Material Handling Tips & Info
January 2008 Material Handling Tips & Information Newsletter
This article is the first in a series of articles on the subject of cross docking by Cisco-Eagle's Chris Doyle
Most everyone is familiar with how those like Wal-Mart took the cross docking model, and essentially redefined supply chain efficiency. The results achieved are well-documented. For those of us involved with mid-size organizations, a compelling case can be made for considering cross dock principles in our distribution centers. If you are able to move material from receiving dock to shipping dock, and bypass storage, consider what you gain. Costs associated with holding inventory, protecting it, insuring it, picking it, counting it, and so forth.
Warehouse security and material handling work together to create security, efficiency
The way you store and handle inventory is critical to its security, especially in a warehousing or production operation. The more organized your storage systems are, the more secure your inventory, tools, parts, and equipment. The great news is that you can maximize inventory security while improving operational efficiency because material handling can make security and efficiency work-in-hand. Material handling and smart facility layout can't replace careful hiring and conventional security systems such as monitoring, locked doors, or guards, but it can make them all better.
We've created this quick-reading PDF download with common sense tips on ways to store valuable inventory so that it's more secure. It has common-sense tips on storage, plant layout, automation and accessibility you can implement to make your operation more secure at minimal cost for maximum gain. Security is often enhanced by controlling access, organizing storage, increasing accuracy, and creating visibility -- all things you can accomplish through material handling. It's also available in print, and if you want a hard copy, let me know.
We see a lot of structural mezzanines in our business in a range of facilities. They range from professionally manufactured to home-made, with quite a few fabricated by a local shop. It’s a good business for the fabrication shops (although maybe not so much for end-users, given the pitfalls), and if you go that route, you need to be sure your mezzanine fabricator is complying with OSHA & local safety regulations, particularly on guard railing, stairs and gates.
You also have to look at local building codes. If your fabricator doesn’t routinely work with mezzanines, this is something you’ll have to do on your own. It’s not something to dismiss lightly. Honestly the best policy is to look at established vendors like WilDeck if you don’t want to micro-manage the details of building permits, code compliance, and OSHA’s blessings.
This year, the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) has released the most current version of its standards for wire pallet rack deck, Mh36.2 - Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Welded Wire Rack Decking. The institute offers the standards in PDF format for a download. Here’s how the RMI’s approval process works: Manufacturers submit evidence of tests and sample load tables, including engineering calculations, to RMI according to standardized guidelines. Following that, RMI administers process submitting documents to two-independent registered PE’s selected randomly from a pre-approved pool. If tests show the equipment meets standards, the RMI awards an R-Mark license following approval by both independent engineers.
The big news out of Washington the last couple of months has been on the tax rebate part of economic stimulus. What may have more impact on the economy, and will certainly have more impact on people in the warehousing or manufacturing business, are the business tax breaks that quietly came along with it. We’ll break them down into two primary areas: (1) Expensing election for Small Business, and (2) Temporary bonus depreciation.
Either may apply to your business depending on what you're buying, how much it costs, and some other factors. More explanation is a click away...