Material Handling Experts


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

Preventing Energy Leaks at the Dock Door

September 20, 2011

Loading dock door
Any operation with dock doors faces an uphill challenge when it comes to preserving the climate inside. In particular, air-conditioned and heated facilities must face the reality of losing large volumes of treated air when trailers must be loaded or unloaded. Managers will be asked to scrutinize every expense, and the loss of climate controlled air can be a significant expense.

So how can you minimize air and energy loss?

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Posted in Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Safety & Ergonomics, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

Hand Carts vs. Pallets for Retail Distribution

September 19, 2011

Pallet and order picking carts for retail distribution
Retail distribution facilities have multiple options for shipping product to store locations. They can send full pallets which must be unwrapped, unloaded, and stocked at the store location. They can send packed carts that can easily be rolled onto store floors and stocked at the point of sale. What method works best?
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Posted in Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Warehouse & Order Fulfillment: Hiring Good People

July 19, 2011

Warehouse manager

Finding qualified candidates for warehouse production work isn’t easy. This is particularly true with supervisors who understand how kitting, ticketing, and storage operations. You want people who know the work, and who can supervise and motivate your employees. Qualified candidates are often the kind of people who aren’t online perusing jobs. They aren’t going to temp agencies. It’s a unique and difficult situation for warehousing operations. Quite often, they must be bilingual to supervise an increasingly Spanish-speaking workforce.

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

Picking to Cartons vs. Picking to Totes

July 14, 2011

Order picking on a conveyor with carousels

In a pick-to-tote operation, you have the advantage of a dedicated packing function. Since totes can be “one size (or a range of them) fits all”, your pickers can easily pick and organize totes as they navigate the system, either on conveyor or in carts. They aren’t thinking of anything but getting the pick right. Trained packers at the end of the line cartonize the orders, often using state of the art packing stations and consolidated equipment & materials. This means that you’ll have at least two employees (the picker(s) and the packer) touching each order, and that the packing group will need more square footage.  What if you decided to pick directly to cartons, eliminating the totes and reducing or eliminating the packing group?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pack Expo, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

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 »

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 »

A Guide to Automated Stretchwrap Machinery

February 19, 2011

rotary tower stretchwrap machinesWe’ve recently posted a guide to stretchwrap machine specification and justification. For operations with the kind of throughput where automation makes sense, machine driven stretchwrappers can enhance quality as well as increase speed. They also offer ergonomic benefits and material savings.

Also, see: standard Stretchwrap Machine models and specs.

Posted in Automation, Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI| No Comments »

11% of Forklifts are Involved in Accidents Annually. What Can You Do?

January 14, 2011

hurtling forklift

There isn’t much other way to say it: If you have a forklift, it is almost surely the most dangerous piece of equipment under your roof. If you have many forklifts, that danger us multiplied.

How dangerous? According to OSHA estimates, there are 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries and 85 forklift related deaths in the United States every year. Since there are almost 900,000 forklifts operating at any given point in the United States, this is something that every operation needs to consider when your forklifts start moving on a busy day. 11% of them stand a good chance of being in an accident or collision every single year. Those aren’t great odds, considering that a forklift in a given warehouse is heavy, moving, and in a noisy and often visually crowded environment.

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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 »