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Demonstrating the Value of Warehouse Operations

April 12, 2016

Executive in the warehouse

You know that your warehouse is critically important to being able to satisfy customers. You know how warehousing mistakes can impact your company’s bottom line, and how excellent warehousing can boost it. You know that a lack of resources can cripple a thriving storage or distribution operation. You also know that there are people in some organizations who don’t understand this.

Communicating the warehouse’s value is almost as important as establishing it.

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How Conveyors Improve Lean Operations

November 12, 2015

lean-manufacturing

In Lean Manufacturing, less is more.

A Lean operation’s ultimate goal is to eliminate waste in a system, which it achieves by creating flexibility and disposing of overproduction. Lean environments sometimes shy away from using powered conveyors in their operations, but when correctly applied, automation propels Lean Manufacturing goals—not hinders them. It’s the “secret sauce” of excellent lean manufacturing and warehousing operations.

In a true Lean environment, the customer is paramount. In other words, you need to consider what the customer wants to pay for at every point in your production. The automated solutions of today can help your Lean Manufacturing operation in three significant ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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Warehousing Optimization: Standards, Data and Time

July 28, 2015

warehouse operations

When it comes to warehousing operations, there are many ways to approach a continuous improvement project. You can automate, you can reorganize. You can employ a consultant. Three of the constant factors are time, standards, and data. Here are some insights on each of these important areas:

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Tactics to Reduce Small Parts Picking Errors

December 3, 2013

small parts picking line with Unex carton flow racking

Small parts are more difficult to count, measure and handle. They tend to cause more errors than case picking or larger component orders. If you are having errors, you should try to define the causes — and the suspects abound. Can you find out what’s causing the errors? Once you do, what happens next? Here are some common causes and solutions to this issue.

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For Warehousing & Distribution, It’s a Battle for Time

September 21, 2013

stopwatch for work operations

One of America’s groundbreaking marketers, John Wanamaker, once famously said “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Those who run warehouses, factories and other industrial facilities are hopefully not quite as in the dark about our expenses as Wanamaker was when it came to his ad budget, but there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to understanding hidden costs and fruitful expenditures.

For most of us, the coin of the warehouse is time and how it is expended.

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Excess Walking Makes “Zombies” of Order Pickers

July 10, 2013

zombie order picker

Studies indicate that order pickers spend too much time walking – according to many studies, distribution center employees routinely spend more than  half their day walking, not picking orders, packing orders, or replenishing stock. They’re going from point to point, burning man hours getting where they need to be, not working. And that’s the average — for really poorly designed operations, it’s worse.

As they tire, workers pick slower, pick less accurately, and work more dangerously — almost a zombie like situation! Every bad thing that can happen in a warehouse operation is amplified, the more time employees spend walking.  

Check out our most recent Info-graphic, “Walking is the Walking Death of Order Picking Productivity”  for more information on ways you can combat this issue. 

More information:

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How to Implement the 5S Approach in Workcells & Workstations

January 4, 2012

workstation with 5S implementation

Based on 5 Japanese words that begin with ‘S’, the 5S Philosophy hones in on effective work place organization and standardized work procedures. When correctly implemented, it reduces waste, increases efficiency, and overall work quality. You’ll also have a safer, more effective operation and employees who are more checked in than they were before. It simplifies work flow and helps you find inefficiency.  You may see things like empty flow racks, needless processes, over stocking, redundant operations,  looming maintenance problems, and more.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Industrial Shelving, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| 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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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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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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