Articles

Materials Handling

Determining If AS/RS Fits Your Facility

Most businesses that incorporate large-load automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) store and handle full pallet loads moving at high volumes in and out of a distribution center or manufacturing plant. But other business types may also benefit from the solution. Norm Saenz, senior vice president and principal, TranSystems Corporation, offers these tips on deciding […]

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Robert Arndt

Making a Business Case for Lean MHE

Q: What are the biggest cost drivers in a distribution center? A: Distribution centers are driven by four primary costs. Labor is usually the largest cost, which is why companies focus on it so much. Second is the building itself. Third are the IT systems necessary to support the operation. Finally, there’s materials handling equipment […]

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Ravi Pappu

RFID Delivers the Power to Transform Markets

Q: The business cases for achieving improved visibility throughout the supply chain have been identified. What technologies should logistics providers consider to get there? Pappu: Physical objects are becoming coupled with a myriad of radio technologies to drive a communications revolution. For instance, location information from GPS satellites 16 miles above the earth is being […]

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Phil Van Wormer

Tracking Warehouse Inventory on the Move

Q: Despite technology advances in end-to-end supply chain visibility, the warehouse is still a “blind spot” for many companies. What can be done to improve visibility within the four walls to bring the same level of excellence achieved in other areas of the supply chain? Van Wormer: Over-the-road transportation fleets have gained tremendous productivity through […]

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Peter Hartman

Upgrading Order Fulfillment Systems Boosts Warehouse Efficiency

Q: Is it possible to speed product flow in response to customer demands and cut inventory processing costs at the same time? Hartman: Many automated systems installed several years ago were not designed to handle escalating customer requirements, such as higher accuracy, more complex traceable orders with multiple SKUs, and more on-time deliveries. Nor did […]

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Mick Mountz

Mobile Robots Expand Warehouse Automation Options

Q: Warehouse managers are tasked with making investment decisions about systems that must scale for growth, often leading to unnecessary spending based on faulty five- and 10-year plans. Are there equipment options that can help mitigate this risk for warehouse management? Mountz: Mobile-robotic solutions offer a whole new approach to warehouse automation. Using features such […]

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Hillary Femal

Pallet-Sharing Programs: Better for the Planet

When evaluating a pallet program against your operational criteria— including environmental concerns— the best result comes from looking at the issue in two parts: the pallet itself, and the pallet program. The pallet’s source material, production method, size and specifications, and impact on transportation efficiencies has received much attention and discussion. But the pallet program— […]

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Trends—August 2010<br />

Trends—August 2010

Shipping Maintains Traction Despite Gulf Slick The considerable environmental impacts from British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico have cast a pall over the region, endangering delicate ecosystems and tourism industries alike. But to date, the oil crisis has had little negative impact on shipping in the heavily trafficked corridor. Gulf […]

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Laura Worker

Greening the Supply Chain Through Warehouse Automation

As part of the trend toward greener warehouses, businesses are seeking more efficient materials handling tools. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and their accompanying warehouse management systems (WMS) help achieve this goal by maximizing storage space while reducing operating costs. Flexible, hybrid AS/RS designs use one or more cranes in an aisle. They can […]

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Mick Mountz

Using Distribution and Fulfillment as Strategic Weapons

Distribution center (DC) assets in the supply chain are often relegated to cost center, necessary evil, or even non-value-added status. But focusing only on costs overlooks distribution and fulfillment’s value to the corporation. In Web retailing, for example, price comparison shopping has neutralized cost advantages to the point where consumers make online buying decisions based […]

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Material Handling Technology: Beyond the Nuts and Bolts

Today’s material handling technology is a lot more than nuts and bolts. By enabling companies to handle products more swiftly, material handling gives companies the ability to meet increasing customer requirements, boost productivity, and cut costs. Here’s a look at the technological tools that are available today, and how companies are using them in their distribution centers.

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You Have Entered the Material Transfer Zone

The loading dock has become a critical component of virtually any supply chain strategy. Mistakes in dock design and equipment choices can have costly consequences that ripple throughout the supply chain. For instance, slowdowns and product damage can very quickly multiply when overhead door openings are too small and dock levelers too narrow to provide […]

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