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

Steel (and Material Handling) Prices might be on the Move

May 12, 2009

Steel millAlthough most metal markets are still depressed from their all time highs of the last few years, it’s quite likely that steel pricing is going to increase in the near term. What’s that mean? It means that pricing for steel goods like warehouse racks, conveyors, shelving, mezzanines, and other material handling equipment will be on the rise.

“We are clearly going to see higher prices for May,” said Marty Forman, president of Forman Metal Co.  in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Things aren’t going to explode, by any means, but the scuttlebutt is that steel prices are going up $15 to $20 a ton.”

The takeaway? Prices are as low as they will be for the near future right now.

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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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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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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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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 www.recovery.gov.

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Gravity Conveyor: How Many Skatewheels do You Need?

March 6, 2009

skatewheel conveyor straight section - Hytrol

Gravity skate wheel conveyor is probably the most economical conveyor option around for quick, portable movement of lightweight boxes, totes, or trays. You see it used in shipping & receiving areas, in assembly operations, or as a transitional piece between workstations and powered conveyor lines. You can even slap casters on it for a conveyor that can be rolled in & out of use areas. We even plug it into gravity flow racks to create heavier-duty, FIFO flow storage.

For such a simple piece of conveying equipment — in fact the simplest — errors can and do crop up when it’s ordered incorrectly.

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Video: Vertical Lifts increase efficiency, cut costs, increase safety at submarine manufacturing facility

February 12, 2009

This video is a short few minutes, and features vertical reciprocating conveyors implemented by Cisco-Eagle at defense contractor Electric Boat, Inc. The company manufactures submarines at its Groton, CT facility.

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RMI Announces R-Mark for Welded Wire Rack Decking

February 11, 2009

pallet rack with wire decking

The Material Handling Industry of America recently announced that the RMI (Rack Manufacturers Institute) has certified several manufacturers of wire rack decking “R-Mark” compliant, meaning that these companies have conformed to the Institute’s testing and utilization standards. The industry developed the latest and most comprehensive consensus documents ANSI MH16.1 – 2008 – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks and MH26.2 – 2007  – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Welded Wire Rack Decking. Members of RMI voluntarily choose to conform to ANSI MH16.1 – 2008 and MH26.2 – 2007 and any successor document(s).

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Posted in Industrial Shelving, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ergonomic Considerations for Designing Conveyor Workstations

February 6, 2009

conveyor workstation considerations

Designing your conveyors and workstations to work together gives you significant safety and efficiency advantages. Using conveyors is a good way to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injury in tasks or procedures that involve manual handling because conveyors reduce the need for repetitive lifting and carrying, but implementing conveyor into workstations requires some basic understanding of how to prevent stress. As a bonus, well-implemented conveyor workstations also boost productivity.

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Optimizing Your Distribution or Manufacturing Operation During Slow Economic Times

January 21, 2009

warehouse storage

It isn’t news that the U.S. has been in a recession for most of the last year. It also isn’t news that you can utilize certain equipment and process improvements to upgrade at lower costs, and even return your investment more quickly in an environment like this one. Here are some ideas.

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