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

Upcoming warehousing & logistics seminars

July 29, 2008

Just a quick look at the continuing education opportunities that are available to you over the next few months. None of them are endorsed here, but we are passing along links for anyone who might find the topics of interest. It can be a very mixed bag, but there are times that just one point you carry out of an educational seminar can more than pay for the whole thing…

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The Forest for the Trees – Does Your Operation Need a Review?

July 23, 2008

 

order fulfillment operation

Warehousing is tough. Manufacturing is tough. Order fulfillment is tougher; the longer the operation runs the more difficult it can get.

You deal with constant disruptions , and the system you carefully designed a few years ago may not be working as well today, after changes in your business climate, personnel changes, SKU alterations, new lines, changing storage requirements, corporate policy changes, or issues with key suppliers or customers. These things happen, and at some point, all or most of them will occur in every operation. If a series of small changes have added up to big headaches, what can you do?

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Mobile weighing: getting it right means being able to weigh and count “on the spot”

July 11, 2008

Mobile weighing systems

In dynamic distribution environments, accurate, fast weighing, counting, and dimensioning systems are more important than ever. This is particularly true in 3PL’s and other operations where needs often change. Getting it right, and getting it quickly has become increasingly more important. One way is to utilize the newer mobile weighing systems on the market today.

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Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues

June 30, 2008

lifting from the “golden zone”As interest continues to grow in automated palletizing, let’s take a brief look at a few of the issues surrounding these applications.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be providing a handful of blog postings relative to palletizers. We will begin with what is driving the growth in the use of these products, then a look at basic systems, cost estimates, what you can expect from a properly applied palletizer system, and then share specifics from a couple of actual implementations in distribution centers.If you are experienced in palletizer systems, you will likely be familiar with much of what is covered here. If you are new to palletizing, or considering your first system, hopefully this information will help you understand what the issues are and how you can navigate them.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Palletizers. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues
  2. Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Palletizers, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

Carton flow rack system for order picking

Walk into any order fulfillment operation, and you will 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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Modular storage: when to use cabinets, when to use drawer inserts for industrial shelving

June 4, 2008

modular drawer - compartmental industrial drawersSomething we often recommend to save space for our clients is modular drawer storage — for certain operations, in particular those with components, assorted small parts, hardware, or even tool storage, we’re talking about recouping 50% -70% of floor space. Once people have ’em, they love ’em.

But there is more than one way to skin that cat. You can configure different kinds of cabinets to do different jobs. There are hundreds of possible combinations of drawer styles and sizes. Another wrinkle is what happens when you can merge the drawers with steel shelving. It can be new, it can be some you are already using. It begs the question: when is it better to have a cabinet, and when is it better to use shelving and compartmentalized drawer inserts?

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4 Practical Tips to Fight Summer Heat in the Warehouse

May 28, 2008

Manufacturing_Facility

There are many issues of productivity and safety that are stressed as the heat rises. As temperatures start to rise, it gets particularly hot in industrial facilities, warehouses, shops, and distribution centers where air conditioning isn’t always present, extremely costly, or very effective. Experts say that employee productivity increases when ambient temperatures are comfortable and plummets when they aren’t. Error rates climb and safety is compromised as workers fight through hot, sweaty conditions. Here are some ways you can go about combating the rigors of summer.

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What Type of Industrial Shelving Would Work Best for You?

April 10, 2008

 

selecting industrial shelving

While there are dozens and dozens of shelving manufacturers and even more variations of trade names for them, there are really just three basic kinds of industrial shelving manufactured and broadly used — Rivet-Type, Steel Clip, and Wire. Of course, there are more variations of these shelving types than you can imagine, but most shelving boils down to these kinds. You can also consider bulk rack as “shelving”, but we have found that heavy duty rivet shelving often fulfills the roles it has typically filled.

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Study: RFID improves inventory accuracy

March 19, 2008

RFID Center test conveyor loop

A quick note: Cisco-Eagle is a sponsor of the University of Arkansas RFID Research center. We’ve been involved with the center since its 2005 inception. I’ve visited the center a number of times, and have seen the innovative work that’s being done.

The center continues to excel with this study on the effect of RFID technology on inventory accuracy.

The study confirms that RFID can have a significant positive effect on retail inventory accuracy. For players like Wal-Mart, this means millions of dollars in savings. A preliminary analysis demonstrated that an automated, RFID-enabled inventory system improved accuracy by about 13% in test stores compared to control stores.

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Basics: Rivet Shelving and Heavy-Capacity Applications

February 28, 2008

Riveteer Long Span ShelvingIt’s safe to say that there is shelving of some kind in almost every warehousing or other industrial operation, offices, and most commercial facilities. Even a sophisticated distribution center outfitted with AS/RS usually has fallback storage in the form of rack or shelving. For those applications that require a lot of heavy-duty shelving, though, issues of capacity come to the forefront.

A few years back, we had a customer who asked us to quote a good amount of rivet shelving (you might call it particle board, boltless, or by a brand like RiveTier or Penco’s Rivet Rite). It was a good sized project and that customer ended up buying it used from another company. He was happy with it right up until it collapsed and dumped hundreds of bins of aerospace components to the floor. The problem? He was storing something very heavy on either a shelf or on a post that couldn’t handle it. Once one of the shelves buckled, it set off a chain reaction that was kind of like dominoes and a whole lot of shelves went down. The components were similar looking, except for sizes, and it was pretty much a total loss.

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