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

New Videos: Spiral Conveyors

September 15, 2015
spiral conveyor applications

A video overview of vertical conveying solutions

An excellent way to move products vertically in a distribution environment is through spiral conveyors. You can move materials between levels (pick modules, mezzanines, multi-story buildings) using several methods, but when it comes to carton or tote loads that are so common in order picking applications, the choice tends to be between spiral conveyors, incline conveyors, and package handling lifts.

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Innovations in High Density Storage

June 13, 2014

SpeedCell Dynamic High Density Storage
Ever find yourself wondering how you can get more out of your pallet rack? Do you have goods that take up very little space, but your pick operations don’t call for entire pallets full of the product? Then you might need to look at ways to achieve more density in your storage, and we’ve recently found a gem of a product that can help you out. It’s called Dynamic High Density Storage and it’s made by SpeedCell.

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Top 12 Distribution Center Metrics

June 29, 2013

Busy distribution operationAs it has every year for the last decade, DCVelocity Magazine has surveyed its readers and members of WERC to  find what industry professionals believe are the top metrics for a successful operation. This is instructive for most operations, and worth taking a look.  The full survey can be found here.

The top 12 metrics, and (category)

  1. On time shipments (to customers)
  2. Internal order cycle time (customer)
  3. Dock-to-stock cycle time, in hours (inbound operation)
  4. Total cycle time (customer)
  5. Order picking accuracy (quality)
  6. Lines picked and shipped per hour (outbound operations)
  7. Lines received and put away per hour (inbound operations)
  8. Percentage of supplier orders received damage free (inbound operations)
  9. Average warehouse capacity used (capacity)
  10. Order fill rate (outbound operations)
  11. Percentage of supplier orders received with correct documentation (inbound operations)
  12. Peak warehouse capacity used (Capacity)

Not everything on this list necessarily applies to every operation, but they are all worth some reflection. It’s worthwhile to have the questions posed, as we all fall victim to the “forest and trees” syndrome. 

Related: How to benchmark your warehouse operation

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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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Improve order picking processes without automation

November 20, 2009

Cliff Holste at Supply Chain Digest (opens in a new window) has a good piece on ways to improve picking productivity.

Distribution centers will benefit from emerging automated case picking technologies, but those don’t fit for every operation, at every level. They’re also expensive upgrades, so your ROI has to be considered as well.

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How to quadruple the number of cases presented to pickers in your flow rack system

December 26, 2008

case flow racking in a distribution centerColumn flow racking is an innovation designed to present vertical columns of cartons to pickers. It works well for light cartons where flow storage and order picking are desired. You can stack cartons in each lane, allowing for more pick faces in the same space.

Although this system isn’t right for every application, it can provide a large number of pick faces for many types of case-picked product in the same space as regular flow racking.

See Column Flow Racking for more details and photos.

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Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

picking totes from flow rackWalk into any order fulfillment operation, and you’re probably going to see gravity flow rack.

The reason is obvious–it’s one of the best ways to pick orders utilizing first-in, first-out principles. It used to be that there was one kind of the stuff, the plastic-wheel tracks, but these days the choices are more diverse than ever. For the most part, these flow rack types act the same; they decline toward the picker and boxes or totes or even larger components flow toward him. They’re restocked from the rear and picked from the front onto a takeaway conveyor line, a cart, workstation, or another step in the process.

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