Last November, I took a snapshot in time comparing the state of the material handling industry and its supply chain pre-COVID to late 2021. It's time for another snapshot as to the current "state of the union".
MODEX, the premier trade show for the Material Handling industry, just wrapped up its 2022 conference with one major theme: Automation! I've been attending industry shows for 36 years and each year I believe the changes are dramatic, but this year really turned the corner emphasizing technology with promises of quick returns on your investment. I want to share a few of my observations:
After talking to our clients about better utilizing vertical space in their existing facility by incorporating a prefabricated modular mezzanine their first question normally is, "How much do they cost?" Rarely does someone not see the need in the product and functionality; it all comes down to cost justification. This blog discusses 1) Features and Benefits of Prefabricated Construction, 2) Budgetary Costing, and 3) Guidelines to making sure a project is specified and implemented correctly.
The phrase "unprecedented times" is often used to heighten a reader's attention. The author is screaming: "Read this, do this - or else." When it comes to the current state of the materials handling industry, "unprecedented times" isn't just a buzzword to urge you to act – it's reality. Over the course of 2021, the impact of a constrained supply chain infrastructure was just the beginning. Coupled with significant rises in the cost of materials and a lack of skilled labor, the result is even longer lead times, additional steel surcharges, and an ever-shrinking pool of reliable labor available for manufacturing and distribution operations – all vital elements to meet the rising demand for larger scale material handling and storage systems.
When you are considering adding an office, breakroom, guard house, bathroom, or otherwise to your commercial building, would you call a general contractor with conventional construction methods or a material handling distributor that offers modular construction? There seems to be a split in the industry. A general contractor is unlikely to quote modular construction, but material handling companies usually don't build with studs and drywall. Why is there little to no overlap?
One of the biggest efficiency questions that our clients must answer when optimizing their workspace is the question of how product will be moved from one place to the next. Options range from completely people-powered to fully automated robots that auto-navigate around a warehouse, but the practicality and potential for each option is defined by each client's specific needs and working space. Let's take a look at some of the different varieties of product movement solutions and how they may help solve challenges within your workspace:
At McGee Storage and Handling, we work with a variety of industries and we've seen that many of our clients across the board have a common challenge: to optimize the pick locations at floor level. Typically, pallets are stored above in a secondary location and then the product is let down per product or by the case to a location that can be reached at floor level, which is the primary pick location. I acknowledge that there are warehouse automation options that bring parts to the pickers, which can often be cost-justified, but the focus of this blog is to provide a variety of storage options for floor picking.
Often, the focus on a materials movement or storage project is on the cost of materials. Pages are often dedicated to exactly what is being quoted and how the solution presented will work. But...what about installation? Following the lengthy description of the material handling solution often is a project cost summary including total material cost, a summation of the previously detailed pricing, freight cost to jobsite, permitting and engineering, and a single line item for "installation."
Modular construction has many names. Some of these include "panelized building," "modular office," or "in-plant office." Though there are many names, all describe the same basic product which is a form of non-permanent construction that utilizes panels bound by creatively designed posts that also support your typical ceiling. Advancement in post design also allows them to be double stacked. The descriptive – "non-permanent" is the differentiator when compared to conventional construction.
Summertime heat is a force to be reckoned with, especially in a warehouse where you have employees and products that may not be able to withstand the heat. With spring approaching and summer following quickly behind, it's important to get a head start on purchasing and installing fans so you're not trying to beat the heat last minute. Before you make the purchase, it's important to be aware of the importance of fans and what your options are.
With material handling experience spanning over five decades, it's safe to say we've seen it all. We decided to gather some questions that have come up frequently in our line of business and answer all of them based on our years of experience. Ultimately it all comes down to safety. How much weight can pallet racks hold? Should they be bolted down? How much space is needed? We answer all of these questions and more!
Though COVID-19 has taken much from nearly all of us, we didn't let this pandemic stop us from adding FlexQube as a fantastic, new partner in 2020. FlexQube focuses on robust, modular, and flexible carts for Intralogistics, making them an asset to McGee Storage and Handling. What began as an idea inspired by Lego and modular flexibility over 20 years ago, has steadily grown into a publicly traded company on the Swedish stock exchange (2017), and now has a presence in over 22 countries. FlexQube just opened their Unites States headquarters in Duncan, South Carolina – only two hours from McGee Storage and Handling!
Is protecting my pallet racking important? How do I protect my pallet racking? What does OSHA say about protecting my pallet racking? All good questions! This blog's goal is to shed some light on these issues and answer some of our customers' most frequently asked questions.
Industrial shelving is quite a versatile product line in facilities of all sizes. Organization is key, especially when it comes to the need for storage and picking of orders. While industrial shelving can be used in virtually any setting, one size or style doesn't necessarily fit all – and that's why the American tendency for having an overabundance of choices comes in handy. Each application calls for a different type of shelving, a different location, setup, quantity, and so much more. When it comes to smaller and lighter materials or a lower inventory of items being stored, shelving can be substantially denser as well as less expensive, compared to standard pallet racking. Most of you are familiar with steel, adjustable, and clip shelving. However, today we're going to discuss boltless/rivet shelving, mobile shelving, and under rack shelving so you can be on your way to making an educated decision.
The movement of goods throughout your warehouse space is likely the biggest area of possible cost reduction in your facility. If your product is fairly consistent in size/weight and you have a refined conveyor system moving product throughout the warehouse, there is no reason to read on – for the rest of you…stick around!
The ability to manage inventory movement (receive, pick, put, relocate, etc.) properly in an operation has always called for a substantial investment. Software suppliers often come with promises of a return on your investment that sounds a bit too good to be true (and most often are). Many Warehouse Management System (WMS) suppliers offer robust solutions that require expensive integration, hardware, and maintenance.
Good news – there is an alternative, and it comes at a fraction of the cost: It's called WarehouseOS. This powerful system is simply deployed on tablets, making it affordable and powerful.
By switching to this tablet-based WMS, your pick rates can increase to upwards of 400 picks per hour (per picker), which is more than double the rate of picking from paper or an RF gun.
When you find your business sits within a rising industry sector, you take the opportunity to invest in the growth of your business. This can take on various forms as you may acquire more product lines or customer projects. Perhaps you plan on expanding marketing campaigns, sales channels or e-commerce initiatives, all of which contribute toward increased sales. Time to celebrate!
You may be wondering, "What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for the distribution and supply chain industry?" We will touch on the role of supply chain management in our current circumstances and how this chain will develop as a result of the current high demand.
MODEX 2020 is descending on the Georgia World Congress Center beginning Monday, March 9th to Thursday, March 12th. This is an international event with over 950 exhibits, covering a staggering 370,000 sq. feet. Featured are industry leaders in Materials Handling, Supply Chain, Inventory Management and Information Technology, along with Automation and Emerging Technologies. This event happens just once every two years in Atlanta - this is BIG!
Have you decided to add another level for storage space, assembly, or simply to scale "up"? No matter the reason for adding a mezzanine level, you've made the decision to take advantage of underutilized cube space in your facility. Creating square footage under the existing footprint is a logical growth step, especially when compared to the expense of building or moving your operation.