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

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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Top 12 Distribution Center Metrics

June 29, 2013

Busy distribution operationAs it has every year for the last decade, DCVelocity Magazine has surveyed its readers and members of WERC to  find what industry professionals believe are the top metrics for a successful operation. This is instructive for most operations, and worth taking a look.  The full survey can be found here.

The top 12 metrics, and (category)

  1. On time shipments (to customers)
  2. Internal order cycle time (customer)
  3. Dock-to-stock cycle time, in hours (inbound operation)
  4. Total cycle time (customer)
  5. Order picking accuracy (quality)
  6. Lines picked and shipped per hour (outbound operations)
  7. Lines received and put away per hour (inbound operations)
  8. Percentage of supplier orders received damage free (inbound operations)
  9. Average warehouse capacity used (capacity)
  10. Order fill rate (outbound operations)
  11. Percentage of supplier orders received with correct documentation (inbound operations)
  12. Peak warehouse capacity used (Capacity)

Not everything on this list necessarily applies to every operation, but they are all worth some reflection. It’s worthwhile to have the questions posed, as we all fall victim to the “forest and trees” syndrome. 

Related: How to benchmark your warehouse operation

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Can Warehouse Safety be Automated?

June 28, 2013

warehouse corner

It’s no secret – there is a near-epidemic of forklift accidents in the U.S., and lots of people are being hurt.

OSHA estimates 85 deaths, 35,000 serious injuries, and another 62,000 non-serious injuries. More than 11% of forklifts are involved in these accidents every year, meaning that the forklift in your warehouse is statistically destined to have an accident before it goes out of service.

The cherry on top of this awful pie? Almost 40% of those accidents, depending on whose numbers you follow, involve a pedestrian. And this doesn’t  take into account the accidents that damage property, but don’t hurt people. Forklift-to-forklift collisions, or forklift colliding with warehouse racks aren’t included in these numbers if people aren’t injured.

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Posted in AisleCop, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Bridging the Gap Between Warehouse and Office

February 13, 2013

The Gap Between Warehouse and Office

The warehouse. The office.

Sometimes it’s as if one doesn’t exist to the other. As one customer told us, “it’s like we have two companies here, and one doesn’t know what the other is up to.”

But when you’re trying to improve your operation, or even to operate well, it’s impossible to separate the two functions. Decisions can be made in one area that can impact the other severely, so communication and cooperation are vital. Too bad it doesn’t always work that way. How can you improve it?

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Ideas for Cost Savings in E-Commerce Warehouses

December 6, 2012

Jay Moris has an excellent article in this month’s Inbound Logistics on ways you can cut expenses in your e-commerce operation. Some quick pointers:

  • Increase customer satisfaction. Moris explains that right-sizing your packages can reduce carton size and ensure customers receive the right package at the right time.
  • Reduce packaging costs. By using cartonization strategies, you can reduce parcel sizes – and by extension, shipping and packaging costs.
  • Decrease labor and increase throughput. By optimizing its sortation systems, one retailer cut 62 cents off every package shipped.
  • Reduce freight, sortation, and shipping costs. Reducing carton dimensions does all of these things in a world where just a single sheet of paper is capable of changing a carton’s shipping class.

We live in a world where weight and dimensional measurement of packages is becoming faster and easier to gauge. Shippers can and will be able to charge more for smaller and smaller differences, so every bit of the process you can automate and optimize, the better. There are more tips (and plenty more detail) at the article – check it out.

Posted in Automation, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Using Wire Partitions to Secure Retail Space

October 15, 2012

retail storefront security partitions

We routinely help industrial and warehousing customers fit their facilities with wire security cages and partitions. They can be built into just about any configuration you want, fit just about any space needed, and can be specified with locks ranging from padlocks to biometric locks.

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How to Avoid Loading Dock Injuries

August 3, 2012

loading dock from the outside

Since 25% of all warehouse injuries occur at the loading dock, warehousing and manufacturing operations need to pay close attention to this area. Shipping and receiving docks both suffer similar problems in that they are bustling places. At peak times they can get very busy, and when people are pressed for time, they become careless. So, what are the common injury types, and what can you do to avoid them?

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Empty Pallet Storage: What Not to Do

May 4, 2012

Most distribution and many manufacturing operations must deal with empty pallets – sometimes it’s a lot of pallets. They take space you could use for something else. They clutter your receiving areas. Sometimes they’re splintery, with nails protruding from the sides ready to bite a passerby. People re-use their pallets of course, holding onto them for a period of time until you can ship them back out. But while they’re in your facility, they can at space, potentially injure people, and generally cause trouble.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Pack Expo, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| 7 Comments »

Free eBook: Pedestrian Safety in Forklift Operations

April 9, 2012

pedestrian forklift accidents36% of forklift injury accidents involve pedestrians; that’s tens of thousands of accidents a year in the U.S. alone. And we all know that when it comes to pedestrians, there is no such thing as a minor forklift accident.

We’ve recently added a free eBook focused on this topic. It covers a range of processes, equipment, and training that you can undertake to help reduce the chances of fatalities or serious injuries in your operation.

Includes information on:

  • Training – not just for forklift drivers. Not just for warehouse personnel. Not just for your employees
  • Speed limits – why forklifts handle like bathtubs, and why that makes speed a safety concern
  • Facility clutter – the enemy of safety
  • Environmental factors – why lighting, noise levels, and visual clutter can cause accidents
  • Solid vs. Visual – when should you utilize physical barriers vs. floor tape to demarcate lanes
  • When to automate – How to deploy automated solutions such as motion sensors, safety gates, and more
  • Traffic management planning – why you should create a traffic management plan. You already have one – it may just not be the one you want
  • Links to relevant information from OSHA, safety consultants, and more

Download “Shared Space is a Dangerous Place” today. (1MB PDF file opens in a new window).

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

OSHA, Whistleblowers, and Safety Bonuses

April 9, 2012

carrying cartons in a warehouse, wearing safety vest

OSHA has recently released a guide to safety incentives, disincentives, and reporting issues. It’s worth a quick read if you manage a manufacturing, warehousing, or industrial facility.

This document focuses on reporting/non-reporting workplace injury issues. OSHA says that “Reporting a work-related injury or illness is a core employee right, and retaliating against a worker for reporting an injury or illness is illegal discrimination under section 11(c).”  Of course, smart companies want to know if there are unsafe conditions or practices. But what if your safety rewards program is discouraging employees from reporting incidents, or even near-misses?

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »