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 »

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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Workstation Ergonomics: Eliminating Extreme Movements

June 18, 2020

An illustration of ergonomic reach zone areas on a work surface
With the massive worker compensation costs related to musculoskeletal disorders, finding ways to reduce the risks is imperative. In May, we discussed the impact of work positioning. This time, the focus on the effects of extreme movements and how to counteract the risks.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Ergonomics and Workstations. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. The Effect of Work Position on Picking, Assembly, Packing and Shipping
  2. Workstation Ergonomics: Eliminating Extreme Movements

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The Effect of Work Position on Picking, Assembly, Packing and Shipping

May 14, 2020

Lifting boxes in a warehouse

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are a common reported source of missed or restricted work in America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, WMSDs account for over 33% of all worker compensation costs.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Ergonomics and Workstations. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. The Effect of Work Position on Picking, Assembly, Packing and Shipping
  2. Workstation Ergonomics: Eliminating Extreme Movements

Posted in Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Can You Outrun Warehouse & Factory Safety Phantom?

October 31, 2018

the shape in the warehouse

You try to run away as fast as you can, aware of the scary apparition chasing you with each breath. You turn to look back, and stumble onto the ground. Paralyzed with fear, you watch as the shape moves closer and closer. Suddenly up close, you can see that there was no way you could escape, as safety issues could not be stopped.

Blumhouse horror movie? Not really. Warehouses can be dangerous places to work in. It is important to understand common warehouse dangers and hazards because they can cause injuries and in extreme cases death, haunting your warehouse for years to come. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average of 16 fatalities every year in the US warehousing and storage sector and a reported injury and illness rate of 5 out of every 100 warehouse and storage workers. With these ghastly statistics in mind, we review some of the most common warehouse safety bogeymen and offer tips and resources to help you avoid their terror.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Ergonomics and Adjustable Workstations: A Guide

May 25, 2017

Adjustable workstations make operations like packing, picking, assembly and inspection safer, more comfortable and more productive because they easily let operators work in the ergonomic “golden zone” suitable for their own needs – the same station can be used by someone 6’4″ as someone 5/2″ on multiple shifts, or if the load or work varies in height, like multiple sized boxes or various motors that may be different sizes. These workbenches are adjustable, usually by crank or by powered switch or pushbutton. What might suit you best?

That said, having to utilize a crank to adjust the height is inherently counter to the fundamentals of ergonomics, and it’s slow. To combat this, consider electric adjustable workstations, which provide multiple advantages over their cranking counterparts.

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Posted in Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Ergonomics and Hand Tools

July 19, 2016

manufacturing activities

Ergonomics should be wired into the design of all the processes of a modern industrial operation. Whether that means designing conveyor workstations with ergonomics in mind, utilizing work benches and stations that are adjustable for “right height” operations, adding turntables to rotate product, finding ways to reduce order pickers’ bending and stretching, or designing storage areas so that bending and stretching are minimized, well-designed operations bake ergonomics into their work processes.

One of the common areas you can attack is hand tool use. In many operations, strong younger workers may not complain about using heavy, hand-held tools for 8+ hours a day, but that stress is taking its tolls.

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Posted in Lifts, Manufacturing, Safety & Ergonomics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Industrial Workstations: The Key to Improved Productivity in the Warehouse

April 19, 2016

Modern packaging and shipping work bench station

Providing employees with a comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient workspace is a necessity in any picking, packing, assembly, inspection, quality control, manifesting or other industrial operations. A proper industrial workstation, tailored to the task and employee, goes a long way toward creating a healthier and more productive workspace and environment.

There are dozens of options for workstations, ranging from a simple bench to a more elaborate set up designed with the job in mind. Let’s take a look a few industrial workstations and their unique benefits.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Workbenches & Workstations – How to Optimize Work Flow

February 16, 2016

Dehnco Industrial Workstation

As your business grows, the flow of materials tends to bog down as demand increases, forced through the same channels and processes. Throughput grinding slowly down is a story as old as warehousing itself.

Frequently the operations that lag behind the rest of the process are in the picking, packing and shipping areas of your facility. What’s difficult is that these inefficiencies evolve over time, where they can almost be hidden from an analytical view. It seems that no matter how many people you throw at the problem, they never catch up, and error rates escalate. Often the solution is in simple steps toward organizing your packing areas and putting supplies conveniently at hand.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Mobilizing Your Computer Stations for Operational Savings

June 30, 2015

Point of Sale Mobile Work Station

Reducing steps and wasted time

How many steps do your floor managers take going back and forth to the computer and print stations in the plant as they do their jobs? How much time does all that walking take over a year’s time? How much more work could be done if computers and printers could go where they do? If you’re managing materials going to and from storage, all that travel time is taking valuable people assets away from what should be their primary function. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Manufacturing, ROI, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

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