Are you experiencing an increasing number of complex orders, constantly repairing outdated equipment, storing finished goods in an off-site location, or dealing with excessive overtime, injuries and workers comp. issues? Developing action plans to manage the diverse and often contradictory needs for the warehouse is a significant challenge. In the most successful warehouse operations, a systematic approach that investigates all the steps involved in the order fulfillment process has been utilized. A structured-planning process, with multiple-decision gates, presented in the Best Practices graphic below, is recommended in order to reach a successful business result.... Read more »
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) new Hours-of-Service rules go into effect on July 1, 2013 despite ongoing legal battles to overturn it. Companies, hoping it would go away, are going to find themselves scrambling if they haven’t prepared.
The goals of the new rules are to reduce fatigue-related crashes, improve safety and improve driver health, with the ultimate objective to enhanced safety on our roadways. However, the new rules are expected to reduce trucking capacity between 3- 5% as a result of lower driver and truck utilization. One main cause of this decline is the 34-hour restart provision that requires two consecutive rest periods between 1 AM and 5 AM once per week.
Converting electrical power into mechanical power is fundamental to driving your equipment - and your operation’s success. By modernizing your drive system you can harness this power to improve productivity and performance. Drive technology has come a long way and manufacturers are offering new capabilities such as multiple interfaces, embedded communications with multiple protocols, comprehensive diagnostics, enhanced programming and advanced safety features.
So, why update to these newer drive systems?... Read more »
Performing regular inspections is one of the best ways to extend equipment life, reduce breakdowns, increase worker safety and maintain healthy system performance. Here are some common inspections in our industry:.... Read more »
GUEST BLOGGER: I’m Bryan Doherty, Controls Supervisor at Retrotech, Inc. I’ve been in the materials handling industry for over 15 years.
Whether you are putting a new control system in a greenfield facility or updating your current control system there are many things to think about regarding which approach to use. We commonly see two types of methods – centralized and distributed control systems and each have pros and cons.
Centralized control systems are more traditional than distributed systems so many maintenance workers are.... Read more »
We’ve talked before about being prepared with your spare parts. Stocking up on the essential parts for your system can avoid long lead times and catastrophic shut downs that may occur when spare parts are hard to find. We see many DC’s that are 5+ years old operating with outdated software and obsolete OEM parts. And, we’ve received plenty of panicked phone calls where customers needed to modernize equipment as soon as possible. As we all know, emergencies can lead to higher costs on all angles of a project.
I recently read a great article titled Restoring Aging Material Handling Equipment & Systems Will Improve DC Performance, by Cliff Hoste of Supply Chain Digest. I wanted to share my observations and add a few points.
In the article, Cliff states that over time, material handling equipment and controls become outdated, leading to frequent breakdowns and loss of productivity. One of the “Actions” that are recommended to increase performance is to compare your current performance against industry averages and original design assumptions. We couldn’t agree more with this idea. We have seen many times... Read more »
My final post in this series about adding value to your distribution center is regarding increasing productivity. We recently had a pharmaceutical manufacturer who needed to increase throughput to exploit a business opportunity. A boost in sales required this global medical technology company to increase its production and throughput rate in its current ASRS. Due to the time-sensitive nature of their products, the disruption to the operation and the risks involved in ramping up production needed to be considered.
To minimize risks and to ensure that the increase did not cause a bottleneck elsewhere in the system, we recommended a phased approach.... Read more »
Next in our blog series on “Adding Value” is an example of a complex project at a major snack food manufacturer. This customer desired to improve their system to ensure continuity in production and shipping. The primary goals of the project were to bring an existing system up to current industry standards for improved system load tracking, supportability and reliability. The ASRS system had operated reliably for fifteen years, transporting and storing totes containing the key ingredients of a snack mix and then loading the ingredients into continuous mixing hoppers, before returning the totes. However, the computer equipment and control systems were... Read more »