5/6/13: Preparing for Summer
April showers bring May flowers… but summer heat can leave your conveyor beat! As we approach the summer months you may begin to notice some components of your conveyor system struggling to keep up or even wearing out altogether. It is normal for rising temperatures to take a toll on items like power supplies, rubber or polyurethane bands and belts, and items that already generally heat with use. Here’s a quick list of just a few things you can do to make sure you are prepared for the additional strain on your warehouse equipment.
-Periodically check to make sure all fans and filters are clean, including those under your conveyor at each local control box.
-Create as much ventilation in your warehouse space as is reasonable- add box fans to areas that generate a lot of heat, or consider leaving extra dock doors open throughout the day.
-Store battery operated equipment in a cool area of your building.
-Know that power supplies, control cards, and other electric and logic components are easily affected by temperature. These may just need to cool down sometimes, or they may overheat to the point of no return -it is a good idea to have extras on hand!
-Consider how much of your conveyor is running at any given time and see if this can be decreased to meet your needs more specifically.
-Keep plenty of spare o-bands on hand -these can stretch, dry and crack in extreme heat!
-Keep a well-stocked spare supply of all plastic, rubber, and polyurethane parts.
-Remember that even more valuable than your equipment is your team. Making water more readily available to those from receiving to shipping and everywhere in between will maintain their productivity and well-being
- as well as those of your business!
Xact Warehouse Solutions is here for your equipment needs in all seasons. Please contact us today to see how we can help prepare your facility for summer!
4/8/2013 Featured Vendor: Interlake Mecalux
One of our favorite sources for steel racking is Interlake Mecalux. Interlake Mecalux is a manufacturer of pallet rack, drive-in rack, cantilever rack and many more material handling solutions available to you through Xact Warehouse Solutions.
Pallet Rack in New Jersey (top), and Tunneled Pallet Rack in Alabama (bottom).
Many Interlake Mecalux products are available via Quick Ship, with an even more extensive selection available on a made-to-order basis. Request a quote today!
3/25/13: U.S. Veterans in U.S. Logistics
As American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan dwindles, more and more members of the armed forces return home and prepare for a new season in life. Some of these men and women will continue domestic military careers but many seek a fresh start in the private sector. In this month’s edition of DC Velocity senior editor Toby Gooley illustrates the how veterans may be some of the best prepared supply chain logistics employees.
Gooley reports that, proportionally, more veterans are unemployed than the rest of the U.S. population. As many of you already know, the material handling, warehousing, and supply chain logistics industries are hard-pressed to find suitable employees, and it is estimated this gap will only grow in the coming years. ”Clearly, this is a first-class opportunity to match talent supply with employer demand,” according to Gooley.
“Clearly, this is a first-class opportunity to match talent supply with employer demand”
Mr. Gooley spoke with former Army officer and Iraq vet and current veteran transition specialist Jason Dozier of the nonprofit organization Hire Heroes USA to get some insight into the lesser-known talents veterans may possess. He found that military persons with overseas deployment under their belts are often experienced with equipment management in multiple and far-reaching locations. Additionally, the distribution and freight tasks set before many service men include inventorying, containerization, and personally seeing to the distribution of supplies. This can also be the case for U.S. based military personel, many of whom are familiar with field logistics terminals, warehouses, shipping docks, forklifts and more.
Globally desirable traits can be found in those who have served in the military as well. Many veterans have developed their leadership skills, a strong work ethic, adaptability, and are quick problem-solvers. These individuals possess the necessary interpersonal and communication skills to work well with upper management as well as those they are tasked with leading. Veterans truly are an under-tapped resource of seemingly custom-trained potential supply chain professionals.
If you are interested in recruiting veterans, check out local and state veterans agencies, contact organizations such as Hire Heroes USA, or advertise in military publications. Click here for the complete article Hire Our Heroes… the right way as well as other ideas for networking with veterans.
3/12/13 Blog: 10 Ways to Repurpose a Pallet
18th century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge is perhaps best known by his Romanticized tale “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in which sailors lament “Water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.” Perhaps more fitting to the material handling industry would be “Pallets, pallets, every where, and these boards never shrink!” Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of ten great ways to make your extra pallets useful again!
10. Check Out the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association for more information about cost-effective, environmentally-friendly use, resuse and disposal of your wooden pallets!
Featured Vendor: Incord
Incord is a manufacturer of safety net solutions and is our first source for many kinds of safety equipment. Offering a multitude of applications, Incord is a versatile and copmrehensive source for warehouse safety netting as well as barriers, partitions, conveyor guarding, mezzanine guards, rack guard netting, and cart nets.
In addition to meeting many and varied needs in the warehousing industry, Incord provides safety netting for playgrounds, sports, theatrical environments, residential use and more. In 2012, Incord was privleged to contribute to an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project. Incord created a custom climbing hammock which was then installed in a foster home filled with children who were blessed by the additional play space.
Xact Warehouse Solutions is proud to provide quality material handling equipment from creative vendors like Incord. Please contact us for your custom safety netting solution!
2/25/13 Blog: Pallet Rack Safety
It’s easy to become comfortable with routines, less careful with safety procedures, and familiar with the tools we use every day. However, in the warehousing industry, this can be incredibly dangerous. No doubt, pallet rack is one of the most commonplace varieties of material handling equipment, seemingly an extension of the building in which it stands.
Although we may become accustomed to pallet rack and other features of the workplace environment, it is important that we never take them -or our safety- for granted. Below are a few helpful tips from a pallet rack safety infographic distributed by Cisco-Eagle.
It’s never too often to review general safety guidelines and evaluate your business operations for optimum safety. If you see a need for equipment protection in your warehouse or distribution center, please contact us! We look forward to assisting you in improving the safety of your business through rack guards and other equipment protection tools.
2/18/13 Blog: Shrinking the Globe (Somewhat) Locally
Logistics Management’s Patrick Burnson wrote this month about alternative distribution networks on the rise as global shifts prove traditional off-shoring to no longer afford the savings it formerly did. With contributions from several logistics experts, Burnson has provided much food for thought.
Dr. Dale Rogers, co-director of the Center for Supply Chain Management at Rutgers University details the cause and some of the effects that have set these coming changes in place. There has already been a noticeable decrease in reliance on China due in part to the country’s rising wage structure. While one of the automatic reactions to this for U.S. shippers will be to dump aftermarket products in landfills, this will not be tolerated for very long. Globally, shareholders and consumers alike are calling for increased focus on sustainability.
Burnson reaffirms Rogers’ profession that many countries such as, “Brazil and other emerging nations are drafting laws to require manufacturers to recycle unsold goods,” and thereby moving to meet these sustainability demands. Additionally, near-shoring is on the rise. For the U.S., sourcing “local” manufacturing options in Mexico will save both time and money, especially in the refurbishment market.
MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics research director, Edgar Blanco weighed in with other regions to keep an eye on for reverse logistics services. Both the Caribbean Basin and Colombia, especially once the Panama Canal expansion is complete, are expected to experience a boom in logistical activity. Colombia’s manufacturers are already “recycling batteries and cartridges on a massive scale” and leading the way for others to do so as well.
While it is agreed that greater 1<sup>st</sup>, 2<sup>nd</sup>, and 3<sup>rd</sup>-tier partner transparency will be vital to this growth, “one also runs the risk of too few suppliers,” according to Diane Mollenkopf, Ph.D., McCormick Associate Professor of Logistics at the University of Tennessee. Says Mollenkopf, “Shippers will surely be reconsidering how much inventory is really needed in the supply chain and where that inventory should be located.” The emphasis on distance of course being to increase efficiency in recapture of return goods and to decrease supply risk.
One of the last voices Burnson echoes is that of 4PRL, LLC’s cheif operation officer, Gary Cullen. Cullen reaffirms that “much efficiency can be found in near-sourcing third party service providers who specialize in redeployment, repair, reuse, recycling, reclamation and resale.” Cullen highlights the opportunities to both find cost-effective options and to reduce movement and handling, and says “combine this with the improving of your environmental image and you have a win-win for your clients, consumers, and shareholders.”
For a deeper look at Patrick Burnson’s original article, see the February 2013 issue of Logistics Management.
2/12/13 Blog: Changes for Leading Supply Chain Organization
The group formerly known as Material Handling Industry of America will now be referred to as simply Material Handling Industry. Interestingly enough, this change is not only indicative of a broadening of horizons, but also a return to origins. MHI was founded as such in 1945. The MHI of today will continue to focus on material handling, as well as “manufacturing, distribution, logistics and transportation,” as quoted by Jeff Woroniecki, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Operations, in MHI Solutions, Vol. 1, Number 1.
In addition to updating their name, shifting industry focus, and revamping their printed publications, MHI is bringing new web tools, promotional opportunities, and networking options to its members in 2013. The group desires to increase the number of connections they are able to facilitate between members and manufacturers, as well as providers of other supply chain services. These changes are necessary due to constant evolution and growth of material handling and supply chain mechanisms on a global scale.
Material Handling Industry’s new website, MHI.org, is well posed to be a meeting place for end users and MHI members. Additionally, members and consumers alike will experience greater ease of access to information regarding new industry trends. Lastly, MHI hopes to lead the way to greater educational opportunities for those who will enter the workforce in the next few years, as well as those of us who are looking to expand our knowledge. Through this rebranding and all that it entails, MHI is aiming to step up within this industry and lead the way to the future.
1/28/13 Blog: 2013 Industry Predictions
Clifford Lynch, of C.F. Lynch & Associates, has looked into his crystal ball (and called upon years of experience) to make predictions for the supply chain industry yet again this year. In this month’s edition of DC Velocity, Lynch has drafted a top-ten list of changes (or lack thereof) we can expect for 2013.
1) The Usual; driver shortages, high fuel costs, infrastructure and sustainability struggles.
2) Treatment of Truck Drivers; Shippers and receivers will become more welcoming to truck drivers, including the growing number of women and pets living on the road
3) CSA 2010; As carriers and drivers put this safety program into practice it will prove to be more helpful than initially projected.
4) Air Travel; As costs have been on the rise and return has decreased (think comfort, service) for years, 2013 could be the year of industry regulation.
5) Use of Boxcars; Improvements in rail transport could make it a reasonable alternative to trucking.
6) Pricing Options; More companies will offer slower, cheaper shipping -as Lynch puts it, “Not everyone needs overnight or even second-day delivery.”
7) Alternative Fuels; the use of natural gas is on the rise as the US enters a period of rapid growth in its experimentation.
8) Outsourcing; Contract Logistics Service Providers make it possible to change your distribution network quickly as changes arise.
9) Panama Canal; US importers are making decisions NOW regarding DC locations for the influx of goods arriving via the new port options the canal’s expansion (set for completion in 2015) will provide.
10) Freight Bill Payment; These companies will become more creative when it comes to the value they have to offer in response to transportation management systems with freight payment modules encroaching upon their market.
While these predictions are just that, it will be interesting to see just how close Mr. Lynch comes to the truth in the months ahead. For the full article and the other resources from DC Velocity, click here.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the predictions presented in this blog! Share with us!