Material Handling & Supply Chain Technology

Material Handling & Supply Chain Technology is the place for conversation and discussion about conveyors, overhead handling; purchasing & logistics; warehousing & distribution; lift trucks, loading docks & AGVs. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Four Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions

Posted December 09, 2018 12:01 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: data shipping supply chain

A supply chain is a network involved in the creation and sale of a product from inception to delivery. Supply chain management is the oversight of resources that go into the process.

Here are some common supply chain challenges:


Finding the right employees to achieve results is not easy. A recruiting plan can be a helpful way to keep the pipeline full. Another way to impact recruiting is with positive employee morale. Happy employees tell people about work. This can lead to a fuller pipeline organically.


Managing inventory can be a challenge. In today’s environments, having a system to manage inventories can help companies go from overwhelmed to organized. Regardless of size, the need for effectively managing inventory is a mission-critical one.

An automated inventory handling system can be an asset. Although these types of systems are a significant investment, having a system will help in the long run.


There is so much data to be collected. Making decisions on which data is needed for analysis is important. By drilling down, valuable time will be saved. It is also important to decide when metrics are needed. Information is important to have but too much information can create paralysis without a plan.


Companies pay millions of dollars a year to deliver packages. It can be difficult to be at the mercy of major carriers when it comes to costs.

A solution is offering shipping incentives to customers. These incentives should increase sales and drive overall volume. This offsets the high cost of shipping.

The best way to solve issues in your operation’s supply chain is to identify weak links and to strengthen those weak links. Seeking solutions that increase customer satisfaction while adding to the bottom line will keep your operation running successfully for years to come.

1 comments; last comment on 12/10/2018
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Tips for Improving Warehouse Productivity

Posted September 09, 2018 12:01 AM by ahorner_22

There are so many moving parts within a warehouse that it may seem impossible to align everyone’s priorities for the good of the operation. Making improvements can provide big returns. We’ve chosen five tips to help improve your warehouse’s productivity.

1. Analyze

It’s important to know your starting point before you can track improvements. By choosing key performance indicators and tracking them, you’ll be able to tell if your productivity efforts are yielding a result. Analyzing current performance should be the first step in any process improvement plan.

2. Use Space Efficiently

Once you know your KPI’s, you can then start to look at improvements. Using your space in the most efficient way possible, including utilizing height, is important. Having a facility that is laid out properly makes working in the facility efficient for employees.

3. Inventory Management

Automated Material Handling Systems are a great way to properly manage inventory. Storing wrong amounts of inventory can be problematic. Having an automated system makes it easy to know what’s in stock. It also makes it easy to get stock to customers quickly.

4. Preventative Maintenance/ Investing in Equipment

Maintaining existing equipment and investing in new equipment when necessary will help an operation stay efficient and increase productivity. Preventative maintenance is very important to overall efficiency.

5. Optimize Labor Efficiency

Making sure employees feel valued is a great way to increase efficiency. Making their work environment pleasant and providing them with the proper tools can produce big dividends for employers. Maintaining those tools and providing a consistent work environment will help the productivity goals of the operation.

Making good decisions for a business and implementing changes is a good practice for any warehouse manager. A warehouse running at high productivity levels can make a huge difference in the profitability of an operation.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Radwell International.

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An Automated Shipping System May Be Right For Your Company

Posted June 10, 2018 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: radwell shipping

Companies face many challenges in today’s business climate. The constant need for improvement is all for mitigating challenges and turning them into wins throughout the buying cycle.

A manual shipping system requires accessible inventory and humans to execute bringing that inventory to customers. There is a lot of movement in a manual system and humans must execute the steps. Challenges like space, time constraints, volume, efficiency, and consistency are all reasons to consider automated shipping. Adopting an automated shipping system can be a game-changer when it comes to resolving modern shipping struggles.

Prepping for shipping items requires a lot of space, both for storage and humans. Having an automated system aids the human and automated elements throughout the process. It provides help with tasks and it helps an order get through to shipping with ease. With checks built in, it helps the humans performing these functions too. Checks also help validate the automated system and make handling business much easier.

Automated material handling systems are the first element in a successful automated shipping system. Automated warehouse solutions make the picking process more efficient. Utilizing technology like a tablet interface and a boxing machine help make shipping preparation much more error-proof. A conveyor system saves time. A good system should be redundant enough to handle much of validation. It should allow users to access data to validate/ track progress. Errors do happen and being prepared for them is the best way to resolve them properly.

Meeting the ever-changing demands of a customer base that demands goods quickly and accurately will always be a challenge. By automating critical steps in the shipping process, a business can maximize efficiency and quality. Automating points in the fulfillment cycle can not only reduce errors but provide the ability for growth and ongoing process improvement.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Radwell International.

1 comments; last comment on 06/11/2018
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What to Ask Before Hiring A Surplus Inventory Liquidation Service

Posted January 14, 2018 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: inventory radwell

There are a lot of companies out there that offer surplus liquidation services. When hiring a service, there are three important questions to ask before moving forward.

1. Are you selling your surplus inventory to a real company?

There are many companies out there that claim to be legitimate surplus inventory liquidation services. Unfortunately, in many instances these companies are small businesses that represent themselves in ways that may be misleading. Instead of a seamless process, customers may find themselves with a less than desired outcome.

2. Will the service you hire recycle any items that are no longer usable?

If you are a company that prides itself on being environmentally friendly, you would not want inventory liquidation to result in your old inventory ending up in a landfill. Companies that provide surplus inventory liquidation should have recycling as a regular step in their cycle of managing surplus. Products you don’t need should help other companies like yours stay up and running. Companies that have well thought-out surplus liquidation cycles will be able to provide needed parts to customers at a discounted rate. This provides a cycle of surplus that is very positive and a win-win solution.

3. Will you receive an itemized list including every item the surplus liquidation company receives, the condition of each item, the quantity of each item and the exact value within weeks of receiving your surplus inventory?

Having a detailed list of the surplus inventory you provide to a liquidation service is very important. Having the knowledge of what was submitted for sale is something that any company submitting inventory for liquidation should have for tax records and general records. Knowing the condition and quantity of the items also helps companies keep track of how much warehouse space they are freeing up by selling unwanted inventory.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post by Radwell International.

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A Growing Role for Automated Pipeline Pigging Systems

Posted March 25, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Pigging is a routine maintenance procedure that plays a critical role in oil and gas pipelines for mitigating and monitoring internal corrosion, and for preserving safety and integrity. Extensive time and manpower requirements associated with manual pigging systems have become problematic, so many pipeline companies are turning to automation.

Editor's Note: This news brief was brought to you by the Material Handling & Supply Chain Technology eNewsletter. Subscribe today to have content like this delivered to your inbox.

1 comments; last comment on 03/27/2017
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