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Efficiency

Every warehouse manager wants to boost operational efficiency, whether that means optimizing the shipping room or speeding up load-outs at the dock. These posts explain how.

Topics

  • Energy Savings for Green Warehousing Operations

    Whether you run a warehouse, a cold-storage facility, or a regional distribution center, odds are you’re pursuing aggressive sustainability goals. The fastest way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint is to invest in energy efficiency — and that doesn’t necessarily mean costly redesigns. Here are a few ways you can cut your warehouse energy bill while also contributing to a... Continue Reading
  • Balancing Wellness and Efficiency in the Physical Plant

    Physical plant managers at universities must maintain an efficient workforce, but that can’t be accomplished without adequate wellness programs that also keep workers healthy. In that sense, the university physical plant department occupies a meeting point between the principles of both hard and soft facilities management. Managers must consider infrastructure, equipment, and the valuable employees who use that equipment to... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklifts at Construction Material Warehouses

    Construction professionals are probably familiar with gas-powered rough-terrain forklifts, but electric counterbalance lift trucks are often the best option for indoor applications like a firm’s materials warehouse. Electric forklifts offer many advantages over the construction industry’s standard rough-terrain lift truck, at least when operating in a strict material-handling capacity on warehouse floors designed for such traffic. The benefits of going... Continue Reading
  • Mulch and Soil Recycling for Landscapers

    At a certain point in any landscaping company’s growth, it becomes more profitable to produce mulch and topsoil in-house. Initial costs amount to capital investments that can start producing a return within just a few seasons. Even better, landscapers who produce their own soil products can avoid the inevitable bottlenecks that accompany late shipments from third-party producers. Manufacturing topsoil and... Continue Reading
  • Supply Chain Trends for 2019

    Labor shortages. Automation. The growth of omnichannel retail. The trends that transformed the global supply chain over the past few years are likely to continue for some time; these forces also provide hints as to what’s to come in the near future. In fact, some of 2019’s challenges are clearly on the horizon. Here are a few of the market... Continue Reading
  • Rising Construction Material Prices: Tips for Electrical Contractors

    Market forces have aligned to create rising construction material prices, and electrical contractors in the industry are faced with a dilemma: Do they pass those prices onto builders, and, ultimately, the customer? Or do they take the hit themselves? A handful of trends combine to create these price increases. There are the tariffs on steel and aluminum, of course. New... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklifts in Multichannel Retail Facilities

    Brick-and-mortar retailers that run e-commerce channels out of existing stores have a competitive advantage, especially if they operate multiple locations. The combined retail space/distribution center offers retailers incredible access to customers, whether they’re picking items up in the store or having them shipped directly. There is one challenge, however: Space. The retail store and the distribution center have totally different... Continue Reading
  • Government Contractors: Strategies for First Quarter Spending

    The Fiscal Year 2018 ended on September 30. The traditional wisdom in the industry holds that the fourth quarter is by far the busiest for government contractors, and for the most part, that’s true. However, according to GSA Schedule sales figures, Q1 is nearly as active as Q4. In fact, the first quarter is a remarkable time to go for... Continue Reading
  • Preparing the Shipping/Receiving Area for DC Peak Season

    The holiday peak season for distribution centers encompasses both shipping and receiving, making this area a potential efficiency bottleneck. Every DC manager needs a plan for scaling up outbound orders while simultaneously processing returns. The good news is that the elements of this plan don’t need to be expensive or difficult. We’ve already looked at a few strategies for preparing... Continue Reading
  • Preparing the Forklift Battery Room for DC Peak Season

    Every retailer has a peak season, and distribution centers are no different. Certainly, the peak can differ between one outlet and another — an office-supply store may experience peak season during the final days of the summer, when parents stock up for back-to-school season, while most general ecommerce DCs brace for the winter holidays. Whenever peak-to-average order ratios soar, it’s... Continue Reading
  • How Automotive Manufacturers Can Improve Material Flow Systems During Plant Shutdowns

    Automotive manufacturers can’t push out the next big model without retooling plants, and that means periodic shutdowns at factories across the U.S. But while teams of workers busily upgrade assembly lines, plant managers also stay busy planning to move the entire operation forward. Disruptions of day-to-day plant operation create tremendous opportunities for improvement. This is especially true in the automotive... Continue Reading
  • Alternatives to Going Forklift-Free at Automotive Manufacturing Facilities

    Automotive manufacturing facilities have long been at the forefront of lean manufacturing — after all, the practice was born out of Toyota’s process of continual improvement, or kaizen. But unlike some other sectors, many auto manufacturers are choosing not to go forklift-free to achieve their goals. That’s because automakers have discovered how to become leaner without sacrificing the muscle of... Continue Reading
  • Retaining Skilled Workers

    America’s supply of skilled workers isn’t as young as it used to be, and the trend has no end in sight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2024, 41 million workers will be 55 or older. For the manufacturing sector and other industries with higher physical demands, this trend could mean more sick days and reduced productivity. While... Continue Reading
  • Skilled Labor Shortages in Manufacturing: Doing More with Fewer Employees

    There’s a skilled labor shortage in manufacturing and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute teamed up for a study of the industry in 2015. They found that over the next decade, manufacturing companies will need 3.4 million workers — but will have a 2 million-worker shortfall. This precipitous drop in skilled talent... Continue Reading
  • Women in Warehousing: The Value of Building and Retaining a Diverse Workforce

    March is National Women’s History Month, but that’s not the only reason that this is a great time to talk about women in warehousing. We’re also at a crucial point in the development of logistics workforces, which aren’t keeping up with the industry’s growth. If businesses can’t attract new employees, we’ll start to have serious problems keeping up with the... Continue Reading
  • Lift Tables vs. Tilt Tables: Ergonomics for Various Applications

    Lift Tables vs. Tilt Tables: Which is right for your application? Both improve the fit between workers and the tasks they must complete, which is the core of ergonomics. By adjusting loads to a more agreeable height or angle, these positioning tools reduce injuries, conserve human energy, and increase productivity. These adjustments can have tremendously positive effects on worker health... Continue Reading
  • OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Traffic on Dock Ramps and Yard Ramps

    Loading ramps can be perilous places for forklift operation. So it’s no surprise that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has quite a bit to say on the topic. Much of their advice is common sense, but it never hurts to have a refresher and a checklist of requirements for investing in dock ramps. Some of the more general... Continue Reading
  • Customize Shipping Room Desks to Optimize Shipping/Receiving Tasks

    Workstations make a difference, and standard, off-the-shelf shipping room desks could be cutting into your productivity in more ways than one. People think of ergonomic improvements in the workplace as benefitting the employees. While that’s undeniably true, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t benefit as well—and we’re not just talking about reductions in sick days and injuries. By eliminating the... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Maintenance During Peak Season

    The holiday season is in full swing, and that means warehouses are working overtime to fulfill orders. While permanent staff and temporary workers put in extra hours, don’t forget that your equipment is working hard, too. To get the most out of it, a little preventive maintenance can go a long way. Washing Batteries Improves Forklift Performance It’s a bit... Continue Reading
  • 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,... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for the Coming Year’s Budget

    Improved battery room configurations and new equipment can yield big gains in productivity and profitability. As the end of the year draws closer, managers of large forklift fleets consider placing an investment in this type of infrastructure in the coming year’s budget. BHS custom designs its battery handling equipment for safety, efficiency, and lifetime cost savings. A complete system can... Continue Reading
  • Handling and Storing Construction Tools at High-Rise Building Sites

    The hazards of working on high-rise construction projects have been well-documented. While self-climbing perimeter protection systems, or “cocoons,” protect workers from falls, there’s another safety risk that cocoons can’t eliminate: injuries involving construction tools. A safety guide from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health offers a few rules to keep construction tools safe: Cal/OSHA requires employees to keep... Continue Reading
  • Improving Manure Management for a Safer “Manure Share”

    Manure management has always been a problem for farmers. A little bit of nature’s fertilizer is a wonderful thing. When it accumulates in large stockpiles, though, the natural byproduct of munching cows can pollute the waterways and poison the air. Recently, farmers have introduced a novel way to distribute the 335 million tons of manure that America’s agricultural animals produce... Continue Reading
  • Utilizing Vertical Space in E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers

    Vertical space has been a hot-button issue in warehousing for a long time, but with the rise of e-commerce, boosting clearance height is virtually required for fulfillment operations to remain competitive. The increased value of vertical space in fulfillment centers stems from a sea-change in shopping culture, driven by online shopping. Mail-order catalogs like the iconic Sears, Roebuck, and Co.... Continue Reading
  • Safely Completing Inventory at the Top of Warehouse Shelves

    At some point, usually at the end of the year, order pickers and warehouse managers alike have to buckle down and tackle inventory. Manual inventory, while a chore, isn’t really that tough for the first few tiers of shelving. Staff can easily kneel for the lower racks, take inventory up to eye level, and even climb short ladders to go... Continue Reading
  • The Easiest Way to Carry Drywall at Construction Sites

    Ergonomics in the construction industry has come a long way, but there are still materials that present particular handling challenges. Large panels are among the most difficult to transport and install; there’s simply no easy way to grasp them. At least with windows and other plates of glass, you can use a vacuum lift. Moving drywall is another story. Even... Continue Reading
  • How Will Brexit Affect European Supply Chain Industries?

    On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom made the historic decision to cut ties with the European Union. That night, the value of the British pound crashed by more than 10%. The next day was the worst for the UK’s currency on record. Economists predict disruption across all European markets, and logistics suppliers may end up facing the worst of... Continue Reading
  • Customize Lift Tables for Any Task With Tabletop Attachments

    A Lift Table from BHS may be the most versatile piece of material handling equipment in your facility. These hydraulic-powered lifts incorporate into just about any production line, they allow you to create variable-height work stations for any task, and, of course, they effortlessly lift loads of up to 6,000 pounds. In short, Lift Tables are an ergonomist’s dream. Thanks... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for Smaller Fleets

    Not every forklift user operates a vast fleet of hundreds. In fact, most don’t. A 2010 survey by industry journal DC Velocity found that the bulk of their respondents (57 percent) operated fewer than 25 lift trucks. Only 12 percent regularly used more than 100 trucks. The same survey uncovered another key statistic: almost 90 percent of the respondents said... Continue Reading
  • Battery Changing Solutions For Existing Pallet Trucks

    Most of the published advice on forklift battery management is aimed at larger fleets. But what about the small operation — the kind that only runs one or two forklifts? Facilities with smaller forklift fleets — even down to a single truck — probably realize that an extensive forklift battery changing system doesn’t make sense for their bottom lines. After... Continue Reading
  • Solving the Forklift Battery Room Power Puzzle

    A lot of disparate pieces go into an efficient battery charging area, especially when it comes to power distribution. Facilities should be free to add and remove chargers whenever they need to, without the expense and delay of bringing in electricians for every change. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just plug in a forklift battery charger like a... Continue Reading
  • Electrical Distribution for Forklift Battery Rooms

    Every battery room has distinctive power requirements, but these can change as operations grow. Don’t just wire the charging areas for your current needs; plan ahead for future changes — or, even better, ongoing expansion. Powering The Fleet’s Power Source Think of the battery charging area as the power source for your entire forklift fleet. In a way, charging systems... Continue Reading
  • Designing a Better Forklift Battery Room

    So you’ve decided you need a new battery room. Maybe your current battery charging area is outdated, or perhaps your fleet is just now large enough to justify the expense. Regardless of the reason, your new battery room’s success depends on a great plan — from choosing the ideal location to optimizing equipment. Battery room planning tools from BHS help... Continue Reading
  • Using Battery Wash Equipment to Optimize the Washing Process

    You know you have to wash your forklift batteries, but what’s the best way to go about it? The right gear can save your operation time and money, while preventing costly accidents. Here are a few guidelines for creating a battery wash procedure that’s simple, effective, and affordable. For optimal safety and efficiency, choose an automated solution. Washing forklift batteries... Continue Reading
  • Efficient Battery Rooms Start On The Ground Floor

    There’s one easy way to tell how efficiently a battery room is operating — just look down. Battery room floors that are pitted, cracked, or uneven can tell you a lot about the operation as a whole, and what they have to say isn’t good. For flawless battery changes every time, you really need a flawless floor in the battery... Continue Reading
  • Five Tips for a More Scalable Battery Room

    “Scalability” is a popular buzzword for logistics professionals, and the concept is especially useful for keeping warehouse operations competitive. It refers to the ability of systems — and, by extension, businesses — to expand as needed, with a minimum of added costs. Highly scalable operations can accommodate increasing demands without any effect on the quality of service. What does this... Continue Reading
  • Planning a Spare Parts Inventory for Your Lift Truck Fleet

    To keep your operation productive, you need to look for every possible way to improve day-to-day efficiency — and in many cases, this means planning for the unexpected. Every operation that uses material handling equipment will eventually need to repair both its lift truck fleet and its battery handling equipment, and immediate access to spare parts can drastically improve recovery... Continue Reading
  • Promote Staff Retention in Cold Storage Facilities with Better Equipment and Practices

    For managers of cold storage warehouses, employee retention is nothing short of essential — it’s a crucial factor in developing a leaner, more efficient operation. Unfortunately, lift truck operators in cold storage facilities leave for other positions more frequently than equivalent job holders in conventional warehouses. The turnover rate for material handling positions in the refrigerated storage industry has soared... Continue Reading
  • Choosing Better Lift Truck Battery Management Practices for Cold Storage Warehouses

    For cold storage facilities, accurate planning is critical. A difference of a few degrees can mean significant product losses, and a few inches of unused vertical space can translate to substantial operating inefficiencies. This is why most cold storage operations perform extensive calculations when choosing material handling equipment and infrastructure — a properly outfitted facility needs to maximize vertical space,... Continue Reading
  • Increase Efficiency in the Battery Room with Dedicated Operators

    Your facility needs an on-site battery handling expert. Designate a Dedicated Operator to handle all of your battery change-outs and maintenance for each shift. Facilities with Dedicated Operators benefit from increased efficiency in their Battery Rooms. With a Dedicated Operator, your whole battery fleet will be used more evenly, maintained more reliably, and over-all operate more efficiently. What are the... Continue Reading
  • BHS Increases Dealer Efficiency Through E-commerce

    Everyone knows that online retail sales is a multi-billion dollar game. However, few would assume that e-commerce-based shipments for the manufacturing sector total in the trillions of dollars each year. The US Census Bureau1 reports “e-commerce shipments were $3.0 trillion in 2012” for US manufacturers. Of that $3.0 trillion, shipments for fabricated metal product manufacturing (NAICS code 332) accounted for... Continue Reading
  • Planned Maintenance

    Everyone knows that cars need regular, scheduled maintenance to keep running at peak performance, and battery handling equipment is no different. No one wants to lose valuable time and productivity when a machine is down. Keeping a regular schedule of maintenance will extend the life of battery changing equipment and help limit emergency downtime. Daily equipment inspections and Planned Maintenance... Continue Reading
  • Battery Room Best Practices

    The Battery Room is an integral part of day-to-day operations, and it is imperative to include its layout in the original floor plan of any warehouse.  Consider the following items as you prepare your battery room project: Location Battery Handling Equipment Maintenance Battery Room Floors Batteries Battery Management Charger Storage Safety Personnel Check out the Battery Room Best Practices section... Continue Reading