Vanishing Point – Finding Warehouse Workers In The New Normal

July 20, 2021

warehouse workers walking and evaluating facility

As we navigate through a vaccination-ramped up world, many potential workers that either had tough choices to make or were left behind are now in demand by virtually all industries. The labor pool has shrunk, and many companies are finding the acquiring of talent a massive headache. Those roles within a warehouse that would otherwise be much easier to fill are requiring effort and enticement never needed before to bring in potential employees.

Warehouse employment is at an all-time high, so how can you sell your facility as an interesting and exciting place to work at? We review some options.

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How to Design and Utilize Storage Buffers

April 20, 2021

Bulk storage buffer at a warehouse

Buffers can be found in most warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and they take many forms. You can build buffers into racks, floor space, conveyors or external storage areas like truck trailers. When you need to temporarily store materials before they enter putaway, shipment, kitting, processing, or another production process, what are some of the best design, equipment specification and usage practices?

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Posted in Automation, Pallet and Industrial Racks, Space Optimization & Planning, Warehousing| No Comments »

How to Make Packing More Efficient

April 6, 2021

Automated packing area for an ecommerce distribution center, pick-to-totes operation.

Above: in this automated e-commerce distribution center, picks are packed into cartons from totes on the conveyor line. Because conveyors deliver the totes directly to workers, and the work is executed at ergonomic heights, the process is fast and efficient.

Order fulfillment is only as fast as its slowest function, and packing–often the last stop before shipping–can be a bottleneck. We’ve analyzed many operations that underestimated the needs of the packing department from the start, while others realized over time that new requirements, new SKUs and order volumes that were fine at go-live eventually bogged the packing function. It’s not unusual for picking processes to react faster and better to these conditions than the packing area.

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Posted in Automation, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Third Party Logistics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Shoptalk: Vertical Conveyor Safety Gates and Enclosures

March 16, 2021

man using yellow gate on VRC loaded with boxes

Vertical reciprocating conveyors—or VRCs—make it easy to move materials between levels, such as onto a mezzanine or down to basement storage. As you might expect, this equipment involves enclosures and access features for optimum safety. In this installment of our Shoptalk series, employee-owner Christine Perry offers a quick look at these features.

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Posted in Automation, Lifts, Safety & Ergonomics, Shoptalk| No Comments »

Integrating Conveyors and Industrial Lifts

March 2, 2021

scissor lift for pallet handling in a conveyor line.
Above: scissor lift/rotator at the end of pallet conveyor line

Conveyors and scissor lifts are frequently integrated due to the fact that it’s such an efficient way to manipulate loads along a conveyor line. Loads can be lifted, raised or rotated on a lift table for a variety of activities. When you need to actively work on a conveyed item, it’s ideal. Here’s how to go about it.

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The “A” Word: How to Talk About Automation with Your Team

January 28, 2021

Maybe you’ve reached a point in your business where automation seems inevitable. You have to scale up to keep up, and you need new technology. We advise companies on this transition, and it can start with smaller changes than you might think. But if you haven’t broken the seal yet, you might be wondering: how do I discuss this with my employees?

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Putaway is Critical for Distribution Success

December 1, 2020

Putaway aisle in a distribution center, with flow storage and bulk storage accessibility.

Above: workers in a distribution center putaway aisle with flow and bulk storage accessibility. Picking aisles are left clear as the system is replenished. Photo credit: Unex Manufacturing.

Putaway, which is the methods and processes that occur between receiving inventory and that inventory resting in storage positions in a warehouse, may have more impact on the performance of order fulfillment or warehousing operation than most anything else.

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Half The World Away – Automated Storage and Social Distancing

November 17, 2020

ASRS system

In this new age of Covid-19, facilities all across the globe are working within ever-changing restrictions and prioritizing employee protection while keeping operations moving forward. Social distancing is a key component of this within any building, and those tasked with monitoring and implementing distancing within a workforce must create new ways to combat the spread. This challenge is tough to work within even the smallest of offices, let alone a large warehouse or distribution center. Reducing employee contact while maintaining thriving production is not easy, and requires continued vigilance and creativity.

When considering options for increased or maintained social distancing, utilizing an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) is a great option to help prepare your facility for the coming waves and for the automated future that lies on the horizon.

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Posted in Automation, Covid-19, Inventory Management, Organization| No Comments »

How Simulation Adds Value to Material Handling Systems Specification

November 3, 2020

screenshot from material handling automation program

As we’ve discussed automating anything as complex as a large scale material handling process has risks, but there are ways understand the outcome better in advance and reduce any risks. It’s always good to have more data, and simulation plays into that scenario by giving you a view of what key systems, technology and process will interact in your system, with your loads.

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Warehouse Automation Risks to Avoid

October 15, 2020

illustration of conveyor and robotic systems integration
Automation can work wonders. It reduces costs, increases throughput, curbs errors and increases safety. The costs of automation are declining while the effectiveness of computer, vision and scanning systems are improving. Automation helps you reduce repetitive actions — the kind that adds no value. The common perception is that automated facilities are dark, free of people and full of robots, but the reality is that automation comes in many forms, ranging from picking systems like pick-to-light to automated conveyors to goods-to-person systems and much more.

For all these benefits, you want to understand the potential problems with any automation project in advance so you can avoid them as you move forward.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, ROI, Warehousing| No Comments »

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