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

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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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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“Undercover Boss” Underlines the Difficulties of Large Scale Distribution

December 26, 2010

Tonight’s Undercover Boss on CBS features GSI Commerce CEO Michael G. Rubin, and as my wife and I were watching it, the loading, order picking and packing segment brought home the difficulties of these operations. It’s a somewhat rare mainstream glimpse into large scale distribution operations.

The order picking segment from GSI’s Lexington, Kentucky distribution center in particular stressed the disadvantages associated with walking in order picking operations. Armed with RF guns, the pickers tow order picking shelf carts between picking aisles. They leave the carts in a center aisle and move down rack aisles where inventory is stored in bins.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

5 Ways to Avoid Costly Conveyor Breakdowns

December 17, 2010

:Power roller conveyor

Conveyors are exceptional in their productivity enhancement for manufacturing and distribution operations, but they need attention – and not just from your maintenance group. Everyone involved with them should be aware of the safety and performance issues involved. Here are five practices for happy conveying…

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ProMat 2011 is 3 Months Away

December 14, 2010

proMat 2011 logo

ProMat, the Material Handling Industry’s bi-annual trade show, is coming in March 2011.

The show will feature over 700 exhibiting companies featuring cutting-edge equipment and systems solutions. Choose from 2 keynote addresses, 2 educational tracks and 80 educational sessions that deliver valuable insights into the latest trends, technologies and innovations. The show is March 21-24, 2011 and as usual, is located in Chicago at McCormick Place South.

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, News, Pack Expo, Warehousing| No Comments »

Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Calculating Gauges and Capacity

December 7, 2010

Wire gauge is a crucial element in wire pallet rack deck design and is also one of the first places manufacturers look to when needing to cut costs, meaning it’s one of the first places you should look when comparing decking for your pallet rack project. Lower cost is great, but only if you’re getting the capacity and durability you need.

Just because two decks are the same size in no way makes them the same deck. That can be all right, so long as both can hold your load and last for the long term.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Why Warehouse Employees Ignore Safe Lifting Advice – and How to Help Them

December 5, 2010

lifting boxes and cartons correctly

The most common advice that ergonomics experts, OSHA, and other researchers provide to people in warehousing or other jobs that require manual lifting is that you should always bend your knees and lift that way, rather than bend at the waist to pick something up. Repetitive stress on the lower back is staggering: 20% of workplace injuries are related to lower back issues. Lifting right is essential to employee safety, and also to preventing Worker Compensation claims.

Even when you train employees to lift right – and we know that not everyone does – they frequently ignore the advice. Why?

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Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas

December 3, 2010

pallet rack rows

Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, ROI, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »