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

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 »

Ten Reasons to Automate your Operation

June 10, 2011

automated robotic palletizer

In the not-too-distant past, most companies that weren’t running immense distribution operations, who didn’t have multiple facilities, who didn’t run 24-hour shifts, didn’t even consider automation. Too expensive, they’d say. Too much risk. Too little upside if things go wrong.  All valid in context, if we were in 1998. But the reality is this: While most costs—personnel, land, energy— have increased, automation costs have remained steady or declined across the board. The reality today is that the four guys stacking pallets at the end of a line, even for a single shift, even at low wages, are more expensive than a well configured palletizing system.

Those costs aren’t going to do anything but escalate, either. Listed are ten ways automation has become more relevant, even to mid-size operations:

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Robotics, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Smart Labor Management Helps Cut Warehouse Costs

May 22, 2011

packing operations

Especially as the economic recovery continues, it’s important to control costs in your operation. What are some warehousing cost-cutting methods you can employ that don’t require extensive investment or re-tooling? Most of the costs of warehousing operations fall into the following categories:

  • People
  • Real Estate, Utilities & other Fixed Costs
  • Inventory
  • Technology

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

Mixed-Load Robotic Palletizing Application Video

May 10, 2011

In this video, a Fanuc robot is executing mixed-load palletizing of beer cases at a distribution center.

In this operation, differently-sized beer cases are conveyed to the robot to fulfill a specific order. Since the cases vary by width, length, and height, their dimensional information is sent to the robot by the WMS (warehouse management system). The robot utilizes mixed-load palletizing software to determine the best pattern to build a pallet with the available products, achieving high density and stack stability with rapid speed.

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

13 Best Practices for Warehouse Productivity

March 17, 2011

Improving a warehousing operation is a complex endeavor that can be approached from any number of angles.  Here are 13 common actions you can consider in any warehouse improvement effort:

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Supply Chain, Warehousing| 10 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 »

“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 »

Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Calculating Gauges and Capacity

December 7, 2010

Wire gauge is a crucial element in wire pallet rack deck design and is also one of the first places manufacturers look to when needing to cut costs, meaning it’s one of the first places you should look when comparing decking for your pallet rack project. Lower cost is great, but only if you’re getting the capacity and durability you need.

Just because two decks are the same size in no way makes them the same deck. That can be all right, so long as both can hold your load and last for the long term.

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