Material Handling Experts


Material Handling Tips & Info

April 2006 Material Handling Tips & Information Newsletter

Column Flow Racks presents vertical columns of cartons to order pickers, allowing more pick faces in the same area

Column flow racking is an innovation designed specifically 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. This differs from single pick per lane conventional gravity flow...

Seismic Zones and Pallet Rack Information

According to OSHA, rack failures happen for these reasons: (1) Poor storage rack design – the rack is inherently unsafe; (2) Incorrect installation and assembly; (3) Using the wrong material handling equipment to load and unload the storage system; (4) Operator error when using material handling equipment; and (5) Structural problems with the floors or walls of the storage area – supporting structures may be overloaded, floors may not be sufficiently level.

While seismic activity is not one of the primary causes, building racks to seismic specifications helps protect against some of these factors and is absolutely vital in high earthquake risk areas. Here's a breakdown of rack failure reasons and seismic code areas...

Teamwork scores big when assessing operational information

Cisco-Eagle salespeople are assigned to teams. Each team is made up of three or more people and is devoted to uncovering a customer’s real needs. The sales team partners with an application specialist or project manager to bring a full complement of talents to the project. To provide the best solution that will help our customer’s business grow, we have a list of things to evaluate when visiting a material handling project. We make sure all topics are covered, all questions are answered, and all solutions are uncovered...

Behold, The Batch Cart - from Multichannel Merchant Magazine

Batch picking is extremely effective when your pickers have to do a lot of walking in the distribution center. Any time you have a high concentration of SKUs over a larger area you want to use a batch-picking strategy because as much as 60% of the picker's time is spent in transit...

Lack of communications can be a recipe for injuries, productivity decline

In today's warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturing facility, it's increasingly likely that some or all of the workforce will speak English as a second language, or not at all. For plant managers, the challenge is not only keeping a workforce that doesn't speak the language productive, but also how to keep it safe...

Cisco-Eagle technician wins conveyor troubleshooting award

Cisco-Eagle technician Kenny England recently won the first place troubleshooting award in Hytrol Conveyor's Maintenance school, held in Jonesboro, Arkansas...

Choosing the right order fulfillment center

Many companies in the catalog and fulfillment business prefer to outsource the physical order fulfillment and concentrate on what they’re best at—marketing, sales, and customer service. Order fulfillment centers offer more or less the same services, but their methods and the cost of doing business can dramatically differ.

Here's what to look for:

Location: if your customer base is heavily regionalized, it’s a great idea to fulfill orders nearer to them to cut shipping costs and shorten delivery times. If your customer base is national, centralized distribution centers, or multiple shipping points are ideal.

Capacity & Size: Select a fulfillment service that can meet your daily order fulfillment needs. Do you have consistent orders each day or do your orders spike? If so, be sure to choose a fulfillment center that can handle the extra workload and still ship the orders within the agreed timeline.

Shipping Options: Most fulfillment centers offer a variety of shipping options. Make sure the fulfillment service you select offers all of the shipping options you currently offer your customers and the shipping options that you may want to offer in the future.

Turn-around Time: Each fulfillment warehouse has its own policy regarding order processing. For example some fulfillment centers will ship all orders that arrive before 1pm on the same business day. If you miss the 1pm deadline, the order is shipped the next business day. Make sure the turnaround times are acceptable for your business.

Error Rate: When considering potential fulfillment centers, ask about their error rate and process for improving it. Do they issue UPS call tags to pick up the incorrect item and pay to ship a replacement? Will they ship replacements faster rate to compensate the customer?

Costs: Each fulfillment center operates under a different payment schedule. Some use sliding scales and require contracts while others charge per order or per item with no contracts. You will also be charged a base fee to store your inventory at the warehouse and an additional fee per pallet or per item.