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Material Handling Tips & Info


September 2006 Material Handling Tips & Information Newsletter


Customized Pallet Rack Systems: Pick Modules Hold The Key to Expansion

Far from the static storage racks of yesterday, today’s solutions combine elements such as carton flow and pallet flow for first-in-first-out inventory rotation, pushback racks for stock replenishment of multiple pallet SKUs, narrow aisle selective racks for single pallet SKUs, multi-level pick modules for fast efficient order picking, free standing and rack supported mezzanines and much more to utilize every square inch of premium warehouse space as cost-effectively as possible.


Ergonomics 101 for Plant Expansion

"Around 60 percent of factory payroll and indirect labor is involved with materials handling"

A plant redesign involving layout and equipment locations can redouble productivity by streamlining employees' jobs and enlivening their attitudes. Materials handling, the physical requirements for adding equipment and growth projections, are vital components for successful facility expansion.


Modular Storage vs. Static Shelving: which works best for your application?

When trying to decide what method works best for your application, look first to what's being stored. If you're using lots of boxes and bins on shelving, aisle after aisle of it, then your storage area is a good candidate for modular drawer storage - either cabinets or drawer/shelf combinations. If most of what you store is open-shelf, the cost of modularization probably isn't going to be justifiable unless other facts (security, space availability, etc) come into play. Even if you're splitting the kinds of storage, some modularization is worthwhile if it consolidates the stored product into an easily-accessible, organized modular area while leaving the rest on open shelves.


Supply Chain Consortium provides online tools, information to members

A recent Supply Chain Consortium benchmarking and best practices survey of 100 top retail and related companies reveals some interesting facts about DC operations and configuration, as well as best practices. Key findings from its 2006 survey include:

  • 63% of all product storage, surprisingly, is still done with floor bulk and single-deep pallet rack.
  • 43% of retail operations have moved to highly automated operations, while only 14% remain highly manual.
  • There has been a 28% increase in imports over the last 3 years.
  • 46% of cross dock labeling is done by suppliers.
  • A warehouse management system makes the put-away storage location selection for 60% of all operations.
  • 55% of inbound orders are planned against advanced shipping notices.
  • Value-added services now account for 17% of total facility space utilization.
  • 60% of all operations have a sorter to support either picking or shipping.