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October Insights: The “Robot Tax”, Worker Concerns with Automation

October 26, 2023

Morning coffee with Cisco-Eagle photo
Coverage of issues relating to automation, labor management, material handling, inventory shrinkage, and labor issues for industrial facilities and the people who operate them.

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Posted in Industry Insights|

How to Use Conveyors for Ergonomic Truck Loading and Unloading

July 18, 2023

flexible conveyor extended into a tractor trailer for loading at a distribution center.

We recently discussed the various ways you can use conveyors to optimize the end of the line, which includes the ways they interface with trucks and trailers. The transition between the end of a conveyor system and the trucks where goods are loaded or unloaded are one of the areas where distribution centers can struggle. The traditional method has been to throw labor at the problem, but as we know in 2023, that is becoming a less useful and more difficult option.

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Posted in Conveyor Optimization|

Conveyors: Optimizing the End of the Line

June 13, 2023

Extendable conveyors feed truck loading docks at a distribution center.

Conveyors are primarily a transport mechanism within a facility: they move products from point A to point B to point C. Value is added at all points along the way. They’re the most efficient way to do that, even if that’s the only task they have. However, that’s rarely the only way they’re used. They’re loaded at point A, then transport the load to points of value down the line. Processes are is executed at point B, and something is finalized at point C — at the end of the line. Let’s dive into the ways you can drive value at the end of the line.

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Posted in Conveyor Optimization|

Ways to Optimize Industrial Labor

June 1, 2023

Manufacturing worker on a production line.

73% of warehouse operators said they can’t find enough workers. The National Association of Manufacturers sees shortfalls today, and more in the future: an astonishing 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled by 2030. With labor shortages the norm today and for the foreseeable future, how can you optimize, retain and improve labor in your operation?

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Posted in Warehousing & Distribution|

Targeted Warehouse Automation: Manual Pallet Handling

April 13, 2023

stacking and wrapping pallets with manual processes
While many companies can benefit from full scale automation, the math isn’t the same for everyone. However, labor shortages continue to drive companies to seek ways to reduce dependence on manual processes in specific, labor-intensive functions. What are some areas you should target for partial automation?

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

How Material Handling and Automation Increases Labor Flexibility

September 13, 2022

heavy pipe handling at a manufacturing facility.

Manufacturing plants, warehouses and other industrial operations are all facing one central challenge today: labor shortages. There are other challenges in supply chains, material inputs and environmental situations, but everyone in every industry across the board is dealing with labor—or the lack of it. 

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

Automated Palletizing Options: Finding a Happy Medium

July 7, 2022

cobot system with pallet
Robotics in distribution operations aren’t exactly the stuff of the Jetsons; you see them every day. Because end-of-line palletizing involves so much repetitive motion, it’s a prime target for automation. It fits the profile of easily-profiled, repeatable and low-value labor tasks. It’s also back-breaking and un-ergonomic. How do you know if a robotic palletizing option makes sense? And what type of automation fits you?

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

Motorized Carts For Ergonomic Material Movement

March 29, 2022

powered cart operating in warehouse environment

Forklifts are the usual method to move heavy materials, but there are plenty of times—and many good reasons—you might not want to use one. You can use pallet jacks, stackers, tuggers, pallet dollies, AGVs or even conveyors, but what about the instances where you don’t need forklift power, but your loads are too heavy or the travel time too far for pushcarts?

Enter the powered cart. This option resides in that “sweet spot” for material movement. But what exactly can a powered cart offer you, and what are your options?

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Posted in Material Handling|

Warehousing and the Millennial Worker

February 20, 2020

warehouse workers reviewing a whiteboard plan

As the progression of baby boomer retirees continues–at a blistering pace of 10,000 each day–all industries are feeling the pressure to attract the younger generation. Not only is this need growing, but in terms of keeping up with the faster pace of business, it’s paramount. Warehousing is no different and faces the tough task of keeping millennial (and younger) workforces interested in walking through its doors for the long haul.

Just how do warehouse operators attract qualified hires from the millennial generation? What are some ways not only to bring in these employees–but retain them?

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Posted in Warehousing & Distribution|

How to Calculate Automation ROI

October 10, 2019

robotic palletizer system in action
Return-on-investment is critical to automation projects, but justification isn’t straightforward. If you’re trying to convince management to make capital improvements to your operation, a smart, accurate and succinct ROI summary can work wonders. Let’s dive into some methods you can use to understand what to do — and what you can’t quantify.
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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

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