A Guide to Workstation Reach Zones

March 23, 2021

assembly line with integrated conveyors and workstations.

You should always analyze the economy of movement for repetitive tasks like assembly, packing, picking and repair. Imagine reaching to the same shelf, for the same carton, to pull the same part. How many times a shift does someone make that reach? How many working days a year? How many years? Shaving time and effort off a simple repetitive motion can shave time off your process and improve ergonomics over the years.

To do that, look at how many times–and places–your people reach for things on a daily basis.

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Posted in Lean, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

It’s a Small (Warehousing) World

September 11, 2018

mini warehouse worker

A manager’s job is never done. There is always a cause to undertake or situation to help control. I should know, I was a warehouse manager for a day.

Why was my tenure so short? Well, it was because my “job” consisted of directing some employees with whom I shared a unique bond….my children. We were working in General Mills Lift, Load & Haul distribution center at the Scott Family Amazeum, which provided a fantastic showcase for them to see just what efforts and machinations go into getting each and every package out to its destination.

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Posted in Conveyor, Lean, Warehousing| No Comments »

Smarter Space in the E-Commerce Landscape

January 18, 2018

pick module in ecommerce warehouse

Online sales will account for 17% of all U.S. retail sales by 2022, up from a projected 12.7% in 2017. As you might imagine, warehouses are suffering from a major capacity crunch. Whereas previously warehouses were organized to handle large volumes of each product, E-commerce orders are characterized by a low quantity of many items or just a singular item. In an e-commerce oriented warehouse, huge quantities of SKUs exist, each needing their own specific storage slots.

Warehouse managers know that inventory levels can fluctuate anytime within a sales season, especially during a holiday when inventory levels are typically at their peak, often double or triple normal levels. Plus, because of the Amazon-effect, consumers are demanding more products with faster and better service, putting additional strain on warehouse space. Because of this growth, many businesses are looking for additional space to distribute and store products, but warehouse real estate is hard to find.

What is a retailer to do? The answer for additional space can be found within the four walls of your current operation.

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Posted in E-Commerce, Lean, Mezzanines, Space Optimization & Planning| No Comments »

Tips for Tool Crib Security

February 2, 2017

tool crib security cage

In manufacturing, maintenance, and machine shop operations, tools, dies, and bits are among the most likely targets for pilferage. Tools fit the criteria for theft we discuss in our white paper, Reducing Warehouse & Dock Area Pilferage (PDF, 1.3MB, opens in a new tab): “items that are a combination of concealable, removable, available, valuable, or enjoyable are prime candidates for theft.” Items with a high perceived “value per ounce” are at risk. A $200 block that weighs 100 pounds is far less of a target than a $200 cutting tool.

Tools are in demand, easy to sell and expensive. Plus, many of the most expensive ones fit in a coat pocket, lunch box or tool box.

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Posted in Inventory Management, Lean, Manufacturing, Security| No Comments »

Lean 3PL Warehousing—How to Create a Perfect Flow

January 31, 2017

Lean 3PL warehouse
Creating a lean warehouse or DC is not something a 3PL can accomplish overnight, but it’s something that can improve your efficiency, flexibility and ability to take on new business without expanding into new facilities or massively revamping existing ones.

It takes vision, planning, strategy, tools, foresight, patience and intelligent tactics. When your warehouse is lean, it will be easier to hold, inventory, and pull the most important goods. This helps you eliminate errors, increase throughput, and satisfy customers more comprehensively.

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Posted in Lean, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Third Party Logistics, Warehousing| 3 Comments »

Modex Interview Series: Hytrol’s Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 25, 2016

shipping dock area

“The Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth” – that was the slogan for Modex 2016 – and this year’s event at Atlanta, Georgia did not disappoint. During the busy four-day conference, we were fortunate to get a few minutes with Boyce Bonham, Director of Integrated Systems and Controls at Hytrol, a leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced conveyor systems.

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Posted in Lean, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Demonstrating the Value of Warehouse Operations

April 12, 2016

Executive in the warehouse

You know that your warehouse is critically important to being able to satisfy customers. You know how warehousing mistakes can impact your company’s bottom line, and how excellent warehousing can boost it. You know that a lack of resources can cripple a thriving storage or distribution operation. You also know that there are people in some organizations who don’t understand this.

Communicating the warehouse’s value is almost as important as establishing it.

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Posted in Lean, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Crossovers and Work Platforms: The Advantages of Modular

March 1, 2016

Erectastep Modular Crossover

I recently attended training on a crossover and work platform product that continues to impress me for its flexibility and innovative engineering. Because of its modular design, it stands out from fabricated and manufactured products because it can morph and change as your needs change. There are times where a fixed, welded platform is fine, but it has hidden costs. Let’s examine those…

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Posted in Lean, Product Ideas, Space Optimization & Planning, Warehousing| No Comments »

5 Key Warehouse Performance Metrics for an Effective Operation

January 28, 2016

warehouse operations

Performance metrics are a universal way to measure a warehouse operation’s overall effectiveness, quality and productivity. In today’s fast-paced and competitive environment, setting benchmarks and goals for a company is essential, but it’s not enough to set lofty goals for the coming year in terms of revenue, profits or production. In the warehouse, success is the sum of all its parts. To reach overall production, quality, safety or service goals, an examination of each step is essential. Through this evaluation process of different performance metrics, managers can find actionable information and begin prioritizing problems within a warehousing or distribution operation.

We’ve previously discussed how key performance indicators (KPIs) demonstrate the value of warehouse functions. Now, let’s take a dive deeper into five specific performance metrics to consider implementing in the modern warehouse. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lean, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Warehousing| No Comments »

7 Ways Industrial Housekeeping Boosts Productivity & Safety

January 14, 2016

WarehouseRacking

Most people work less effectively, are less comfortable, and have poorer attitudes in a messy environment. For industrial facility operators, housekeeping can sometimes lag behind with busy days where people hardly have time to look up, much less deal with the clutter and byproducts of meeting shipping deadlines or production demands.

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