between levels without creating bottlenecks.

What are your options?

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Posted in Conveyor, Lifts, Mezzanines, Warehousing| No Comments »

What’s it Cost to Run a Warehouse in Your City?

January 19, 2011

warehousing operationsThe Boyd Company has released a useful document on the comparative costs of operating a warehouse or distribution center around the United States, “Comparative Distribution Warehousing Industry Operating Costs”. It takes multiple factors into account and provides an annual operating cost for many cities and regions. The report bases these costs on a hypothetical 175,000 square foot facility with 75 nonexempt workers. This warehouse would ship over-the-road to a national U.S. market.

The factors taken into consideration include:

  • Total annual labor costs
  • Electric power costs
  • Natural gas power costs
  • Amortization costs
  • Property and sales taxes
  • Shipping costs

Some markets of interest and their annual operating costs:

  • San Jose, CA (most expensive): $12,064,961
  • Sioux Falls, SD (least expensive): $7,417,487
  • Chicago, IL $10,351,816
  • St. Louis, MO: $8,808,609
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX $8,430,605
  • Oklahoma City, OK $8,119,512
  • Tulsa, OK $8,089,925

Obviously these numbers won’t be an exact fit for every operation, but they can give you a good idea of costs in a given city or state.

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Posted in News, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »