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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 »

What’s it Cost to Run a Warehouse in Your City?

January 19, 2011

warehousing operationsThe Boyd Company has released a useful document on the comparative costs of operating a warehouse or distribution center around the United States, “Comparative Distribution Warehousing Industry Operating Costs”. It takes multiple factors into account and provides an annual operating cost for many cities and regions. The report bases these costs on a hypothetical 175,000 square foot facility with 75 nonexempt workers. This warehouse would ship over-the-road to a national U.S. market.

The factors taken into consideration include:

  • Total annual labor costs
  • Electric power costs
  • Natural gas power costs
  • Amortization costs
  • Property and sales taxes
  • Shipping costs

Some markets of interest and their annual operating costs:

  • San Jose, CA (most expensive): $12,064,961
  • Sioux Falls, SD (least expensive): $7,417,487
  • Chicago, IL $10,351,816
  • St. Louis, MO: $8,808,609
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX $8,430,605
  • Oklahoma City, OK $8,119,512
  • Tulsa, OK $8,089,925

Obviously these numbers won’t be an exact fit for every operation, but they can give you a good idea of costs in a given city or state.

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Manufacturing & Distribution Professionals Pressured to “Deliver More Value”

November 8, 2010

distribution center conveyor system

The Integrated Systems and Controls (ISC) Council of Material Handling Industry of America has released a new report titled An Evaluation of Operational Performance in Warehousing, Distribution and Manufacturing., and it has some interesting information for those who operate warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing, and commercial operations.

The key thing? You’re still being asked to squeeze more value from your operation – and you need to be able to do it with fewer resources.

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

Lean Logistics Summit Kicks Off in June

June 2, 2010

The Lean Logistics Summit kicks of on June 22 in Cincinnati. The Summit will gather the world’s leading authorities on the subject of lean logistics. Authors, researchers, and company representatives actually on their own lean logistics journey will share their insights. Learn from them and learn from your peers as you network with like-minded professionals. Sessions of interest to warehousing and distribution professionals might include “A Case Study in Lean Distribution,” by Sarah Giffin, Sr. Operations Improvement Manager of CEVA Logistics on 6/22. Also, check out “Implementing Lean Inside the Logistics Facility” later that day. The summit costs $995, but use the code “leannation” for a 25% discount.

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Did Wood Pallets Cause the Tylenol Recall?

February 11, 2010

wood pallets

According to DC Velocity, the answer may be yes.

The maker of several over-the-counter drugs, including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, announced a broad-based recall of these and other drugs after receiving complaints of an “unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like” odor. Johnson & Johnson received what the company described as a “small” number of complaints of issues including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

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

WERC Sets 2010 Annual Conference

January 26, 2010

WERC Conference logo

WERC (Warehousing Education and Research Council) has announced its 2010 Annual conference, geared for the needs of warehouse and distribution management. The conference is set for May 16-19, 2010. The WERC conference offers on a strong educational program for warehousing/distribution professionals from long-time to just-starting-out. Practitioners, subject matter experts, industry suppliers and academics freely share their experience and ideas. You’ll walk away with new insights on the best ways to optimize resources, maximize productivity and optimize performance. For more information or registration details, visit the official WERC site.

Posted in Automation, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Sustainability| No Comments »

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.”

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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 »