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Productivity solutions for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution



Fast lane for slow movers

page 22


3PL feeds the shop floor 32


DoD on RFID 28

Palletizers set the pace 31

Lori Gonzalez Gonzalezi Supervisor, Regional Master Operations Mercedes-Benz USA


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The path to higher productivity

Second-guessing the efficiency of your operation's racking? Is your fleet of forklifts not quite getting the job done? Worker productivity a bit sluggish? For the second year, the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) offers realworld solutions to these issues and others in a concentrated, 24-hour class on materials handling (www.wflo.org). The course features several hours of classroom instruction from industry professionals and wraps up with a group case study exercise.Topics slated to be discussed include forklifts, racking, construction, warehouse management systems, and more. For information or to register, visit www.iarw.org.

New company debuts at NA 2006

Celerity Automation Inc. (www.celerityautomation. com), a new materials handling venture, will present its take on materials handling in the 21st century when it introduces its linear transfer vehicle (LTV) at the NA 2006 show in Cleveland, Ohio, March 27-30, 2006. The LTV is just one of hundreds of new products and solution innovations scheduled to be featured at NA 2006 (www.na2006.org).According to show sponsor, Material Handling Industry of America, more than 400 exhibits will cover 150,000 square feet. The proprietors of Celerity, Richard C.Young and Michael Maynard, have extensive materials handling backgrounds.The LTV leverages their expertise with smooth, virtually friction free electromagnetic operation.The LTV is a high-speed linear transfer system that uses the latest advances in linear, direct drive servo-motor technology to ensure highly accurate vehicle positioning.

Writing the book on lean organizations

While lean manufacturing is well established, lean warehousing is only in the early stages of development. And now comes a new publication called Lean Enterprise Leader focused on how to create an organization of empowered teams all pulling in the same direction. The book has two goals, according to author Stephen Hawley Martin. The first is to eliminate the decision-making bureaucracies that serve as a barrier to lean implementation. The second is to help floor leaders transition from command and control managers into coaches who effectively instruct their workforce in introducing and fostering lean productivity. Intended for supply chain professionals looking to migrate to a lean philosophy, Lean Enterprise Leader can be purchased on the book's Web site, www.LeanTransformation.com.

Five tips for selecting the right conveyor

There are so many factors to consider when purchasing a conveyor system.To break down the barriers of a successful implementation, essential questions need answering. But, asking the right questions is the key to getting the most appropriate answers. Dynamic Conveyor (www.dynamicconveyor. com), a supplier of conveyor technology, has compiled a list of five key questions that will help you determine the right equipment for your operation. Available on Modern's Web site at www.mmh.com/conveyortips, these helpful hints are a must see if you're shopping for a new system.
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2006 Interlock rack system installed.

2007 New picking system. Easily reconfigure racks.

2009 Sales soar. Move entire rack system to new building.

2010 Seamlessly add on to existing system.

2016 100 forklift drivers later, easily replace damaged components.

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Interlock is a trademark of Interlake Material Handling, Inc.

VOL. 61, NO. 1

Productivity Solutions for Manufacturing, Warehousing and Distribution INCLUDING WAREHOUSING MANAGEMENT
< Mercedes handles slow-moving parts. p. 22


22 Fast lane for slow movers

Mercedes has designed a DC in the U.S. that handles slow-moving partshandling volume efficiently, allowing other distribution operations in its network to reduce inventory.

19 Towline conveyor increases productivity

Case New Hollands conveyor system pays for itself in less than a year.

Economic expert Jim Haughey says to expect strong economic results this year.

20 Warehouse upgrade lifts orderpicking

Navarre Corp. scores gains using new linear and spiral conveyors.

departments & columns

1/ Upfront 5/ My View 47/ Focus On 50/ Product Showcase 17/ Great Ideas 54/ 60 Seconds with Thomas Moore from Northeastern University

21 Loading system improves worker safety

Unilever-Bestfoods now loads more trailers a day in less time.

28 RFID on the front lines

RFID technology is beginning to transform the Department of Defense supply chain from storage depots to the battlefield.

7/ Following banner year in 2005, expert expects robust 2006 8/ Certification program for RFID expands 9/ NA 2006 education program set 10/ Global supply chain seminar on demand 10/ Top supply chains identified 13/ The changing culture of lean 14/ Keeping the dock safe 15/ People to know

31 Palletizer keeps butter churning

A dairy coop moves from manual to robotic palletizing.

32 Building a new supply chain

Using a 3PL, office furniture makers save $4 for every dollar spent.

web extras
Information Management: Get more information on how the DoD is using RFID

35 Global Supply Chain Conference

Modern Materials Handling (ISSN 0026-8038, GST Reg#123397457, R.B.I. Intl Pub. Mail #0280739) is published monthly, except October when published semi-monthly by Reed Business Information, 8878 S. Barrons Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129-2345. Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, is located at 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10014. Tad Smith, CEO. Circulation records are maintained at Reed Business Information, 8878 S. Barrons Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129-2345. Phone (303) 470-4445. Periodicals Postage Paid at Littleton, CO 80126 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Modern Materials Handling, P.O. Box 7500, Highlands Ranch, CO 80163-7500. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40685520. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Deutsche Post, 4960-2 Walker Road, Windsor ON N9A 6J3. Email: subsmail@reedbusiness.com. Please address all subscription mail to Modern Materials Handling, 8878 S. Barrons Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129-2345. Rates for non-qualified subscriptions:US $99.90/yr. Printed in U.S.A. Modern Materials Handling is a registered trademark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. used under license.


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EDITORIAL OFFICES 225 WYMAN STREET Waltham, MA 02451 (781) 734-8000 Gary R. Forger EDITORIAL DIRECTOR gforger@reedbusiness.com Nol P. Bodenburg MANAGING EDITOR noel.bodenburg@reedbusiness.com Pamela F. Campbell SENIOR WEB MANAGER pfcampbell@reedbusiness.com Jeff ONeill ASSOCIATE EDITOR jeff.oneill@reedbusiness.com Sarah E. Bowling WEB EDITOR sarah.bowling@reedbusiness.com Bob Trebilcock EDITOR AT LARGE robert.trebilcock@verizon.net Sara Pearson Specter EDITOR AT LARGE sara@moxiemarketingllc.com Roberto Michel EDITOR AT LARGE robertomichel@charter.net Jim Apple CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST Robert Eckhardt SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Daniel Guidera SENIOR ART DIRECTOR/ ILLUSTRATION Norman Graf DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES Kevin McPherson GROUP PUBLISHER Darrell O. DalPozzo ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD John Hill ESYNC Steve McAlexander BORDERS GROUP, INC. Bob Meigs QSC AUDIO Susan Rider INTELLIGRATED Ken Ruehrdanz SIEMENS LOGISTICS & ASSEMBLY SYSTEMS Dr. John Usher UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE Brett Wood TOYOTA MATERIAL HANDLING USA BOSTON

My View

RFIDs quiet bang


OR AS LONG AS IVE BEEN WITH MODERN, each year was going to be the one when RFID took off. Last year was no different.And once again, were still waiting. Or are we? You see, Im beginning to think that maybe weve been using the wrong measures. What really matters here? Number of tags? Dollar volumes? Number of end users? Item level tagging rather than pallet or case level? Success stories? Replacement of every bar code on the planet? Or, is it more important that RFID be part of how people think? Consider this. Four years ago, RFID had no relevancy in distribution although it was already a success in manufacturing.Today, we are obsessed with RFID in distribution while rarely discussing its fit in manufacturing. Fact is, the technology has already established itself as a point of consideration in both arenas.And thats not only new, but a breakthrough that has already occurred. Much the same has happened at the Department of Defense. Even though so many people thought DoDs primary RFID initiative was similar to Wal-Marts, they were wrong. Until this year, DoDs efforts there were essentially nonexistent. In "RFID on the front lines" on page 28, Bob Trebilcock is the first editor to tell the story of what DoD has been doing with RFID during the past few years.And youre going to be surprised. For instance, ever hear of Marines in Iraq using Web-based search tools, GPS and active RFID to track truckload shipments in the field in real time? I doubt it. Whats most interesting here is that RFID has penetrated deep into the militarys infrastructure.And its only going to push deeper as DoDs supplier mandate, similar to WalMarts, ramps up this year. Meanwhile, the research firm Aberdeen Group has just released its latest report: "Finding the Tipping Point for RFID." As you will see (literally), RFID is now typically part of the data capture and management discussion. (Weve put together a four-part report on those survey results, appearing exclusively on mmh.com in our first Vlogs. So in addition to the story in words, were telling it with video interviews.And this is only the beginning of what well be doing with video this year at mmh.com. Stay tuned.) Clearly, RFID has worked itself into how people think and how they approach information systems of the future.Thats a break out move for any technology. Its time RFID was credited with that, and we stopped waiting for the old world to end with a big bang.

8878 Barrons Blvd. Highlands Ranch, CO 80129-2345 Ph: 303-470-4445 Fax: 303-470-4280 Email: subsmail@reedbusiness.com www.getFREEmag.com/mmh


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Following banner year in 2005, expert expects robust 2006

Strength in the general economy will carry forward to the manufacturing and warehousing sectors as well as materials handling equipment sales.
ollowing a strong 2005, the U.S. economy is promising another solid performance in the new year. Not only will the general economy be robust in 2006, but so will both the warehousing and manufacturing sectors. In turn, they will keep sales of materials handling equipment and related information systems at high levels as well. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) moved ahead 4.1% in the third quarter in 2005. In fact, that number would have been 4.5% had it not been for a number of hurricanes having ravaged the southeastern United States, according to Jim Haughey, an economist for Reed Business Information, parent company of Modern. He expects that when the final numbers are in, GDP in 2005 will advance 3.6%. Overall, Haughey says he expects an average of roughly 4% growth in GDP in 2006. "Historically, this is very strong growth," he adds. Manufacturing mirrored the economy's surge in 2005.Manufacturing started strong in 2005, slowed a bit, and finished

strong to end the year," Haughey says. ed goods continue to flow through the Following a 4% manufacturing expansupply chain in 2006 and beyond. sion in 2005, Haughey expects similar Warehousing will continue to see a growth in 2006.With surge in goods throughput in 2006, folmanufacturers operating lowing a 2005 that saw a 4.8% increase at 80% of capacity, over 2004 numbers, he says. Despite the these operations are increased volume of goods moving poised to add to through U.S. warehouses, Haughey says their capacities in that square footage in the sector remains 2006, he says. relatively flat as companies use software Auto manufactur- and advanced materials handling practices ers are not faring as to keep inventory levels low. well as most other Materials handling equipment sales manufacturing sectors, posted their largest sales year ever in he adds. Due in 2005, ringing in a huge 27% part to imports increase over 2004, which was Materials taking primary market 12% higher than in 2003.And share, coupled with a lower while the rate of increase will handling demand, automobile suppliers plateau in 2006, that's still equipment are feeling the crunch.The good news for equipment supsame goes for parts manufacsales posted pliers.They can expect a flat turers in middle America, as year in terms of growth, but their largest continued strength from a dolsome of those operations are being outsourced abroad, lar perspective. sales year Haughey says. Orders and shipments of ever in The warehousing/distribumaterials handling equipment tion sector is experiencing skyrocketed 30% and 31%, 2005. record low inventories, courespectively, in September of pled with ever-climbing 2005, compared to the same throughput.While Haughey does not period in 2004according to the expect a major change in this environModern Materials Handling Orders Index ment, he does expect the segment will (www.mmh.com) grow faster than manufacturing as import"The truck market has peaked,"
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Haughey says, "and although conveyor sales continue to rise, the truck market is much bigger." Prices for materials handling equipment are expected to creep up roughly 1.5%, as opposed to the 5.3% increase in 2005. "Steel prices continue to slide, helping overall prices slow their upward movement," he adds.


Certification program for RFID expands

As a response to the growing number of major retailer mandates to use RFID in their supply chains, a vendorneutral certification program is being developed. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has announced the development of an educational seminar that would give participants the CompTIA RFID+ certification (www.comptia. org).The credential would "validate the Q2 Q3 Q4 knowledge and 2006 skills of profes-

Despite a dip in the MMH Orders Index expected in 2006, the materials handling industry is poised for a strong year.

140 Orders index 130 120 110 100 Q1 Q2 Q3 2005 Q4 Q1

sionals needed to meet the expected high demand for RFID talent over the next several years," says the organization. "The industry as a whole can use the certification as proof of the foundational knowledge regarding RFID technology," says Dave Sommer, director of RFID initiatives for CompTIA. "In the past, each vendor has done its own trainingwe'll eliminate some of that redundancy." Recently joining the challenge to educate RFID professionals is Zebra Technologies Corp., a supplier of business printing solutions (www.zebra.com). The company was the first to introduce an on-demand RFID printer/encoder and continues to develop industry protocols and technological standards. Research conducted by strategic consulting firm Frost & Sullivan shows that of 500 North American companies, roughly 50% have undertaken any type of RFID initiative or plan to do so dur-

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ing the next 12 months. But, a shortage of skilled RFID practitioners could hamper the development of the industrial RFID implementation, according to CompTIA. "As the number of RFID implementations continues to rise, certification will become increasingly important as a means for companies to ensure they are deploying the appropriate RFID systems to meet their business goals," says Bob Cornick, vice president of RFID at Zebra. Zebra is not alone in its work to develop the certification. A number of third-party logistics providers, professional industry groups and technology companies are also lending expertise. You can take a beta exam for the RFID certification on the CompTIA Web site. And, those who pass the beta examination will be awarded the certification. The current cost for the exam is $75, with the final version increasing to about $200 in March 2006, Sommer says.


NA 2006 education program set

March is not that far away.Which means it's not too early to make your plans for NA 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio (www. na2006.org). This year's show, set for March 2730, offers a bevy of new materials handling solutions, technology advancements and educational seminars. Leading the docket of activities is the free Executive Forumopen to all attendees and exhibitors.The forum features vice president of operations at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Jon Wettstein, who will speak on his operation's successful extended supply chain. Paul Matthews, senior vice president of Limited Logistics Services Inc.,The Limited, will discuss moving supply chain management into the boardroom and how maximizing efficiency

can drive profitability. Finally, the president of supply chain networks at Lucent Technologies Jose A. Mejia will provide insight on how Lucent was able to emerge from a tumultuous time with a revamped supply chain. NA 2006 visitors can look forward

to the RFID Education Center, which will detail the latest developments, technology, strategies and trends for enterprises facing the challenge of deploying RFID solutions into their supply chain.The center will explore new standards being developed in the industry as well as

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methods undertaken by companies having taken the RFID plunge. As in past years, attendees can take of advantage of free show floor seminars.The highly focused, half-hour seminars are hosted by industry experts in materials handling and logistics solutions, and will be conducted in specially designed theaters on the show floor.The seminars are scheduled to explore everything from lean manufacturing to warehousing management. A strong response has brought back the supply chain short course. Representatives from The St. Onge Company will explain methods of network optimization and critical factors in site selection. Using case discussion and methods developed by Richard Muther & Associates, attendees will learn how to integrate the five components of an industrial warehouselayout, materials handling, communications, utilities, and building designinto a cost effective facility.

Global supply chain seminar on demand

Available on demand, Modern's Global Supply Chain Conference can be accessed at www.mmh.com. James P. Womack, president of the Lean Enterprise Institute, delivers the keynote and addresses how the principles of lean production can be applied successfully to supply chain management. Womack is one of the world's leading authorities on leanand one of its most forceful advocates. He's the coauthor of the business bestsellers Lean Thinking and The Machine that Changed the World. His most recent book, written with long-time collaborator Daniel T. Jones, is Lean Solutions. Also participating in the conference is John Fontanella, senior vice president and research director of supply chain services at the Aberdeen Group. Fontanella discusses with Modern's editorial director Gary Forger the results of Modern's industry-wide survey of the latest buying and usage trends in materials handling equipment and systems and related information systems.A special emphasis of this session is the shifts in practices, issues and metrics that impact the throughput and efficiency within the four walls of the plant and warehouse.

Top supply chains identified

For the second consecutive year, Dell took top honors in AMR Research's Supply Chain Top 25, a list exemplifying the very best in supply chain practices. Published
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recently in "The AMR Research Supply Chain Top 25 for 2005," the list identifies the manufacturers and retailers that exhibit superior supply chain performance. Rounding out the top three performers are Proctor & Gamble, in the second spot, followed by IBM in third. Both companies moved up a spot from the previous year's rankings. Nokia falls two slots to fourth in 2005, while Toyota Motor moves into the fifth spot from sixth last year. Top supply chain leaders shape demand, instantly respond to market changes, and outflank competitors, according to AMR Research (www. amrresearch.com). Benchmarking data say leaders carry 15% less inventory, are 60% faster to market, and complete 17% more perfect orders. The report identifies what is publicly known about each company's past performance, and augments this information with analysis of future earning potential as dictated by supply chain dominance. The first component of the ranking is publicly available financial data, which comprises 60% of the total score and of that, return on assets and inventory turns account for 25%, and trailing 12 months growth accounts for 10%.The second component of the ranking is AMR's opinion, which is 40% of the total score.The opinion component was based on a structured voting methodology across AMR Research's team of analysts.

heart of the leader and he is not acting on it daily, then lean cannot be successful." He admits migrating to lean philosophies
Mike Gugger

is an exhaustive exercise. "CEOs have to reevaluate their personal beliefs as a whole, not just a culture," Gugger adds. "It's a matter of integrity. If you're saying one thing and doing another your subordinates will pick up on that. Setting a good example is key."

The changing culture of lean

Without leadership on the C-level advocating for a complete migration to a lean manufacturing philosophy for subordinates, truly lean manufacturing processes are an impossibility, according to Mike Gugger, manager of special projects at Techsolve (www.techsolve.org). Gugger, who has overseen many lean migrations, says leadership remains the key in making a commitment to lean. "The number one lean success indicator is leadership," he says. "If this isn't in the
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In one lean installation that Gugger directed, the CEO was reluctant to assume the responsibility as a lean leader. Once Gugger and his team of consultants left the site, the plant reverted to its old bloated ways. "A leader has to drive that culture change. Ideas for improvement come from the shop floor, but recognition and drive must come from the C-level office," he says. "Lean has to be a way of life." Gugger insists the change to lean must be gradual. "Institutionalizing lean is a long term behavioral change. It cannot be done in the short termit is a journey," he says. He adds that companies currently suggesting they are a completely lean organization "are lying to themselves." "If companies have not completely eliminated waste, then they are not completely lean," he says.


Keeping the dock safe

Dock shock and trailer drop are leading to operator injury and equipment damage. And despite the prevalance of these occurances, more can still be been done to curb the jarring incidents. Both situations occur when lift trucks enter and exit trailers, with and without heavy loads.The transfer point between the dock and the trailer is the site of considerable vibrationdamaging to both the driver and truck. To help curb operator injury and fatigue and to decrease costly equipment destruction, Rite Hite (www.ritehite. com) has engineered a solution that aims to smooth things out. The Dok-Lok vehicle restraint was engineered to hold trailers steady and to provide minimal vibration to lift truck operators when crossing the dock threshold. "We bridged the gaps between leveler and dock height," says Matt Sveum, project manager for the company. "We are finding up to a 50% reduction in vibration using the Dok-Lok."

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people to know
Stephen C.Turner has been named vice president of service for Remstar International, Inc Toyota Material Stephen Turner Handling U.S.A., Inc., (TMHU) announces several management changes, including Adam Hughes as national dealer sales Adam Hughes manager, Eric Robinson as national IT manager, Larry Sanders as fleet services manager and Curt Rhoades as rental and remarketing Larry Sanders manager Automatic Systems, Inc., announces that Robert A. Pierson has joined the enterprise as manager of industrial sales Creform names the following four associates to vice president positions: Kaz Tanikai, Keith Soderland, Zen Matsui and Joe Otake SATO America, Inc., announces the appointment of Terry Bresin as western regional sales manager Ozburn-Hessey Logistics names Karen Hall director of marketing and communication for the third-party logistics provider Deb Pitman has joined Orbis Corp. as director of supply chain management, responsible for all points along the company's supply chain, including sourcing, scheduling, materials and customer support. improve organizational productivity by giving workers a wireless mobile computer that delivers advanced levels of voice quality and can perform many activities that would otherwise require the use of several devices... TNT Logistics North America has opened a 250,000 square-foot distribution center for BMW of North America, LLC in Stockton, Calif.

We can be a resource beyond the sale of pipes, joints and components, helping you develop solutions to material handling problems and increasing worker productivity. Using the Creform System, well work with your team members to help implement continuous improvement and 5-S programs while eliminating non-value added waste. With over 600 Creform components available, we can help you create just about any material handling structure you might need. Workstations, flow racks, carts and automated guided vehicles... to improve your work environment. Creform. Easy to design. Easy to build. Easy to change... because lean manufacturing is never really finished.


company news
Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks officially opened its new Customer Focus Area in Houston to dealers attending the annual dealer conference in Houston Avaya and Symbol are joining forces to provide a joint solution designed to
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The fine art of making do

Innovative materials handling solutions often come from the most unexpected places.

Jim Apple, Founding Partner The Progress Group, A supply chain and logistics consulting firm

everal years ago I was driving home from North box against the stamp, rotating its print head. Presto! Carolina late one night. Tiring, I stopped at a rest print and apply. area for a quick nap. Upon awakening, my battery was My partner, Bob Ouellette, started his career in a too weak to start the car. small appliance factory. He recalls having a great deal A helpful soul stopped, but neither one of us had any of difficulty maintaining just the right tension on the jumper cables. But, he said it wouldnt be a problem. fabric for heating pad covers. The engineers struggled The kind stranger pulled his car up to mine until the with it until one day when an operator appeared with a bumpers touched and then proceeded to fishing pole. With a little special rigging, use the jack handle to span the positive it did the job for years. It became the Even when battery terminals. He instructed me to highlight of every plant tour. the right start the car. I was skeptical, but by Last month, I was in a facility in gosh, it worked! tools are not Canada. The warehouse manager, Joe Even when the right tools are not Fiorello, didnt have the benefit of a available, available, creative people find a way to warehouse management system (WMS) creative get the job done. They just make do. to support the operation. But, he created From my early years in the auto people find a a couple of clever make dos. industry, I became accustomed to workWhen product was low in a forward way to get the picking position, pickers released a places customized with cardboard job done. padding and duct tape to make up for spring-loaded flag from under the rack the ergonomic comfort that the engibeam. As it waved in the aisle, it was a They just neers left out. very visible signal to the replenishment make do. My own first warehouse make do operator to bring a new pallet. was in a four-story warehouse building At a large mail order house in with a freight elevator to get products up and a spiral England, it was important that each picker finish his or chute to get them down. Before distributed printing her batch in 18 minutes flat to feed an indexing delivwas common, getting orders to the upper floors was ery conveyor to the sorter induction stations. Each tedious. To improve it, we cut small holes in the floors picker was rated by picking rate and assigned a number and installed a rope over pulleys, top and bottom. Clips of pick lines accordingly. The dispatcher had mounted on the rope held orders on the clothes line as they a measuring stick on the bench so that as a picker were raised to the next floor. A doorbell signaled that announced his or her rating, fan-folded labels could be they were on the way. stretched along the table to the corresponding mark. At the same company, we had a common product What a simple work-balancing tool. label on which we stamped the part number for prodWeve all seen the broomsticks, poles and homeucts coming off the production line. The labels were made hooks for clearing jams on conveyors or in flow placed on the end of the boxes. As both a cost reducracks. I believe that by carefully observing the way the tion and productivity improvement, we found that our operators make do, we could learn a lot more about box supplier could easily print a blank label on the end the details of work-place engineering. of the box. And, to keep from double handling the selfinking stamp, we mounted it on the packing bench Jim Apple can be contacted at japple@theprogressgroup.com with a metal guide to permit the operator to push the


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Enter xx at www.edn.com/info


Towline conveyor
increases productivity
Case New Hollands conveyor system for 60,000-pound tractors pays for itself in less than a year.
By Sara Pearson Specter, Editor at Large

t its tractor manufacturing plant in Fargo, N.D., Case New Holland relies on a unique towline conveyor system to help workers assemble massive, articulated agricultural tractors. The system features four different connected, towline conveyors (SI Systems, 610-252-7321, www.sipasystems.com) that complete assembly of the 60,000 pound machines. Since implementing the system, Case New Holland has documented an assembly time savings in thousands of manufacturing hours. This savings alone allowed the company to recoup its initial investment less than a year after implementing the new towline system. The assembly process begins on a mainline indexing conveyor. This initial section uses two towline carts positioned back-to-back to support the tractor. The first cart carries the front axle half of the tractor unit, while the second cart supports the rear axle half. The tractor indexes through this phase of the system at 20 feet per minute as the front and rear axle assemblies receive power transmissions and other components. The system is configured in a U shape. At the indexing mainline conveyors midpointwhere the conveyor turns 180 degreesthe rear half carts divert to a separate indexing conveyor. This allows the front half carts to continue along the initial conveyor where they receive cab subassemblies and other parts. The separate indexing conveyor section features three workstations for additional build-up of the rear axles. Once the appropriate parts are added, the completed rear half carts merge back into the mainline indexing conveyor. There, the driveshaft and other

Case New Holland saved thousands of hours of manufacturing time by implementing a towline conveyor to help in the assembly of tractors.

partsincluding the main pivot assemblyphysically connect the tractors two halves. The now-joined halves of the tractor are then positioned at the starting point of the third conveyor section, a continuously moving, slow-speed mainline conveyor on which the final assembly takes place. To accomplish this transfer, a fourth towline conveyor the short auxiliary conveyor sectionadvances the connected tractor from the initial assembly mainline conveyor to the final assembly mainline conveyor. For final assembly operations, the mainline slowspeed conveyor of the third section transfers the tractors through a range of work areas. Running at a variable speed of 0.25 to 0.75 feet per minute, this mainline slow-speed conveyor handles 448,000 pounds of gross moving load. And, only one cart tows the tractor at this point, since the two halves are now connected. When each tractors assembly is complete and the finished product is removed, the empty carts are returned to the staging area to be re-engaged with the first mainline indexing conveyor, and the process begins again.
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Warehouse upgrade
gives orderpicking a lift
Navarre Corp. scores gains using new linear and spiral conveyors as well as pick modules and a voice system.
By Sara Pearson Specter, Editor at Large

ith growth and consolidation on the horizon, national distributor of entertainment media and software Navarre Corp. needed to increase warehouse size and upgrade an outdated orderpicking process. The old process relied on pallets, forklifts and hand-packing stations for outbound shipments. But Navarre of New Hope, Minn., needed to modernize operations with a multi-level concept for the new warehouse design (Keogh Consulting, 440526-2002, www.keogh1.com). With this expansion, Navarre installed two, threelevel pick modules (Bastian Material Handling LLC, 888-575-9992, www.bmhcorp.com). The design also has additional capacity for a third module. Other upgraded features include the integration of order wave management and a voice-directed picking system. Central to this success are nearly 5,000 feet of linear conveyors combined with spiral conveyors to transport goods throughout the facility. The spiral conveyors recirculate containers vertically between pick modules, saving valuable floor space. Spiral conveyors (AmbaFlex, 877-8001634, www.ambaflex.com) also allow for Spiral conveyors helped Navarre Corp. expand vertically increased capacity within the pick module with a new multi-level warehouse design. when compared to belt conveyors. The custom-designed spiral conveyors transport products cyclical picking with monthly new product releases between three levels with infeed elevations more than causing volume spikes for new stock keeping units 12 feet above floor level in some instances. (SKUs). Ultimately, total system requirements will The combined design allows Navarre to combine exceed 25,000 SKUs.

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Loading system
improves worker safety
Unilever-Bestfoods now loads significantly more trailers a day in less time while reducing product damage.
By Sara Pearson Specter, Editor at Large

o improve overall worker safety by significantly reducing fork lift traffic at a plant in Chicago, Unilever-Bestfoods Corp. implemented an automatic over-the-road truck loading system. The turn-key system automatically loads up to 145 over-the-road trailers a day. This throughput exceeds the food companys original target of loading 90 to 120 trailers a day, allowing for future growth. In addition to the automatic truck loading system (Advanced Systems, 248-647-2331, www.advanced systems.biz), the project included the relocation of five case palletizers to a warehouse adjacent to the facilitys shipping doors. Existing case conveyors were relocated to feed the palletizers. Meanwhile, a new pallet handling system accumulates and meters pallets to the automatic truck loading system (ATLS) at all six loading positions. The solution has led to several benefits to Unilever-Bestfoods. To begin, overall worker safety increased due to a significant reduction in fork lift traffic. This led to fewer vehicles and redeployment of those operators elsewhere in the facility. The reduction of the fork truck fleet has also reduced the associated maintenance costs. Unilever-Bestfoods ATLS runs continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with minimal supervision. Product damage has been reduced. Load accuracy is now 100% because the system automatically scans

At Unilever-Bestfoods, the automatic truck loading system (pictured between loads) sequences, transfers and places loads in a variety of trailer sizes.

and confirms the placement of all pallet loads inside the trailers. As needed, the ATLS can automatically direct a portion of production to forklift pick-up locations for manual rail car loading. The system handles two, 3,000 pound pallet loads simultaneously. Pallet loads are positioned in a range of patternsincluding pinwheelinginside a variety of conventional, unmodified common carrier trailer sizes. The ATLS also allows unimpeded access for conventional fork trucks to dock doors not used by the system. A custom software package maximizes sequencing, accumulation and logic for metering pallet loads to the ATLS. It interfaces with the companys control, verification, and business management systems. And the system software can be programmed to accommodate priority picks.


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Higher productivity, more efficient warehousing and a new approach to handling slow movers are the drivers behind Mercedes' newest parts DC.

Fast lane for slow movers

By Jeff O'Neill, Associate Editor

hen Mercedes Benz decided to open a Northeast regional distribution center, the companys objectives were threefold.

First, it needed a new, more productive DC to replace an outdated one in Maryland. Second, Mercedes wanted to establish a central location, known as a regional master DC, for all of its slow moving parts in the United States. Third, the automaker needed a greenfield facility to launch its new lean distribution initiative in North America. And by all indications, Mercedes met all three objectives. Based in Robbinsville, N.J., the DCs design mirrors that of a DaimlerChrysler DC in France that is known for its efficiency and productivity at storing and distributing parts throughout that country. The Robbinsville DC is more than 450,000 square feet and processes 15 truckloads daily to 105 dealers across the Atlantic seaboard. In addition, between 800 and 1,200 packages of air freight shipments are delivered to 230 dealers across the U.S.
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Lori Gonzalez, supervisor of regional master operations



warehousing /distribution

Mercedes' pick tunnel is set to accommodate all of the car maker's slow-moving parts for the entire United States.

Located just one hour from a major Northeast shipping port, Robbinsville proved ideal for the automaker to relocate its smaller DC in Baltimore. The Baltimore site [200,000 square feet] couldnt accommodate our needs for a regional master (DC), says Lori Gonzalez, supervisor of regional master operations. We feel that this site not only accomplishes our goals currently, but allows for future expansion as well. In fact, the DC has already made its mark. Very quickly, we increased our overall productivity by over 30%, Gonzalez says. And, thanks to the new distribution strategy, our line counts went up, and our touches went down. Meanwhile, the DC is in the process of receiving all slow movers from the automakers other four DCs in the U.S. When that is completed, Robbinsville will be the sole U.S. supplier of slow-moving parts, which equals 80% of all stocked part numbers. Central to the DCs overall success now and in the future is a conveyor system (Gebhardt USA, Inc.) that allows us a more efficient operation, Gonzalez notes. Materials flow Serving as the cornerstone of the operation, the conveyor coordinates path placement with the warehouse management system (WMS) to determine appropriate routes for each tote. Routes maintain proper direction through a series of bar code readers that relay information to the WMS that then directs the conveyor to either divert parts or keep them on their way. At the end of the conveyor causeway is a three-level picking tunnel that Gonzalez and others call the stollenthe German name for a tunnel dedicated to medium-sized, fast-moving parts. Within the tunnel, workers putaway and replenish. Armed with handheld bar code readers and directed by central computer terminals located at each of the three levels of the tunnel, workers ensure that outgoing totes are verified for contents and directed on their proper path (see layout drawing for details on the flow of inventory in the DC). With more than 160,000 separate storage locations, the Robbinsville DC is in constant motion. A complex series of checksthrough manual and automated bar code readers keeps inventory flowing. Built on a standards-based work environment for associates, the management team has developed a series of expected work benchmarksa high and low range by areato each worker and through coaching, we expect each individual to meet those goals, Gonzalez explains. Identifying those effiM O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 6





warehousing /distribution

Mercedes Robbinsville, NJ
PRODUCT: Mercedes auto parts SQUARE FOOTAGE: 456,128 SKUs: 58,000 EMPLOYEES: 87 SHIFTS: 3, 8.5 hours each
Small Parts Storage

Stollen Pick Tunnel

Oversize Pallet Storage

Hazmat and Hold Storage

1 0

1 0

Medium/Bulk Storage

Bulk Storage

Bulk Staging Conveyor

7 1 Conveyor Shipping Lanes 1

Cross-dock location

Sort/ Inspect

1 Receiving

Bulk putaway Parts are received 1 via five inbound docks at the Mercedes DC and separated into lanes dependent on part size. For bulk storage, workers scan each palletainer load and affix printed labels from the WMSreceived from a nearby central terminalfor storage location on each part for putaway. If the part is a rush order, the associate will bring the part over to a crossdock location 2 at shipping for same day shipping. Workers employ stock pickers to transport palletainers over-the-road trucks, through receiving, to bulk staging 3 , and then to bulk storage 4 , in standard 30-foot racks. Very large, palletized parts are sent to oversize pallet storage 5 Once the palletainer is delivered to its location, the associ. ate will scan the location bar code on the rack and confirm the item number and quantity on the handheld reader. Small/medium parts putaway Once unloaded from inbound freight, small parts are staged in one lane on the receiving floor. Workers then sort and inspect 6 each container, prompting the WMS to print tags indicating storage location for each part within the palletload. If the part is a rush order, an associate will bring the part over to a crossdock location 2 for same day shipping. Once tagged, parts are placed in totes on conveyor 7 , based on storage location. Bulky medium-sized parts are placed on carts and wheeled over to medium/bulk storage 8 . Once parts arrive at storage destinations in

small parts storage 9 or the stollen 10 , workers scan each putaway tag per item, directing small items to a specific storage location. Once the line item is stored, associates scan the location bar code and verify the storage activity through their handheld linked to the WMS. Small/medium parts picking For small- to medium-sized parts, the WMS will print a paper pick ticket that workers receive at central terminals on any level of the small parts storage 9 or stollen 10 for system-directed picking. Workers then manually pick parts and scan each location of each line itemeither an each or any number of the same partin order for the WMS to be updated. Once scanned, printed labels are placed on each line item when placed in a tote on the conveyor 7 . Each tote load is determined by the shipping destination of each part.The tote is then introduced down the conveyor path where overhead scanners on the conveyor direct the route of the tote. Loads are then diverted to a perpendicular leg of conveyor in shipping 11 , where workers build pallet or cage loads dependent on dealer location. Bulk picking Associates receive paper pick tickets via a central terminal near bulk storage 4 . Workers pick each line item using a stock picker and scan the location bar code.The line item is directly taken to shipping 11 where shippers build loads based on dealer locale.

ciency gaps makes jobs easier and increases productivity. Regional philosophy Central to the standards-based environment, Gonzalez explains, is the companys push into the regional master strategy. In fact, Robbinsville processes onethird of all parts sales orders in the U.S.

Mercedes operational philosophy is based on seven core concepts: Minimize processes and unnecessary steps to quicken work flows Identify product defects before shipping to decrease returns Discover methods to eliminate occurrences of damages Eliminate double handling in trans-

portation to decrease touch and/or handling costs Attempt to eliminate excess motion to cut down on unnecessary worker strain and curbing the possibility of injury Eliminate waiting for product in picking, putaway or delivery to ensure even work flowsreassigning people to the most appropriate work area to mainmmh.com


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warehousing /distribution

Signature bins move rapidly through the warehouse operationchecked on their way by overhead and side bar code scanners.

tain the ideal flow and Identify barriers or gaps to correct inefficiencies in the work flowhelping to increase standards. We are cutting down on extra handling, which is wasteful, and we continually search for ways to streamline our processes, Gonzalez mentions as results of the their new operations philosophy. The challenges of startup While the DC operates smoothly now, Gonzalez concedes that integrating the workforce into the new facility posed some of the more daunting challenges. Having closed the Baltimore DC on the Friday before July Fourth weekend, Gonzalez and her team were charged with opening the new facility the following Tuesday, without the benefit of the Baltimore facility operating as a backstop
Pickers at Mercedes use the conveyor system to stage and convey medium- and slow-moving parts.

in the event of monumental breakdown in Robbinsville. Instead of closing one DC and immediately opening another, Gonzalez says she would have gradually diminished Baltimores operationsto ensure customer demands were met and to take some of the initial pressure off Robbinsville. That first week was a killer with 60% of the warehouse workforce and 90% of the management staff being new, Gonzalez says. Our workers had ques-

tions that our team leaders couldnt answer because they hadnt been trained yet. A prime example was the conveyor system, an installation with more than two miles of track and multiple overhead and side bar code readers. Associates needed time to learn how to best use the conveyor to maximize productivity. Similarly, associates faced a learning curve with the DCs WMS. Establishing picking zones was an initial challenge


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warehousing /distribution

Order pickers build cage orders dependent on dealer and location and ship same day if orders are received before 5:00 p.m. EST.

that was overcome by experimentation with various pick paths. Once we got through the initial phase of implementation, she says, we were much better off. People power Playing a huge role in Mercedes move to Robbinsville from Baltimore is the companys commitment to the people who execute on the floor. Taking pride in the aesthetics of the facility, Gonzalez says little details go a long way in keeping associates satisfied. Switching from a facility that was well over capacity in Baltimore to what we have now makes a big difference, she says. From the brilliant blue color permeating every aspect of the infrastructure, to natural light and full-time air conditioning, employee

comfort was obviously a major priority in the initial design, Gonzalez says. Despite the more than three-hour drive from Baltimore, 35 of the 75 Mercedes employees made the trek north and continue to work for the distribution operation. These guys are my eyes and ears in here, Gonzalez says of the employees she

System Suppliers
CONVEYOR SYSTEMS: Gebhardt USA, 440-260-7600, www.gebhardtusa.com CONVEYOR-MOUNTED BAR CODE SCANNERS: SICK, 800-325-7425, www.sickusa.com HANDHELD BAR CODE READERS: Intermec, 425-355-9551, www.intermec.com LIFT TRUCKS: Crown, 419-629-2311, www.crown.com MATERIALS HANDLING CARTS AND CAGES: Cannon, 800-251-6235, www.cannon.com

oversees. They make it all go. Gonzalez explained that the move to a larger facility precipitated the hiring of more than 20% additional associates than were present in the Baltimore facility. And, while the larger workforce was able to ramp up throughput at roughly the same 20% margin, the company eliminated both overtime and temporary workers. Currently, the Robbinsville facility is processing 11,800 line items daily compared with 9,500 daily at the Baltimore site. And, she says, Our hours-worked compared to our linesout is improving every month. Going forward, Robbinsville is capable of massive expansionthe company expects to be operating at 1.2 million square feet in coming years. Gonzalez says she expects the small items storage area to add another level, bringing that locale to three floors of picking space. She adds, Were happy with what we have in place now, and are excited about the possibilities for the future.


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March 27-30, 2006 I-X Center Cleveland, OH

Focused Solutions For Your Supply Chain

The 2006 Material Handling & Logistics Show and Conference (NA 2006) is your one-stop destination for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution solutions. With a comprehensive showcase of exhibits and an Educational Conference outlining leading-edge equipment and technology, this is your must-attend event in 2006. By attending NA 2006, you can not only compare the latest material handling and logistics solutions at one time, at one place, but see how they work together to make your supply chain work more productively and protably.

Thousands of Solutions
NA 2006 will be the most comprehensive material handling and logistics event in the United States in 2006. Over 400 of the Industrys top providers will cover 150,000 square feet at Clevelands I-X Center. NA 2006 exhibits are organized into Solution Centers so you can easily nd solutions to: Solve manufacturing challenges Streamline fulllment and delivery Improve assembly logistics and support Take advantage of the latest IT solutions NA 2006 will provide perspective from industry leaders with over 50 Educational Seminars and a 1/2-day Executive Forum titled Breakthrough Achievements In High Performance Supply Chains all free to attendees. NA 2006 will also feature an RFID Education Center demonstrating the latest technologies, strategies and trends for enterprises incorporating RFID solutions into their operations.

NA 2006 is sponsored by:

Make Plans Now to Attend NA 2006!

By attending NA 2006 you can discover the latest solutions to help you differentiate your product, improve customer service and increase the overall protability of your supply chain. Plan now to attend this one-of-akind event from March 27-30, 2006 in Clevelands I-X Center. Find free on-line registration, detailed exhibitor information, Educational Session details, Show news and more on-line at www.NA2006.org or call 800-446-2622 or 704-676-1186.

Register today for FREE admission:

For information on exhibiting at NA 2006, contact Show Sales at 800-345-1815 or 704-676-1190

information management

While it hasnt happened overnight, RFID technology is beginning to transform the Department of Defenses supply chain from storage depots to the battlefield.

RFID on the front lines

By Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large

ast June, Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Supply Chain Integration Alan Estevez visited a Marine logistics unit in Iraq. Although Estevez has been at the forefront of deploying RFID technology for military applications, what he found surprised even him. If youre going to use RFID to achieve your endgoals, you cant just throw the technology up and expect it to work, Estevez says. You have to look at your business processes to get the most out of it. The Marines had done just that, linking together three different technologies for complete inventory visibility. The first was information about the contents of
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Marines in Iraq are using Web-based search tools, GPS-positioning technology and active RFID to track truckload shipments in the field in real time.

shipping containers provided by active RFID tags. The second was satellite-based vehicle tracking information. The third was an Army-developed logistics search system that allows a user to pull up a map of an area. By combining the three, a Marine could use coordinates to pull up a map of an area, locate vehicles with GPS, and then ping those vehicles to see what material is in the cargo containers.



Thats just one small site, but its a and commanders often ordered redunglimpse of what the power of this tech- dant inventory because they didnt know nology can do for us downstream, what was inside the containers. Not Estevez says. knowing whether they had spare parts Its also a glimpse at the benefits the meant they might order extra helicopters Department of Defense (DoD) may reap or tanks just to make sure they had from RFID. Thanks to enough operating equipment. more accurate and timely In those instances, they werent information, that one unit just shipping equipment. They reduced its inventory value were also shipping the parts from $127 million to $70 and crew to operate and mainmillion and its order backtain it. log from 92,000 requests Enter RFID. In 1992, for supplies to 11,000. DoD began to experiment They could do that with active RFID reusable because the soldiers in tags (Savi Technologies, 408the field could access the 743-8000, www.savi.com). same information and Alan Estevez, Soldiers would scan bar codes didnt reorder material, assistant under or manually enter information says Estevez. The dia- secretary of defense as they were loading shipping logue between logistics containers. That information and field units has changed from was written to an active tag to track the Where is my stuff? to Why isnt my cargo inside those containers. The stuff moving? because they can see it. technology was slowly adopted, showThat dialogue, however, didnt ing up in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and change overnight. Applications like the Kosovo. one being used by the Marines are the Each new implementation, however, culmination of nearly 13 years of work- started from scratch. Thats because the ing with RFID technology in the military military had not yet formulated a stansupply chain. The DoDs experiences dard approach to RFID. In 1997, we and timeline can provide valuable les- put out guidelines that said we should sons to private industry as it now looks consider RFID, says Estevez. But it for supply chain applications for RFID. was never embedded in training and was never embedded in policy. The first war Retailers are interested in RFID to reduce stock outs and redundant orders that result from a lack of inventory visibility. Reducing stock outs was also the impetus behind the DoDs adoption of RFID. During Desert Storm, we had to open 24,000 of the 44,000 containers we sent to the Gulf to ascertain their contents, recalls Estevez. That lack of visibility meant soldiers
Following Desert Storm, the DoD implemented a program using active RFID tags to identify the aggregated contents of shipping containers and large cargo pallets.

Enter Iraq The current conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq changed all that. In 2002, we were already in Afghanistan and beginning the preparations for Iraq, says Estevez. General [Tommy] Franks said he wanted all consolidated shipments coming into the theater to be RFID-tagged so we had visibility. That meant the military could no longer do RFID on an ad hoc basis, relearning lessons with each new implementation. Estevez was asked to pull together an RFID policy. In addition, Charles Fletcher, the commander chosen for the core support command in Iraq, had worked with RFID in Bosnia and understood the technology. The initial results, Estevez says, were mixed. The troops who came with General Fletcher knew how to successfully use the technology. Over time, however, those troops were augmented with additional troops and reserve units that had never seen an RFID tag. Those challenges were compounded when cargo was handed off to troops in the field, who were constantly on the move. Then, there were the natural elements, like working with RFID in a sandstorm. Even with those limitations, Estevez says visibility into inventory was significantly improved over the first Gulf conflict. In certain commodities, we were


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information management
able to go into battle with three days worth of material on the ground instead of the 30 to 60 days of inventory we needed for Desert Storm, says Estevez. Thats because we knew what material was in the pipeline. A way of doing business Fast forward to July 2004. With 12 years of implementation under its belt and success in Iraq, using active RFID for consolidated and containerized cargo and unit equipment became policy. Since then, the DoD has created a global RFID infrastructure that includes 1,500 read/write stations located around the world. Information collected by reading tags at those locations feeds a central database. Anyone with the right clearance can track an active tag moving through the system and access the data from that tag to look inside the container, says Estevez. That network can be accessed in a warehouse or on a base. In fact, a soldier on the battlefield using a portable RFID field pack equipped with a mobile reading unit and a radio modem or satellite link can even access the information.

Mobile RFID readers equipped with modems and satellite technology allow soldiers in the field to read tags and communicate with the DoD's host system.

rel of an M16, says Estevez. Out in the field, I might have a Marine working in 110 degree heat without material handling equipment while random rocket fire is coming in on him. Scanning a bar code so we have accountability isnt necessarily the first thing on his mind. The next step Thats where passive RFID tags come Active tags provide iteminto play. In the future, paslevel information about sive RFID tags, like those consolidated shipments. being used by Wal-Mart, will But collecting the informabe applied to products, cartion to populate those tags tons or pallets when they is still a cumbersome leave a suppliers facility. process, requiring bar code Those tags will be automatiscanning or manual data cally read when theyre entry. And, those shipments unloaded at one of the DoDs are eventually deconsolidat26 major supply depots. ed, especially in the field Those reads automatically where bar codes may not provide the information to get read all the time. receive the shipments into My stock speech is that the depot. When they are we neglected to include a consolidated for shipping, bar code scanner in the baranother read provides the information needed to popuBeginning this month, late the active tag on the shipthe DoD will use passive ping container. That means RFID technology to idenno more bar code scans. tify the individual pallets, cartons and large Once those shipping conparts within a shipping container. tainers are opened and pal30

lets, cartons or products removed, the passive tags will once again be read automaticallywhether that read takes place in a warehouse, on a ship or on the battlefield using a portable field unit. If we ever develop material handling equipment for the field, we will have RFID reading capability embedded in it, Estevez says. The first shipments are scheduled to begin this month going to Susquehanna, Pa., and San Joaquin, Calif. Estevez expects it will take about seven years to roll out passive RFID to all supply depots. The technology is expected to improve logistics in two ways. First, it brings financial savings. We did a very high-level business case focused on passive RFID, Estevez says. Our most conservative estimate was a $70 million return on investment over five years. The best case was $1.7 billion over those same five years. Beyond the financial savings, there is another benefit that cant be quantified but is every bit as important. RFID will lead to enhanced readiness for our troops, says Estevez. Thats the ability to have a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment up and operating when you need it rather than sitting idle in park. Click on mmh.com to learn more about active RFID applications.

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productivity solution

Palletizer keeps butter churning

With pressure to keep prices low, a dairy coops move from manual to robotic palletizing will pay off in less than two years.
By Jeff ONeill, Associate Editor aryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc. didn't need a better way to make butter: It needed a cheaper way. The regional milk marketing and processing cooperative, located in Reston, Va., serves nearly 1,500 dairy farms in 11 states. Among its locations is a manufacturing plant in Laurel, Md., that processes butter and processed milk. With pressure to keep dairy prices low, the cooperative members were looking for ways to improve production processes for its Laurel facilitys butter division. One area targeted for possible improvement was the packaging and palletizing process, which required manually packaging and palletizing its perishable butter in 50-pound and 25-kilogram boxes with plastic liners. This process, on average, required two and a half workers per shift and even more workers during seasonal shifts. To improve packaging efficiency, the company turned to a robotic palletizer (Westfalia Technologies, 717-764-1115, www.westfaliausa.com), which has reduced labor costs and risks associated with manual lifting. For this tool to work, a new surface needed to be poured over the old traditional brick floor. The robotic palletizer needed a level surface that contained less moisture. The palletizers rate, size, low power consumption, and simplicity fit Maryland & Virginias

A robotic palletizer reduces labor costs and risks associated with manual lifting at Maryland & Virginia Milk Coop.

requirements perfectly. The system as configured can handle six to eight cases per minute, lift up to 198 pounds and has a physical size of about 2.5 feet by 2 feet. An arm protrudes from the robot base to about 8.5 feet from center when fully extended. An additional benefit is that the palletizer requires only 220 volts of power, avoiding an investment in an electrical upgrade. One person can now operate the line, says Randall Fischer, assistant division manager at Maryland & Virginia. This system saves on manpower and eliminates the liability associated with a manual palletizing operation. Within two years, the palletizer will have paid for itself.
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Building a new S

By Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large

upply Chain Solutions CEO Les Brand and co-founder Jim Ward honed their skills in just-intime/just-in-sequence manufacturing with Saturn and Dell. Now, they use those practices to service the furniture industry in Grand Rapids, Mich. The third-party logistics (3PL) provider receives parts, components and raw materials from office furniture manufacturer Steelcases suppliers in small distribution centers near the manufacturing plants. Products are then stored and staged for delivery just-in-time and justin-sequence when needed by the plant. Today, Supply Chain Solutions has opened seven distribution centers serving Steelcase and Haworth, another office furniture manufacturer. The facilities, measuring between 100,000 and 150,000 square feet, are designed for quick turnaround. Staging lanes for plant delivery are emptied seven to nine times a shift. While some products are stored on shelves, most of the inventory remains in a distribution center for less than a day. For that reason, Supply Chain Solutions relies heavily on information technology, like its warehouse management system (WMS) to direct associates on the floor and monitor inventory levels for reorder points (Provia Software, 877776-8421, www.provia.com). Materials handling is limited to lift trucks, pallet jacks, simple rack and floor storage. Supply Chain Solutions didnt stop with just delivering product to the plant. The team convinced Steelcase and Haworth to collaborate on the delivery of the parts they purchase from common suppliers, reducing the number of loads coming into a Supply Chain Solutions distribution center and ultimately reducing transportation costs for both manufacturers. The collaboration alone has reduced transportation costs by 30 to 35% for all the participating OEMs, says Brand. Haworth tells us that for every dollar they spend on our activity,




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theyre saving four dollars in logistics and handling costs. Getting going In 2001, when Supply Chain Solutions began operations, Steelcase operated like most traditional manufacturers. Sales orders from customers went into a manufacturing planning system. Based on the manufacturing schedule, purchase orders were sent to suppliers for the parts needed to produce those orders. Seventy percent of Steelcases orders were short cycle orders, allowing just 10 to 12 days between receiving and manufacturing. The system allowed suppliers five days to manufacture and deliver their products. That meant inventory sat at a Steelcase plant for four days prior to production. Supply Chain Solutions replaced that model with a load control center (LCC) that supports inbound service centers. The two coordinate the delivery of parts. The LCC is the information management piece of the puzzle. It includes several different applications to consolidate and optimize information about orders at each inbound service center. An inbound service center is the materials handling piece, the distribution center where inventory from suppliers is consolidated, sequenced and then shipped to various plants. Pulling orders The first step when Supply Chain Solutions engages a customer like

Steelcase is to request a file transmission of all outstanding purchase orders to the supply base. That information goes into an order repository at the load consolidation center. The system puts the orders into a standardized format that is sent to associates working on the floor of the distribution centers. Associates are provided with purchase order numbers, the items that have to be pulled, and the time frame in which they have to be pulled to meet delivery pickups. The actual workflow is managed by the warehouse management system. Since inventory does not typically stay in the facility for long, many items are stored on the floor and some in racks. Most picking is done with pallet jacks or lift trucks. Picks are confirmed by scanning a bar code label. In addition to managing work, the WMS is also monitoring inventory levels. When stock dips below the reorder point, an e-mail is automatically sent to notify the supplier to replenish that item. Automatic notifications are also sent to the furniture manufacturers purchasing and planning departments. When deliveries are received at the inbound service center, a similar process takes place. Pallets are unloaded immediately with lift trucks. An associate scans a bar code with a purchase order number into the system. The system cross-references the order repository to determine whether the product will be placed into inventory or sent to a staging lane to be crossdocked to a manufacturing facility later that day. Collaboration With Steelcase onboard, Supply Chain Solutions began providing a similar service to other manufacturers, including Haworth. Because both manufacturers had some of the same suppliers for many parts and materials, there was some room for consolidation of the process. You had two trailers following each

other down the road to our facility and both were half full, says Brand. Supply Chain Solutions managers proposed they take charge of inbound transportation, combining the two orders on one truck to save both manufacturers money. We did a pilot, and after the pilot showed quite a bit of success, we expanded the concept out to multiple

While most incoming parts are shipped out on the same day as they are received, some inventory is stored in racks for several days.

System Suppliers
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Provia Software, 877-776-8421, www.provia.com LIFT TRUCKS: Caterpillar, 800-228-5438, www.catlifttruck.com RACKS: Leased from GE Capital, www.gecapital.com RF AND BAR CODE SCANNING: Intermec, 800-934-3163, www.intermec.com

regions across the U.S., says Brand. To coordinate that consolidation activity, Supply Chain Solutions created a supplier portal that receives orders from Steelcase and Haworth. When a supplier logs into the system, they acknowledge that they have an order by creating an advance pickup request (APR) in the system. The APR sends an automated signal to Supply Chain Solutions transportation management system, which plans the pickup in coordination with all the other activity in the transportation network. Once a pickup is planned with a carrier, information is sent back to the supplier to prepare for pickup. When the carrier picks up at the suppliers facility, they click off the APR. In turn, an advance shipping notification is sent to Supply Chain Solutions WMS


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An associate cross-references inbound parts to determine whether a pallet is staged for delivery to a plant or putaway for shipment later.

The New Generation in High Performance Lifting Equipment

system to prepare for receipt. When the purchase order is scanned at the inbound service center, the system determines not only whether the inventory is going into storage or to a staging lane, but it also allocates that inventory by customer. Although Steelcase and Haworth are collaborating on deliveries to the inbound service centers, shipments to their plants are segregated. Next steps Now that Supply Chain Solutions has optimized the delivery of parts to the plant, the 3PL is working with its customers to optimize other areas of the supply chain. For instance, a West Coast center pre-positions inventory from Asia for delivery to the Midwest. Another handles the refurbishment and reshipment of office furniture coming off lease. Brand even has plans to play a role in the design and purchase of materials that are common to all manufacturing customers, like protective dunnage for filing cabinets. The idea is that we could systemize the inventory and bring it into one large service center that could service multiple plants and customers rather than have multiple smaller service centers, says Brand. There you could really start to leverage scale. Click on mmh.com to learn more about how SCS optimizes inventory flow.

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Special Supplement

New Supply Chain Horizons

By Bridget McCrea

he third annual Global Supply Chain Conference (GSCC) 2005 featured an impressive lineup of speakers to discuss the latest trends, opportunities and challenges in supply chain and logistics management.
Francis J. Quinn
Editorial Director Supply Chain Management Review

This unique online event, which was sponsored by

Michael A. Levans
Chief Editor Logistics Management

Gary Forger
Editorial Director Modern Materials Handling

Supply Chain Management Review, Logistics Management, and Modern Materials Handling maga-

zines, drew more than 650 attendees in early December and is now available on demand at www.scmr.com/gscc. GSCC 2005 was developed to help logistics and supply chain professionals maximize their companies productivity and profitability. So it was no surprise that so many logistics and supply chain executives accessed the online event, eager to learn more about lean supply chains, global logistics, capacity shortages, freight visibility, and much more. This years GSCC featured keynote speeches and individual conference sessions, all moderated by Reed Business Information editors Francis J. Quinn (Supply Chain Management Review), Michael A. Levans (Logistics Management), and Gary Forger (Modern Materials Handling). Our aim was to create an event filled with featured speakers and workshop sessions that would provide the most value for attendees, said Quinn. The result was a very comprehensive, informative conference.


January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference G35

Special Supplement

GSCC Keynote

The Lean Supply Chain

KEYNOTE SPEAKER JAMES WOMACK kicked off the third customer-to-concept-to-launch cycles; annual GSCC with an intensive discussion of how comorder-to-delivery cycles (involving panies can apply lean manufacturing techniques to their information and production); and own supply chains. By applying principles originally delivery-to-recycling events. To set this developed on the manufacturing floor, Womack said, up, said Womack, customers and supcompanies can effectively drive waste out of their supply pliers must seek out the perfect, shared James Womack chains and reap significant benefits. Womack, the author process for every product. of the business best sellers The Machine that Changed Getting lean isnt always easy, admitted the World and Lean Solutions, is president of the Lean Womack, who said finding the right place to apply lean Enterprise Institute. techniques can be particularly challenging for companies. Using Toyota as an example, Womack discussed how He suggests using a simple formula developed and used lean concepts can help companies grow market share, by companies like Toyota and based on a shared, continupost strong profits, and stand tall as industry leaders. ous-improvement process that involves the company itself Toyota, he said, aims to be number one in as well as its trading partners and customers. Webcast sponsor: the global motor vehicle industry by 2007. Supplier and customer must work together Much of the automakers success, he said, on the presumption that every item has to get is based on brilliant supply chain management that cen- better and cheaper, and that every supply chain has to ters on lean concepts. become more responsive and flexible, Womack said. For companies to follow suit, Womack said, they must This can only be accomplished through a shared, continemploy a three-pronged value-creation process, based on uing improvement process.

Logistics Keynote

China: 10 Things You Need to Know

IN HIS KEYNOTE SPEECH, JOHN MANNERS-BELL spoke of the harsh realities of doing business in China, then followed up with a positive outlook and a few tips on how shippers can navigate the murky waters of foreign trade. MannersBell, CEO of Transport Intelligence Ltd., a U.K.-based market research firm, gave attendees an up-close look at the intricacies of moving freight into, out of, and around China. Some major issues have been glossed over as the media focuses on the opportunities, said Manners-Bell. Im here to give shippers a reality check. On his list of major logistics challenges, Manners-Bell cited issues such as government regulations (particularly those that control foreign access to Chinas market), a high level of bureaucracy, insufficient transportation networks, and a lack of distribution facilities. Also hampering logistics and transportation in China is a lack of training at both the Webcast sponsor: practical (IT, warehouse operations, etc.) and strategic (business management) levels. To overcome this shortfall, Manners-Bell said, companies such as DHL are establishing their own in-country training programs in major cities like Shanghai. DHL is spending about 3 to 4 per-

G36 January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference


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Special Supplement

cent of its total revenue in China on education, he said. Other challenges include a lack of IT standards, poor systems integration and equipment, an unreliable energy supply, and high transportation costs that in some cases may surpass rates in Japan, Europe, and North America by 50 percent. Steps are being taken to alleviate these and other

problems that companies face in China, said MannersBell, who added that the country is looking over its shoulders at competitors like Vietnam, knowing that it needs to act soon or risk losing its economic steam. China recently joined the World Trade Organization and is implementing a five-year plan to improve its transportation and logistics infrastructure, he noted.

Supply Chain Keynote

Succeeding in Real Time: The New Supply Chain Imperative

REAL-TIME MANAGEMENT HAS BECOME a popular concept in supply chain circles, where the one who can access accurate data the fastest holds the competitive advantage. In his keynote speech, Dr. Sandor Boyson of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and author of In Real Time: Managing the New Supply Chain, discussed the processing of real time information among all customers, distributors, suppliers, and manufacturers in the supply chain. Calling real-time operations a new business model, Boyson said the real-time supply chain is a result of highly streamlined physical, informational, and relationship networks. By enabling such information to occur, companies achieve a fluidity across the entire supply chain that wasnt possible with more traditional systems. Its the apex of intensive, organizational investment over many years, explained Boyson, who pointed to a coalition of tomato growers, led by Del Monte, as a prime example of real-time information in action. The virtual suppliers group comes together to meet the demands of a Wal-Mart distribution center and utilize a technical platform that allows the group to meet the retailers day-toDr. Sandor Boyson day requirements in a seamless fashion. This shows how the real-time model has penetrated even Americas most traditional industries, said Boyson, who added that in the case of the tomato growers, a customer order triggers multiple actions across the supply chain. Rather than using a sequential, step-by-step process, that single event prompts multiple actors in the supply chain into action, thus compressing time, cutting costs, and improving performance, he said.

Materials Handling Keynote

The State of Materials Handling in Manufacturing, Warehousing, and Distribution

EACH YEAR, MODERN MATERIALS HANDLING MAGAZINE surveys its readers to find out about their operations and key industry trends. In this keynote speech, Editorial Director Gary Forger and John Fontanella, senior vice president and research director, supply chain services for Aberdeen Group, discussed those survey results and the overall state of materials handling in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution.


January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference G39

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Providing the right products at the right time can mean the difference betw een lagging sales and market leadership. Epicor delivers supply chain management and warehouse management enterprise solutions that enable you to manage all aspects of your operations, from order fulfillment to warehouse management to supplier relationship management delivering real returns to the bottom line.

Both proven and reliable, Epicor supply chain solutions provide immediate access to the customer information, inventory and pricing you need to increase inventory turns, enhance customer service and improve profitability. Epicor enables you to streamline and optimize operations, improve customer service levels, and increase top-line revenues today.

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Special Supplement

More than 560 companies participated in the tors are currently at 90 percent or higher capaci2005 survey. From them, the magazine learned ty can be attributed to overall economic health that capacity utilization is on the rise, as is the and positive economic indicators. This is a need for more warehouse space and materials reflection of signs of productivity that are due handling equipment and solutions. Sixty-five to consolidation of distribution channels, and percent of respondents increased spending on the fact that companies are rethinking their the latter in 2005 (down from 71 percent in manufacturing networks, he said. 2004), while 6 percent decreased spending (com- John Fontanella According to the survey, top materials hanpared to 3 percent in 2004). dling buys were lift trucks (66 percent); racks Fontanella said that limited access to capital may be and shelving (57 percent); totes, bins, and containers (42 putting a clamp on companies costs. Companies are percent); dock equipment (41 percent); and packaging spending money, but they have to see almost immediate and pallets (40 percent). This tells me that companies payment and benefits from their investments, he added. are trying to deal with growth, Fontanella said. Thats The fact that the bulk of manufacturers and distribua positive sign.

Conference Session

How Technology Can Demystify Global Logistics

LIKE IT OR NOT, TODAYS COMPANIES are operating is accurate, complete, and compliant with Webcast sponsor: in a global economy. The trend has put a new internal and external standards. He shared slate of challenges in front of shippers that are stories of his own experiences as a logistics already grappling with a capacity crunch and manager, when his company once was fined soaring freight rates. In this GSCC session, Robert by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bernardini, a business consultant at SSA Global, for improperly shipping hazardous materials. discussed how companies that are moving from We found out that a sales office had the domestic market into foreign territories can shipped a can that was under pressure, and piece together the complicated global logistics puzzle. that exploded while in the air, Bernardini recalled. While not a cure-all for global logistics woes, technology Turns out it wasnt declared properly, and the responsican serve as a vital link between U.S. companies and their bility came to bear on corporate to ensure everyone had overseas activities. According to Bernardini, shippers can an understanding of the regulations. use IT to more effectively link transportation and To avoid such situations, Bernardini recommended, import/export processes. It also can help shippers ensure shippers can turn to software programs and in-country supply chain security, process security, correct documenta- partners (such as freight forwarders and third-party logistion, accurate total landed costs, and inbound and outtics providers)two of the most important tools that bound visibilityall in an effort to achieve complete any company can have on hand. global agility, he said. While software cant totally demystify the global Technology is helping fill the gaps with tools designed process, he said, it can assist with the process of streamto simplify procurement, logistics, and compliance, said lining global shipments and making them look like Bernardini, who walked attendees through the steps necdomestic shipments while still ensuring that the approessary to ensure that their import and export information priate screening and documentation gets done.


January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference G41

Special Supplement

Conference Session

Improving Freight Visibility

THIS SESSION, PRESENTED BY SSA GLOBAL business consultant Steve Vail, included a discussion of a topic of utmost priority for most business and supply chain managers: freight visibility. Webcast sponsor: Vail built the case for improving freight visibility and supply chain security because of the ongoing threat of terrorism. He also exposed visibility as one of the key components of a lean supply chain and an important enabler of successful global trade. With many of todays shippers relying on a patchwork of manual processes and computer systems throughout the cash-to-cash cycle, Vail said, fragmented information, delays, and inefficiencies are common. In fact, he said, 74 respondents to a recent survey said that they continued to incur extra costs for expediting shipments to make up for such shortcomings. The first step to improved visibility, Vail said, requires a hard look at the communication taking place between a company and its largest carriers. Make sure youre communicating properly via EDI channels, the Web, or another channel, he advised, then scale it down the line to all of your carriers. Companies should also realize that information is becoming as importantor, in some cases, more importantthan the shipment itself. To shippers that may not have a handle on visibility yet, Vail said, youre not too far behind. Start small and rack up some success using visibility, Vail continued. Keep expanding on those successes and getting better, and youll see results down the line.

Conference Session

ERP vs. Best-of-Breed Software: How High-growth Companies Make Their Decisions
IN THIS COLLABORATIVE SESSION, MMH Editorial Director Gary Forger; John Hill, principal and board member at ESYNC; Jon Kuerschner, vice president of applications at HighJump Software; and Chris Utgaard, COO of Sportsmans Warehouse, discussed how high-growth companies are working through the decision process for selecting an ERP system or bestWebcast sponsor: of-breed supply chain execution software. Its not a decision to be taken lightly, said Forger. The challenge is to find the most suitable solution that brings together processes, solutions, and people. In the end, its all about finding the best way to manage inventory and its movement while watching out for the best ROI.

John Hill

Chris Utgaard

Jon Kuerschner

Hill noted that the process starts with determining if an existing ERP can handle the task or if a best-of-breed (BoB) system would be a better choice. This can be accomplished through a thorough analysis of the functionality required to optimize your supply chain performance, he said. Kuerschner said companies with less complex, lower-


January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference G43

Special Supplement

volume facilities that have predictable business processes requiring little or no materials handling would do best with an ERP solution. Those firms with more complex environments would gravitate toward a BoB solution. Utgaards company recently upgraded to a BoB-type warehouse management system and a leading ERP vendors product for its order management system. After implementation, the company experienced a 50 percent increase in picking efficiency, as evidenced by its ability to service 50 percent more stores with a constant labor force.

Sportsmans Warehouse now posts inventory accuracy of 99.9 percent and improved order accuracy and fill rates. When making the choice between ERP vs. BoB, Hill cautioned, companies should not seek silver bullets, because there is no such thing. Establish a roadmap and allocate the time and resources necessary to do the job right on the first pass, he said. Keep in mind that although a WMS may well be where you begin, its not an endgame. Rather, it should serve as a cornerstone for enterprise-wide supply chain excellence.

Conference Session

How to Overcome the Capacity Shortage

CAPACITY SHORTAGES ARE ON ALL SHIPPERS MINDS these days. In this session, Richard Armstrong, chairman and CEO of Armstrong and Associates Inc., and Jim Handoush, president of Landstar Logistics Inc., offered an overview of the conditions that are causing the capacity crisis and offered solutions for shippers. Armstrong opened the session by reviewing the history of the capacity shortage and the grim realities behind it. The good news is that the capacity crunch isnt going to get any worse, said Armstrong. The bad news is that short-term, its going to be at the same level as it was in 2005. According to Armstrong, containerized ocean freight volume was up 10 to 22 percent through September 2005, with ports in Webcast sponsor: Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York, and New Jersey posting significant gains. Higher seasonal trade volumes and the hurricanes both impacted capacity, said Armstrong, who pointed to a lack of truck drivers and warehouse space as other key drivers of this continuing problem. Handoush shared stories of shippers who have found ways around capacity issues by relying on their 3PL partJim Handoush Richard Armstong ners. One retail shipper that uses a core carrier concept, for example, recently integrated its 3PL into that core mix (rather than just using the 3PL as a safety net when capacity gets tight) and has gained flexibility as a result. To get around the crunch, Handoush said, shippers should think of carriers as an extension of their own companies (for example, by ensuring that trucks are turned around quickly at the dock). Look at yourself and how youre doing business, how youre treating vendors, he explained. Start to effect some change, knowing that long-term success requires the support of long-term vendors.

Freelance writer Bridget McCrea is a contributing editor for Logistics Management magazine. She frequently writes about supply chain technologies.


January 2006 Global Supply Chain Conference G45

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overhead handling
The ED single phase, electric chain hoist line now includes two, -ton models: the single-speed ED1050S and dual-speed ED1050DS. Compact ED hoists can be easily installed and offer high lifting speeds.The dual-speed model includes a low-speed adjustment capability from zero to 100% of maximum speed. Features include a double braking system for added protection, heavy-duty motor, friction clutch to prevent overwinding as well as corrosion-resistant, nickelplated load chain. Harrington Hoists, 800-233-3010, www.harringtonhoists.com designed to handle sheets in widths of four, five or six feet and lengths ranging from eight to 12 feet. Simonds International, 800-343-1616, www.simondsinternational.com


Custom designed for specific lifting applications, STRONG-MAG lifting frames securely move metal sheets in plants. The lifting frames can be easily attached to an overhead crane or a forklift and lowered onto the sheets to be moved, avoiding operator contact with sharp, metal sheet edges. The two different modelsoverhead or "portable" forklift versionscan be


The upgraded MSI-4300 PortaWeigh Plus electronic crane scale features a rechargeable 12volt, sealed lead acid battery and LED backlight display.The battery provides up


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overhead handling

to 300 hours of operation between charges and the six-digit, 1.6-inch high alphanumeric liquid crystal display with LED backlighting is easily read from a distance. Digital calibration and selfdiagnostic circuitry provide simple maintenance. Measurement Systems International, 800-874-4320, www.msiscales.com


Lodestar Air XL air hoists have capacities from 2 to 7.5 tons and are metric-rated. Air pressure is 90 psi and lifting speeds range from nine feet

per minute for the 7.5-ton capacity to 31 feet per minute in the 2-ton capacity model. Pendant controls provide precise load spotting and precision spool valves meter air for smooth starts. Spark resistant models for hazardous environments include copperplated hooks and lower-bottom blocks, stainless steel hook latches and plated load chain. CM Industrial Products, 800-888-0985, www.cmindustrial.com


Wire rope hoists are available in capacities of three, five or 10 tons.The hoists feature a heavy-duty design, high cycling motors and accurate positioning with a 6:1, two-speed motor.The hoists also offer increased contactor

life due to the low current switching that is controlled through an onboard microprocessor. Additional features include standard overload protection, upper and lower limit switches, brake wear monitoring and load spectrum recording. Demag Cranes and Components Corporation, 440-248-2400, www.demag-us.com



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overhead handling


Ceiling-mounted workstation bridge cranes are ideal for facilities with limited floor space. The systems provide infinite coverage without interfering support columns. With crane interlock

sections, ceiling-mounted systems can be linked to a monorail or another bridge crane. The ceiling-mounted systems feature a low-profile steel track that allows for maximum use of ceiling space. Standard systems are available in capacities from 250 to 4,000 pounds and up to 34-foot bridge lengths. Custom ceiling-mounted workstation bridge crane systems with telescoping bridges or cantilevered bridges are available for lifting loads outside the regular crane coverage area. SPANCO, 610-286-7200, www.spanco.com


The VPF-57 vacuum lifter features a custom lifting frame with two swiveling vacuum suction pads that can be

adjusted and locked in place. Available with capacities up to 4,000 pounds, this lifter can be supplied with compressed air, 115-volt electric or battery-powered vacuum stations. Eliminating the use of straps and hooks that can damage molded parts, the VPF-57 also features an ergonomic handle with fingertip controls that can be fully integrated with any hoist. Anver Corporation, 800-654-3500, www.anver.com

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M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 6



The "P Series" of low-level order pickers is based on the P-Type chassis and is designed for picking orders from the first and second levels in warehouse racking. Two base versions of the lift trucks are available, with the driver position fixed (for


A vertical swivel lock on heavy-duty casters is mounted at a 90-degree angle to the top plate providing much easier access to the operator.The new design reduces the amount of bending required by the operator.The swivel lock provides fingertip conversion of a swivel caster to a rigid caster for straight line steering control. Hamilton Caster & Mfg. Co., 800733-7655, www.hamiltoncaster.com


picking at first level) or rising (for picking at second and sometimes third levels). Both can be supplied with either low- or high-lift forks to suit the type of picking regime adopted and the nature and volumes of the products to be picked. Atlet, Inc., 714-701-4949, www.atlet.com ROPAK industry standard containers are built on a 45-inch x 48-inch footprint and are available in two heights25 and 34 inches. Engineered to be lighter in tare weight than standard footprint containers, the containers offer capacities up to 1,500 pounds.This construction

makes them ideal for storage and transportation of a variety of lighter-volume contents, including aluminum components, blow-molded bottles and vacuumformed food trays. LINPAC Materials Handling, 888-209-7052, www.linpacmh.com


The MAH200 universal bar code reader automatically discriminates between all major 2-D matrix and linear bar code symbologies.The readers incorporate a dualpath, optical system, a 1.3 million pixel CMOS sensor and a 400 MHz processor. Their reading system supports high-density matrix codes and larger low-density linear codes and high-speed omni-directional decoding.The bar code readers are available in handheld, gun handle and presentation-stand form with cabled, batch and cordless versions. Pepperl+Fuchs, 330486-0001, www.am.pepperl-fuchs.com


SELECTRAK makes it happen!


A multi-drawer cabinet features a full-width ergonomic handle, a choice of 100 drawer sizes, 12 colors and different drawer banks. A variety of drawer accessories such as partitions, dividers and plastic bins are also available.The cabinet, which can be moved by a forklift or pallet jack, is also offered in a mobile version. Rousseau Metal Inc., 800463-4271, www.rousseaumetal.com

Selectrak, which comes in 4 widths, is a custom carton flow that installs in your existing rack system without tools and without the custom price. You can count on us for the most competitive prices and for the best delivery in the industry!

Easy installation, featuring heavy-duty drop-in design Provides total carton support and consistent flow Presents product for easy picking of split and full case
Contact us today for more information.

Toll-free: 888-301-1421 E-mail: tegan@engprod.com


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The AccuVision internal backlit conveyor is designed to provide more accurate visual inspection procedures for a range of industries.The conveyor's internal lighting system projects a strong, uniform light field through the translucent belt on the low profile conveyor-illuminating part profile and appearance for automatic or manual inspection capabilities.The internal light source is rated for 16,000 hours. Conveyor Technologies Ltd., 513-248-0663, www.conveyortechltd.com

The NO-LIFT semi-automatic palletizer is designed to reduce worker fatigue and eliminate potential injury from lifting and stacking boxes onto shipping pallets. Boxes come from an in-feed conveyor and are easily positioned on the ball transfer table forming a layer. Once a layer is full, the operator simply pushes a button and the NO-LIFT stacks the boxes and lowers the pallet for the next layer. Full pallets are removed with a lift truck and replaced with an empty pallet.The NO-LIFT raises the pallet to the correct height to begin again. A scissor-lift transfer table and all controls are included. Powell Systems, Inc., 765-884-0613, www.powellsystems.com

Stackable & Nestable l l


Quick discharge of materials into elevated hoppers or processing equipment is possible with a hydraulic trough dumper. Features include a 60-degree discharge angle for non-free flowing materials, a 304 stainless steel bucket with polished welds, a 2,000-pound lifting capacity and washdown construction for wet environments. Material Transfer & Storage Inc., 269-673-2125, www.materialtransfer.com


A conveyor system features "safetyyellow" belting with electrostatic discharge properties and an engineered modular frame.The conveyors also offer a non-tensioning drive system that guides moving parts. Safety snap-link belting protects operators from injury by acting like a fuse to separate during overload or jams.These conveyors are shipped fully assembled and include a quiet variable speed, direct-drive brushless DC motor that can carry loads up to 200 pounds. SmartMove Conveyor, 800-581-2876, www.4smartmove.com


M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 6

classified / recruitment
Bar Code Equipment/Systems Career Opportunities Products for Sale

New/Used BUY & SELL Nationwide!!


Used Rack, Conveyor, Shelving, Forklifts INVENTORY NEEDED

Liquidation Services Provided Lead Fees Paid! 1-800-331-8770 www.amh-corp.com

Fleet Site Manager Take your career to new heights! Toyota, the number one brand name in forklifts, is currently seeking a Fleet Site Manager at the NUMMI facility in Fremont, CA. You will oversee the TMHU Fleet Operations, ensuring delivery of contractual responsibilities, and maintaining positive relationships with both NUMMI management and TMHNC personnel. This position will also be responsible for providing recommendations for cost savings and equipment replacement decisions, facilitating best practices to improve eet operations, reviewing budget variances, and coordinating equipment and services purchase orders with NUMMI purchasing. Bachelor degree preferred. Individuals with extensive knowledge of repair and maintenance of lift trucks, and, experience with managing a material handling eet will be seriously considered. Budget process experience preferred. Excellent communication and customer relations experience a must. Email resume & salary history to jenny. yang@tmhu.com.

For information on how to get

Modular Solutions

Ergonomic Tote Moving

NEW! HT Series


FREE eNewsletter subscriptions from MMH please visit our Web site at


Modular Racking

Lean Mfg & Lean Cost

DIY Cost Effective Alternative www.quixxsmart.com 1-877-416-8212

Modular racks 28mm plastic jacketed tube & steel fittings. Visit us at:

Move nested or stacked totes efciently & injury claim free! Satisfaction guaranteed trial.

Supply Chain Solutions

Supply Chain Rx
If your supply chain is giving you aches and pains, Mericle Logistics will make it better. Located along the I-81 Corridor, Mericle Logistics offers public and contract warehousing, transportation, and a full range of value-added services. Look to Mericle Logistics for YOUR strategic supply solution.
Call Rudi Biscontini at 570.823.1100 for more information. www.mericle.com/logistics

1-800-363-0697 tote-pro@doverco.com www.tote-pro.com

www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com www.mmh.com

Systems Integration


Responsive Reliable Ready

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classified / recruitment
Extra Storage

Add flexibility to your fleet with XTRA Lease storage trailers.

AFFORDABLE Pay less for a safe, dry warehouse on wheels. RELIABLE Built tough with specs that pull their weight. Clean and dry interiors.

FLEXIBLE Choose the time frame and trailer size that best fit your storage needs. Rent for up to a year, lease for a year or more or buy. Weatherproof 28, 45, 48 and 53 trailers.

GUARANTEED If you dont like your trailer, well replace it guaranteed.

For more information on how to place your ad in this section

Please contact:

Subject to credit approval and proof of insurance. Equipment availability varies.

Subject to Call today for the best availability. credit approval

Michael Latchford
Toll free: 888-467-2618 mlatchford@reedbusiness.com

1-800-367-9872 www.xtralease.com

and proof of insurance. Equipment availability varies.

advertiser index
Page #
Alien Technology alientechnology.com/da Battery Filling Systems 14 Creform Corporation creform.com 15 800-522-5431 864-877-7405 419-629-2311 847-382-1579 207-784-1381 864-234-4888 800-997-7528 877-935-4564 973-467-3323 13

Phone #
408-782-3900 HighJump Software thehighjumpchallenge.com Intelligrated intelligrated.com

Page #
37 6

Phone #
Pewag Chain 877-445-4403 513-701-7300 RFID World rfid-world.com

Page #
34 18 8 8 8 3 8 8 7

Interlake Material Handling interlake.com 2 1-800-INTERLAKE J & D Associates, a Division of United Fixtures jdstorage.com C-3 800-444-4532 Landoll Corp. landoll.com Landstar Logistics landstar.com Manugistics Inc manugistics.com 8 46 42 800-428-5655 866-660-1135 301-984-5000

Schaefer Systems Intn'l, Inc. ssi.schaefer-us.com 4 SSA Global ssaglobal.com/demanddrives/na 38, 44 Tier-Rack Corporation tier-rack.com 47

Crown Equipment Corporation crowntough.com C-2 Dehnco Equipment Co. mmh.dehnco.com Diamond Phoenix diamondphoenix.com 11-12 9

Toyota Industrial Equipment toyotaforklift.com Cover 4 Transbotics transbotics.com 48

Engineered Products Corp. engprod.com 50 Epicor Software Corp. solutions.epicor.com/mmh0601 40 FKI Logistex fkilogistex.com Flexcon Container Div. flexconcontainer.com 16 51

Material Handling Industry of America NA2006.org 27 704-676-1190 Matthews International Company/Holjeron holjern.com 49 412-665-2500 Murata Machinery USA, Inc./Automated Systems muratec-usa.com 10 704-394-6900

Tstrata Floor Strengthening Systems www.tstratafloor.com 34 8 Wulftec/MJ Maillis Group wulftec.com 48 877

This index is an additional service.The publisher does not assume any liability for errors or omissions.


M O D E R N M AT E R I A L S H A N D L I N G / J A N U A RY 2 0 0 6


one-on-one interview FA C T B O X
Thomas Moore
COMPANY: Northeastern University LOCATION: Boston, Mass. TITLE: Dean of the College of Business Administration TOTAL ENROLLMENT: 4,000 grads and undergrads in College of Business Administration EXPERIENCE IN ACADEMIA: 30 years in education administration

Thomas Moore on why Northeasterns MBA program is newly focused on supply chain management.
We have chosen supply chain management for repositioning our MBA program for a number of reasons. We believe that SCM has had a transformative effect on many industries in the last few decades and will continue to play an important role in creating value for companies such as Bose, Raytheon and Tyco.These companies and others such as UPS, Federal Express and Maersk have recruited our students and sent executives to visit our classes. Under professor Bob Liebs leadership, Northeastern has been offering a logistics/supply chain management undergraduate program for 35 years and a graduate certificate for more than a decade.Although our SCM programs have been small, demand for our co-op students and our graduates has always been strong.We expect now that it will only be stronger. The new MBA program defines the companies that hire our graduates as the customer and our students as partners in the educational process.We believe that by working with corporate partners, we can create graduates who make an immediate contribution in the supply chain realm. SCM is a natural career path for Northeastern; we have a strong faculty who understand the industry and who are frequent contributors to both academic and industry journals. Northeastern Universitys 100-year history in cooperative education has provided us with a natural affinity for working with corporations to solve business challenges.


seconds with...

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They may not look alike, but theyre closely related.

The same technology that helps the Toyota 4Runner negotiate a steep descent* also helps operators of our three-wheel electric lift truck maintain control on loading dock ramps. Its yet another reflection of our commitment to your safety and productivity. 1-800-226-0009 www.toyotaforklift.com
*Downhill Assist Control standard on 4WD models, not available on 2WD.