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

How to Reduce Wasted “Walking” Time in Distribution Operations

April 7, 2013

warehouse worker walking in an industrial plant

There isn’t much value in a worker walking across a facility; value is realized at work areas, not in transit between them. In many operations, order pickers can walk as many as 12 miles a day. This level of walking makes workers tired and more prone to error, injuries, and declines in productivity. While some degree of walking is unavoidable, much of this is simply commuting time to retrieve supplies, or inefficient design that makes the job harder and less efficient than it should be.

How can you reduce time walking, and increase the time people spend getting things done?

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Warehousing: Hidden Productivity Gremlins

January 31, 2013

box gremilin in a warehouse

Whether you’re operating a dedicated distribution center or the order fulfillment or stock warehouse of a manufacturing operation, most industrial facilities deal with storage and warehousing to some degree. In the not-so-distant past, warehousing was treated mostly as a cost center – a necessary evil that had to exist so that the more profitable parts of an enterprise could operate. Thankfully, more enlightened thought has prevailed recently.

Order fulfillment and storage are not just places you can save money – they can earn money. If the gremlins don’t get you.

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

Infographic: Safer Pallet Rack Operation

January 29, 2013

Pallet rack is typically safe and easily-maintained storage equipment, whether you are dealing with selective, pushback, drive-in, or other types of rack.  But if you load it wrong, if you don’t inspect and repair/replace damaged components, if you don’t understand your capacities, and if you don’t take steps to ensure your rack isn’t impacted by loading equipment, that safe rack can become dangerous and expensive.

We have created an infographic to help you navigate the most common mistakes people make dealing with pallet racks.  Feel free to share this graphic to any site or other media. It is the first of many infographic posters we’ll be offering to help people operate and maintain material handling equipment.

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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 »

Comparison: Modular vs. Tubular Steel Crossovers

November 29, 2012

Comparing crossover types

In many operations, things like conveyors or pipe runs or other machinery interrupt the flow of a work floor, and the obvious way to get around it is to erect a crossover. This is commonly done in larger scale conveyor systems with longer lines, but we also do them for other areas where going around the obstacle could take significant time, or where access is limited by other factors. The question is, what type of crossover best fits your needs?

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Posted in Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ways to Enhance Training to Protect Pedestrians from Forklifts

October 23, 2012

manager in a warehouse forklift area between rack aisles

According to OSHA, training is the key to forklift safety, and there is fundamental agreement on that. Training can and does make a serious dent in the high injury rates suffered due to industrial traffic. Training must happen, and it must be repeated. But that begs this question: Why has training failed to move the needle when it comes to serious forklift related injuries? The numbers seem to have stabilized at an average of 100 deaths per year, and have stayed consistently at that level for years.

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

What Does It Cost to Store a Pallet in Third-Party Storage

September 24, 2012

If you’re paying someone to store a pallet for you, what’s reasonable? Are you overpaying for convenience or location? It’s not easy to compare 3PL vs. 3PL, or even your own warehouse so you know for sure if you are getting value for your money. But there are some basic assumptions you can make to help you understand what you’re dealing with, the costs the 3PL may experience, and reasonable costs for your storage projects.

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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Warehousing| 2 Comments »

5 Sheet Metal Storage Alternatives for the Warehouse

September 18, 2012

sheet metal in a production facility

Above: how difficult is it access these sheets?

Sheet metal is one of the most difficult handling challenges out there. It’s simultaneously bulky, heavy, somewhat flexible, and prone to damage if handled incorrectly. It often has sharp edges and corners, making it dangerous to manually move and turn. At higher gauges or in bundles, it requires forklifts, cranes or scissor lifts for safe and effective handling. Even a thin sheet, if it’s 4 x 8, can be too much for a single worker to handle.

Yet, sheet metal is commonly used in manufacturing and fabrication, so finding better sheet metal storage and handling methods is key. What can you do to handle it better?

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving| 1 Comment »

Tips to Prevent and Reduce Pallet Rack Damage

September 14, 2012

damaged rack post

Pallet racks are frequently subject to abuse, and even the toughest rack will need some cautious handling, processes, guarding equipment, and other help to remain in service. Racks can be overloaded, hit by heavy forklifts, misloaded, and otherwise impacted. These are some tips to help you avoid the frustration, expense, and danger of rack damage.

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

Factors for Distribution Center Sustainability

July 18, 2012

distribution center conveyor system

At Modex 2012, Hytrol Conveyor’s Boyce Bonham sat down with DCVelocity to discuss distribution center sustainability. We’ve linked the video below, which is worth a few moments of your time. How do initiatives to work greener, smarter, and better affect warehouses and distribution operations? Not surprisingly, these initiatives often save money, at least over the long term.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »