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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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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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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 www.recovery.gov.

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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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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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Cisco-Eagle website now calculates shipping costs

January 17, 2009
Shipping by motor freight

Shipping by motor freight

It’s common for websites that ship products via parcel services to calculate shipping costs, making it easy for buyers to learn total costs before ordering. Very few sites can calculate LTL or motor freight shipments for heavy, bulky equipment like industrial shelving, wire security partitions, warehouse racks, or conveyors.

That changes recently, as www.cisco-eagle.com can now provide instant shipping costs.

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Cisco-Eagle to present at North Texas WERCouncil End of Year “Celebration and Education”

November 12, 2008

Cargill Distribution in Friona, TexasIf you’re in the North Texas area or can easily make the trip, I highly recommend that you attend the North Texas Warehousing Education and Resource Council  “Celebration and Education” seminar on December 10, 2008 in Dallas at the Marriott DFW Airport North.  It’s an excellent day of networking, education and fun. Cisco-Eagle’s Donald Prater is presenting at this session, on the topic “Cargill Excel Beef Case Study – Taking Order Fulfillment to the Next Level.” Donald has implemented multiple facilities for Excel over the years and has keen insights on how to best improve the operations at these kinds of fast-paced, complex operations that you can apply to an operation of almost any kind.

The conference costs $30.

See  our case study on Excel’s innovative order fulfillment project.

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New testing methods deployed at University of Arkansas RFID research center

October 30, 2008

rfid-conveyor.jpgDmitriy Nesterkin, a graduate student employee of the University of Arkanas RFID Research Center, has recently developed a new test data management system for use in the Lab. His software application will allow test data to be stored and analyzed from within one system. In recent weeks, the RFID Research Center has also added two Masters of Information Systems (MIS) students to their staff. These two students have successfully extended a software application that was written by former student employee, Jarrod Bourlon. This application will now be able to handle new inputs and outputs. (Note: Cisco-Eagle is a strategic sponsor of the RFID center)

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