Material Handling Experts


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

Managing an Effective Warehouse Operation

September 18, 2009

This is a plug for WERC’s upcoming seminar, “Achieving Warehouse Success: Your Comprehensive Guide to Managing an Effective Operation.” Warehousing requires expertise on 3 basic resources — space, equipment, and labor. Understanding how to integrate them for maximum effectiveness can transform any warehousing operation. The seminar is 3 days (October 14-16 in Long Beach, California). According to WERC, it will cover the following aspects of warehousing:

  • How to identify the precise problems that are most troublesome in your warehouse
  • Which operations require your attention and how to prioritize work demands
  • Why leadership and communication skills are important to managing people, boosting morale, and solving labor/management conflicts
  • How to lay out your warehouse for good space utilization, material handling compatibility, and optimum flow efficiency
  • Which equipment and technology best suit your operations for storage and handling as well as order picking and order selection

WERC’s site says that it is good for Newly appointed supervisors and managers of warehouse, stockroom, storeroom and distribution centers, Supervisors and managers with little or no formal training, Plant storeroom, inventory, and materials managers, Stores, receiving, and shipping supervisors, or others who are interested in understanding the warehouse. It’s $975 for members, and $1,100 for nonmembers. Check it out at the WERC site if you are interested.

Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, News, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

White Paper: Conveyor Systems Implementation Considerations

July 20, 2009

conveyor white paper logo

We’ve been posting a series of brief conveyor white papers. There are 5 now, with many others in development for future publication. You’ll always be able to download these PDF files from our site, and will be informed as there are new ones.  This paper, “Conveyor System Implementation Considerations” (PDF file; opens in a new window) focuses on implementation considerations.

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What is Material Handling?

July 20, 2009

In my mind, material handling can be boiled down to this statement Cisco-Eagle developed years ago:

“Material Handling is a set of solutions for the movement, storage, retrieval, control and protection of materials and products throughout their manufacture, distribution, consumption and disposal. We enable clients to get the right amount of the right material to the right place at the right time in the right sequence in the right position in the right condition for the right cost in a safe manner.”

Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

10 steps to supply chain sustainability

July 17, 2009

green warehouse conveyor

The Material Handling Industry of America has posted a video that may be helpful if you are starting the process of “greening” your supply chain.

Baby steps are important, especially at the plant level. For instance, in a recent Cisco-Eagle white paper (PDF), we point out the value of energy efficient conveyor motors. A thousand feet of conveyor outfitted with energy efficient motors could cut enough energy costs over five years to pay for 90% of the cost of the equipment. Also, besides its money savings and “green” profile, you are also saving on heat, which means the equipment may require less maintenance, and endure less wear and tear. It’s a win-win.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

Saving Space: Shelves vs. Modular Drawers vs. Flow Racking vs. Vertical Carousels

June 3, 2009

Vertical carousels and space savings

This is a good visual comparison of how much space is utilized by various storage methods. The vertical carousel provides the same amount of storage space as several rows of shelving or modular drawer storage. In this particular instance, the carousel saves over 1,400 square feet of floor space when compared to shelving. Of course, you know the cost differences are significant, but there are other factors in making a decision about these types of storage equipment.

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Posted in Automation, Industrial Shelving, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Plight of the Warehouse Manager

May 6, 2009

warehouse manager - distribution center management

With the advent of widespread e-commerce fulfillment, just-in-time principles, lean management, supply chain collaboration, globalization, the need for ever-faster response, and constant pressure to reduce expenses through headcount and shift reductions, today’s warehouse manager is being asked to do more than ever before.

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Posted in Automation, Cross Docking, Material Handling, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

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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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Cross Docking, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

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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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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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, News, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »