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

2011 Write-Off for Equipment Purchases: More Lucrative than 2010

February 16, 2011

currency - tax law changesRemember the tax compromise that President Obama signed the law on December 17, 2010? Most of what you saw in the news focused on reinstating and extending tax breaks for individuals, but that isn’t the entire story. Largely unreported was the fact that economic stimulus provisions for businesses were part of the deal. In fact, the deal improved the 2010 incentives for capital equipment buyers. This was intended to spur $500 billion in new capital expenditures this year.

What does it mean to you?

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5 Ways to Avoid Costly Conveyor Breakdowns

December 17, 2010

:Power roller conveyor

Conveyors are exceptional in their productivity enhancement for manufacturing and distribution operations, but they need attention – and not just from your maintenance group. Everyone involved with them should be aware of the safety and performance issues involved. Here are five practices for happy conveying…

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Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas

December 3, 2010

pallet rack rows

Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
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The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 – and How it May Help You

November 17, 2010

On Sept. 27, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act, the most significant piece of small business legislation in over a decade. The new law will provide critical resources to help small businesses continue to drive economic recovery and create jobs. The new law extends the successful SBA enhanced loan provisions while offering billions more in lending support, tax cuts, and other opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Among the most pertinent items for capital goods purchasers:

  • The law expanded the number of small businesses eligible for SBA loans by increasing the alternate size standard to those with less than $15 million in net worth and $5 million in average net income.
  • The New Law Provides $12 Billion in Tax Relief, including 8 tax cuts, including:

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A Quick Guide to Reducing Warehouse Costs

September 29, 2010

warehouse distribution center

Over at the Operations & Fulfillment site, Curt Barry has written a brief, informative piece on reducing warehouse costs. In particular during a difficult economic climate, cost reduction is at the top of mind for distribution operations.

Here are some of the quick tips from that piece…

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Conveyor systems: Total Cost of Ownership

September 28, 2010

conveyor system

Conveyors, like any capital investment have multiple costs. The amount on your invoice is hardly the last time you’ll pay for that conveyor. If a conveyor is correctly specified and designed for future use, significant cost savings can be realized.

The three costs a conveyor system carries:

  • Initial costs – the easiest to understand and quantify. This is the cost of equipment, installation, and controls.
  • Operational costs – electrical usage  & pneumatics usage
  • Maintenance costs – Spare parts, replacement parts, & labor costs

All of these costs are spread over the conveyor’s useful life, so a formula that might best express what your conveyor will cost is: TCO (total cost of ownership) = IC (initial cost) + OC (operational costs) + MC (maintenance costs)/ useful life of the system.

Higher initial costs may be recouped in lower maintenance and operational costs over time if the right decisions are made when the equipment is specified and ordered. The initial cost savings can be eaten up by higher operating and maintenance costs, but neither of those is as expensive as a system that cannot do the job it was deployed to do. Long term costs can easily outstrip the initial costs. What are the real, long term costs and what can you do to control them?

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Pickers, Packers, and Conveyor Reliability

August 13, 2010

Do your line employees help extend the life of your conveyors? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s probably “no.”

conveyor belt systems

Employees are the first line of defense when it comes to minimizing maintenance problems, according to Cliff Holste at Supply Chain Digest. Are you adequately preparing them to fulfill that role? Are they trained, equipped, and encouraged to help you prevent issues with conveyors and other equipment? Past the jump, a couple of ways to help your line workers become more aware of ways to keep your systems running…

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Section 179 Enhanced Limits Extended for 2010 tax year

May 25, 2010

This is great news for small business. How great?

All businesses that purchase or finance less than $800,000 in business equipment should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction. To qualify for the Section 179 Deduction, the equipment purchased must be placed into service between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. The list of qualifying equipment includes machines purchased for business use, vehicles, computers, and property attached to your building that isn’t part of the structure (essentially, most material handling equipment). For more information, check out the Section 179 website – it has lists of qualifying companies and an online calculator that helps you figure out your position. As always, see a tax professional to ensure your company and purchase qualify.

Please Note – The HIRE Act does not extend the 50% bonus depreciation that was available in the 2009 tax year.  We’ll let you know if there is movement toward extending that credit.

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Button Control Vertical Carousels Application Guide & Videos

May 17, 2010

button controlled vertical carousels

(Videos after the jump)

Vertical Carousels have always been one of the most efficient ways to improve order picking productivity while saving floor space, but they have always been an expensive proposition. Automated carousel systems have their place, and can provide a high return on investment in the right application, but there are lower-volume applications, or specialized operations where a manually controlled vertical carousel may offer the productivity enhancing & space-saving advantages without the higher cost of automation. These carousels are good for operations where it is desirable to minimize forklifts &  ladders usage for a more ergonomic functionality.

So, when is the right time to use a manually controlled system?

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Carts vs. Conveyors in Product Transport Operations

May 10, 2010

conveyors vs. carts for transport

When you are moving items such as cartons, bins, or components through a facility, several methods are available. Most of the time the choice is between non-powered carts & trucks or conveyors, whether power or gravity. (If you’re moving pallets, there are other methods and issues). Generally, conveyors deliver a less manual, safer operation with added efficiency across the board. Products are moved faster and fewer employees are required to accomplish the same tasks. Conveyors minimize fatigue and reduce potential manual lifting injuries. This improved handling has the potential to reduce worker compensation claims and expenses

But when do you make the leap from a manual, cart-driven system to a conveyor transport system?

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