Material Handling Experts


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

Workbench supply placement should be constantly evaluated

May 4, 2009

Packing operation with conveyor lines

There isn’t enough room at your average industrial workstation. In fact, many order pickers, packers, shippers, and other professionals might tell you that you could have a 10′ long workbench, and they’d still be squeezed for space. In a busy operation, it’s a constant battle between availability of materials and space for doing the actual work. So what’s the solution? A larger workbench top? According to (registration required, but a pretty useful resource from Dehnco – we have reprinted the entire piece here, with permission), if there is not enough workstation storage area a bigger table won’t help – and may hurt.

The tabletop surface should not be considered storage space in the first place. So that leaves the unanswered question: how do you get more storage space for needed materials?

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

Doing more with less: the core mission of material handling

April 27, 2009

Cisco-Eagle CEO Warren Gandall discusses ways to do more with less in a struggling economy

order picking at a warehouseAchieving more with less is a core goal of most businesses. In the warehousing and industrial world, that means building more, shipping more, doing more – controlling more – with fewer resources. The typical issue is labor in many of these operations. It takes people to run a shipping operation, and plenty of them.

“In economically challenging times like now, you’re being asked to produce more per person than ever,” said Cisco-Eagle’s CEO, Warren Gandall. “You’ve probably had to let people go. You may have shut down some areas, cancel contracts, cut a shift, and take the steps necessary to emerge from this downturn. But the big question is, how do you emerge stronger?”

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Cross Docking, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Wire Security Cages: Welded vs. Woven

April 22, 2009

Woven wire security cageWith the focus on plant security the last few years, it’s little wonder that companies are outfitting their warehouses with security partitions and cages for high-value inventory, restricted access areas, tool cribs, and other places where more physical control of the property is needed. They are superb in these functions, keeping tools, components and inventories safe for a relatively low cost vs. other kinds of security measures.

Recently we started to offer welded wire partitions alongside the traditional woven cages that have been standard in the industry for years. Both are good equipment. Both will secure an area. Both will keep unauthorized people out of places they aren’t supposed to be. But they are different products, with different applications.

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Metal Lockers: Quick Ship vs. Production

April 12, 2009

Penco Vanguard LockersWe’ve offered quick ship metal lockers from Penco for years. They ship fast, they’re easy to order, but sizes, color, and other options are limited. You can order them today and you’ll get them fast. They’re used all over the place – schools, warehouse locker rooms, industrial and commercial facilities. People like them for easy, inexpensive secure personal storage. But now, we’re offering Built to Order Vanguard Lockers priced by the frame on our site. This gives you a ton of options and flexibility.

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Why Dallas is Great for Distribution

April 10, 2009
Dallas access to US markets by truck

Dallas access to US markets by truck

5 Reasons the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex  is a great place for Distribution, order fulfillment, and manufacturing

Wringing out every atom of efficiency from your supply chain is more important than ever. Figuring out where you’ll distribute products from is a key part of that decision. Here’s the case for the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex:

  1. Central location. Dallas is about as centralized as you can get, in particular when you consider its relative distance from North America’s 4 major business centers (New York, LA, Mexico City, and Toronto). 98% of U.S. consumers can be reached in a couple days by truck from DFW.
  2. Lower operating costs. Dallas warehouse space costs is inexpensive, and business costs are the lowest among major metropolitan areas. Tax rates are nearly 20% lower than the national average, and the weather is excellent.
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A variety of material handling equipment guides

April 2, 2009

conveyor optimization guideHELP SPECIFYING JUST ABOUT ANYTHING

Over the years, we have compiled a large number of guides for everything material handling related. These are things that can tell you everything from what caster wheel works best on a particular surface (on a floor with oils and greases you would want phenolic wheels, for instance) to safe ladder usage, to mezzanine decking advice.

Conveyors are extensively covered in our guide areas (MHIA has recognized this resource in its annual content awards). There are lots of guides, and if you’re trying to specify a particular kind of equipment, it’s a good bookmark to have.

Posted in Conveyor, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ways to make your facility more energy efficient and worker-friendly during warm weather

March 27, 2009

warehouse worker in hot summer conditions

As Spring kicks into gear, the heat of summer hasn’t hit yet in most places. The time to implement facility changes that could help you control climate costs and provide a better atmosphere for your operations is now, not once the weather has changed. It’s not just a matter of air systems; smaller, incremental changes at entry points or near work areas can have a big impact on worker comfort and productivity. Theses changes can also save you money.

As temperatures climb, more air conditioning isn’t always the best, or even the most effective solution – and it’s certainly not the most cost effective.

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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

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