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Steel shortages are coming; here’s how to avoid being impacted

February 22, 2008

Are you ready for 2004 all over again? the roller coaster ride of rising steel prices and surcharges may be on its way back.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, steel prices are rising amid tightened supplies and robust overseas demand. For industrial and warehousing operators (and for material handling companies like us) the implications are obvious: prices are going to increase and they are going to be volatile in 2008. According to the Journal, “The worst-case scenario could be a repeat of 2004, when manufacturers of many products, from automobiles to washing machines, faced severe steel shortages and record-high prices.” The price of hot-rolled steel has increased about 6% in the past two weeks. There is about a 3-month supply of steel remaining, and shortages are predicted.

The takeaway: if you’re considering a large capital project like a conveyor or rack system that utilizes lots of steel, the time to pull the trigger is probably now, not later, to avoid a large hit on escalating steel prices.

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Economic stimulus makes this a good time to implement facility upgrades

February 20, 2008

tax incentives for businessThe big news out of Washington the last couple of months has been on the tax rebate part of economic stimulus. What may have more impact on the economy, and will certainly have more impact on people in the warehousing or manufacturing business, are the business tax breaks that quietly came along with it. We’ll break them down into two primary areas…

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Hytrol Conveyors: $100,000,000 in sales

February 13, 2008

Cisco-Eagle and Hytrol Conveyor Company recently celebrated our partnership at CEI’s Dallas, Texas facility. Hytrol CEO Greg Goodner, Bill Hawthorne, Matt Farris, and Frank Nichols came to Dallas to present a plaque honoring Cisco-Eagle’s placement as one of the company’s top conveyor distribution partners in 2007. Cisco-Eagle typically finishes among Hytrol’s top 3 distributor/integrators, and recently passed $100 million in total purchases from Hytrol.

Since the gathering was a day before Goodner’s birthday, we honored him with a cake and happy birthday serenade.

PHOTOS: Greg Goodner | The Presentation

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Choosing the right storage methods to secure jobsite tools

February 6, 2008

wire storage lockerThe National Crime Insurance Bureau estimates that over $1 billion of construction tools and equipment is stolen every year. Of course, if you’ve ever run a construction or renovation site, a large maintenance concern, a tool crib, or other industrial job site where plenty of valuable tools are there for the taking, that won’t surprise you in the slightest.

Everyone from Airline maintenance mechanics to assembly and maintenance techs face the problem. The loss of equipment & tools, the productivity dumps, and the climate of dishonesty they create are all drains on efficiency and profitability for just about every commercial operation. we’ve always said that half the security battle is in the storage methods; security begins with the way things are stored. It cannot be an afterthought…

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Data Center Security is much more than digital

January 30, 2008

data center wire security partitions

In 2006, Information Technology Magazine called the IT industry out, saying that physical security was the most overlooked aspect of technology security. I suspect little has changed since then, but found Sarah Scalet’s recent article in CSO Magazine instructive. Protecting data is not just a job for ­technologists. It also takes physical security, an often-overlooked element in the information technology world…

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Cross Docking: What are the facility layout considerations?

January 25, 2008

This is the third in a series of articles on cross docking

Cross dock facility rendering

If you started from scratch, many might simply build a cross dock facility with a much shallower depth than most warehouses. A depth of a hundred feet or so, with incoming product on one side that can be easily moved a short distance and loaded on the other side to an outbound truck. Most of us however, must deal with an existing facility, many times a large square box which is not generally the preferred layout. However, as long as the existing facility has a sufficient quantity of dock doors, yard space, and an adequate footprint, you may be fine.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Cross Docking. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Cross Docking: Is it Right For Me?
  2. Am I Wasting Time: is Cross-Docking a Viable Consideration for my Company?
  3. Cross Docking: What are the facility layout considerations?
  4. Cross Docking: A retailer improves supply chain

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Cisco-Eagle Conveyor service technicians win FedEx Awards of Excellence

January 21, 2008

FedEx awards Cisco-Eagle with Awards of Excellence

Cisco-Eagle’s Houston, Texas Field Operations team was recently honored by FedEx for its exceptional level of performance and use of quality management tools.

Our guys are always out there doing things for customers at difficult times, in crunch time, and on time. They make things work and keep them working, so it wasn’t any surprise for customers to be happy with them. Our Houston and Dallas field Operations group received FedEx Ground’s GCST Region Certificates of Excellence on January 9.

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Free download: “10 Ways to use Material Handling to Increase Security”

January 17, 2008

material handling and security brochure

We have uploaded the (free!) PDF of our latest paper, “10 Ways to use Material Handling to Increase Security.” It’s a quick, 4-page read with an additional page on identification systems that can help you quickly sort out the nature of what is being conveyed for a higher level of security and efficiency. It’s free, printable, and worth your time. You might ask why a material handling company is concerned with security. I might ask why one wouldn’t be concerned with security. Sure, Cisco-Eagle doesn’t sell cameras or alarm systems. We don’t consult on personnel or security systems, but what we do is inseparable from  security, because the way you store and handle valuable items is impossible to separate from the way you secure them…

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Rack Manufacturers Institute Releases 2007 Wire Decking Standards

January 9, 2008

wire decking for pallet racks

Wire decking is ubiquitous with selective pallet rack–it’s perhaps the most broadly-specified selective rack accessory. People use it to when they want pallet support with greater structural strength than other materials, when they want to load boxes or other non-palletized load onto racks, when they want to handle loads that aren’t deep enough to sit on uprights, and when they want to eliminate dust and debris inherent with solid decking materials…

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Getting lean (but not mean) in your warehouse operation

December 30, 2007

cover for lean warehousing book

Sure, we’ve heard all the talk of lean manufacturing, but what about lean warehousing? I’ve been in facilities that have straightened production lines in pursuit of lean principles, and those lines included storage factors and materials handling, but I’ve never seen it specifically done in a distribution operation. Many warehousing operations have probably applied aspects of lean in the warehousing process, but how many have, from top to bottom, implemented a lean warehousing program?

The original concept of lean was designed for mass production of identical or similar items, so a straight conversion to warehousing, where volumes aren’t massive or standardized, isn’t a given. You can’t apply the science of lean exactly the same way, but you can definitely apply it.

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