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Prepare Seasonal Warehouse Workers for Success

Seasonal warehouse workers give distribution centers the extra capacity that they need to take on the busy holiday season — and it’s only getting busier. Last year, online sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 reached a total of $91.7 billion, more than 10 percent higher than the previous year. Search marketing firm NetElixer projects an increase of another 10 percent for this year’s online holiday sales. It’s safe to assume that warehouses and distribution centers are flooding their floors with temporary employees as we speak. So how can employers ramp up seasonal workers in time to keep productivity high, but before the season ends for another few months of more relaxed throughput? There are three categories to consider when…more

How Warehouse Ergonomics Can Help You Cope with Labor Shortages

The logistics and warehousing industries are facing substantial labor shortages. A 2015 study presented at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) conference showed issues with labor availability throughout the sectors; however, the CSCMP’s 2018 survey noted that the vast majority of 3PL professionals agreed upon an increased need “to respond to customers more quickly and with complete, accurate, and consistent information.” In other words: Labor shortages will occur, but they can’t slow down your operation. In the warehouse, even a temporary labor shortage can have drastic effects, and while they’re a standard part of doing business, successful managers should know how to work through them. Of course, that’s easier said than done. According to the Third-Party Logistics Study,…more

Earthquake Preparedness in the Warehousing Industry

Because of their unpredictable nature and powerful tremors, earthquakes pose a unique threat to the warehousing industry. These two qualities make it difficult to evacuate a warehouse without risking injury from toppling racks or falling merchandise. Earthquakes will always pose a danger to people inside buildings. But there are still relatively inexpensive steps warehouse managers can take to reduce injury risks and property damage. Prepare employees and secure items before a quake hits. Educating staff with earthquake training is a great first step toward reducing or eliminating casualties and injuries. By knowing the safest procedures, staff will be calmer and make better choices in the event of an earthquake. All staff should learn the rule, “Drop, cover, and hold on.”…more

Why A-Frame Gantries Are Best for Vertical Forklift Battery Extraction

A-frame Gantry Cranes are the safest and most efficient way to vertically remove forklift batteries from trucks. While it’s certainly possible to remove a battery from a forklift with a second lift truck, or even to use a modified hydraulic engine hoist to replace a forklift battery, only Gantries designed specifically for the unique working traits of forklift batteries can safely and efficiently complete forklift battery changes, shift after shift. That’s because a forklift battery room with an integrated Gantry Crane and Hardwood Battery Stations creates benefits that other technologies lack. These advantages include: A defined travel path. The great thing about forklifts is that they can go anywhere. When you’re lifting a 2,000-pound forklift battery, though, that advantage quickly…more

Customize Order Picking Carts for Unique Applications

Order Picking Carts (OPC) from BHS provide simple material handling for order picking and other industrial tasks. However, sometimes clients need special modifications of these heavy-duty steel carts in order to meet a unique workplace challenge. That’s why BHS offers full customization for OPCs. Engineers at BHS design carts from the ground up to fit into highly specific applications at the customer’s request. Unlike many providers of warehouse equipment, BHS strives to accommodate clients who need custom equipment. The manufacturing team at BHS constructs products to order at their 138,000 square-foot campus in St. Louis, Missouri. This gives them the freedom to customize products, including the Order Picking Cart, down to the invention of entirely new types of material handling…more

Ergonomic Hazards in the Forklift Battery Room: Problems and Solutions

Addressing major hazards in the battery room like fires, explosions, and acid burns can lead some managers to neglect the smaller ergonomic issues. Unfortunately, these small issues can also become big problems when left unaddressed. Luckily, common-sense precautions allow battery-room managers to protect employees from both kinds of risk. Here are some straightforward ways to address recurrent ergonomic issues in the battery room. Let machines do the hard work with battery-changing equipment. The most obvious ergonomic improvement managers can make to a battery room is using specialized equipment that makes changing forklift batteries easier. Outdated or inappropriate battery handling equipment can lead to back injuries from lifting and twisting. It also increases the chances of batteries falling, which can be…more

Material Handling Ergonomics: Using the “Golden Zone” for Safer Lifting

Warehouse managers often focus on equipment solutions to ergonomics issues. And while there’s good reason to invest in assistive lifting equipment, there are cheaper and easier ways to get big returns. The number one way? Teach workers to lift in the ergonomic “golden zone.” The Dangers of Poor Lifting Technique The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2015, musculoskeletal disorders, such as sprains and strains caused by heavy lifting, made up 31 percent—356,910 individual cases—of all workplace injuries. The predictable and preventable nature of these injuries makes them an obvious target for managers looking to increase productivity. Reducing the number of musculoskeletal injuries is simple in theory but requires constant attention in practice. Here are some tips for…more

How Better Warehouse Ergonomics Improves Productivity

In the not-so-distant past, managers viewed warehouse ergonomics as mostly a matter of worker comfort—it was a nice thing to provide, but not a necessity. And while comfort is certainly one element of ergonomics, it is just one of many benefits of safer and more efficient processes. A more essential and frequently overlooked advantage to good ergonomics is improved productivity. Better ergonomics equals less bottlenecking. To those who have studied warehouse operations, there is a definite relationship between poor ergonomics and bottlenecks in processes. Jim Galante, chairman of the Ergonomic Assist Systems and Equipment (EASE) Council, talked to Modern Materials Handling about how removing bottlenecks frequently requires ergonomic solutions. “You almost can’t have one without the other since wasted motion,…more

Warehouse Ergonomics: Order Picking and Pallet Building Safety Tips

October is National Ergonomics Month, and in honor of this yearly reminder to match “the work to the worker,” we’re reviewing two of the most common tasks in the distribution warehouse: order picking and pallet building. Both of these jobs traditionally contribute to the risk of musculoskeletal disorders such as strains, sprains, and pulled muscles. The reasons for this are clear. Without the proper ergonomic training and the right equipment, both jobs require workers to reach, to stretch, to twist and bend and to repeat those actions again and again, hour after hour. Freight, stock, and material movers were among the top three occupations that had the highest number of injuries involving days away from work in 2015, reports the…more

Year-End Budget Planning: Invest in Electrical Equipment

As the year draws to a close, growing companies may find that they still have the budget for a capital investment or two. The end of the year is a great time to invest in new equipment to make the coming year more productive. Any operation that depends on electrical work, whether that’s in the construction industry, the electrical supply business, or for-hire electrical contracting, has a unique end-of-year opportunity to build an “electrical equipment wish list.” You might already have the tools you need to work to get by, but who couldn’t use a productivity boost? Here are a few pieces of electrical equipment that can make the job much easier for contractors as well as supply houses: Conduit…more