Category: Supply Chain

Tech Savvy

The Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) held its first MODEX show in early February at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Some 500 exhibitors were in attendance, displaying the latest supply chain products and solutions. Here are some of the highlights.

Any beverage distributor will tell you today that finding space in the warehouse for all of those SKUs continues to be a growing challenge. One company, Frazier Industrial, showcased storage products that the company says are proven to optimize space and reduce operating costs. With the latest technology in high-density, semi-automated storage, The Pallet Mole maximizes floor space while increasing both pallet positions and throughput up to 30 percent, the company says. A good fit for both last in first out (LIFO) and first in first out (FIFO) applications, the Pallet Mole delivers and extracts pallet loads within a deep lane rack system.

Also, Frazier says SelecDeck is its answer to rising SKU counts and slow moving items. By converting lower pallet rack levels to SelecDeck case flow, a company can increase floor pick locations by at least 25 percent, Frazier says. SelecDeck’s universal shelf bed accommodates cases of all shapes and sizes and provides quick and easy product mix changes.

Lift trucks are getting souped up with powerful, rugged and increasingly flexible mounted computers thanks to Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, which featured its latest vehicle-mount computer, Thor. A field-replaceable front panel empowers the end user to repair the most common breaking point of vehicle-mount computers. The Thor’s Quick Mount Smart Dock separates the computer from the power supply, letting a user undock the unit from one forklift and redock it on a second vehicle, without missing a single transaction. And the Thor’s ignition control feature allows the user to set power management preferences to save startup time and extend vehicle battery life.

Another vehicle-mount computer, the Intermec CV41, is designed to provide the right balance of operator usability, application performance, and ease of deployment and maintenance—all of which leads to improved forklift operator performance. The CV41 reduces visual obstruction on fork lifts and simplifies installation compared with full-screen devices. In addition, the CV41 offers the accuracy, productivity, and safety of hands-free voice directed work. In fact, it is the only Windows CE vehicle-mount computer on the market with Vocollect VoiceCatalyst.

To keep your supply chain operation flowing smoothly, Dematic features PickDirector 3.6, a new extended version of the order fulfillment software for distribution and warehousing operations. PickDirector manages order fulfillment activities in piece or case pick applications using RF, light displays or voice technologies to optimize processes and direct warehouse staff. It is often configured to operate in conjunction with picking carts or smart conveyor networks and supports “pick” or “put” applications. The new release offers expanded performance for store-friendly pick sequence applications, direct store delivery, and route delivery order assembly. Ken Ruehrdanz, distribution market manager for Dematic, says, “By adding the new features to the existing software platform, the PickDirector solution has a stronger business case and performs for a wider variety of applications. PickDirector 3.6 optimizes and supports all types of warehouse environments from non-automated operations where no racking or location codes exist to automated/mechanized system configurations.”

By now, everyone has heard of “the cloud.” And TZA is one of the latest supply chain companies to embrace it, having launched software as-a-service (SaaS), also known as a cloud-based, versions of its Protrack Warehouse, a work-force management solution and its ProTrack Drivers performance and incentive solution. “Information technology executives involved with supply chains and logistic embrace SaaS,” says Paul Schweet, TZA senior vice president. “SaaS is an attractive alternative to the escalating costs of IT hardware, personnel, support and maintenance. It also answers concerns over data security in the event of power failures or unforeseen interruptions.” Subscription-based SaaS reduces the resources required to deploy and maintain an application, the company says.

Another company embracing the cloud at this year’s MODEX show was High Jump. The company provided attendees a special seminar all about the topic, “Is Cloud-Based Warehouse Management an Option for Complex Distribution Centers?” HighJump offers a variety of cloud-based solutions for warehouse management, direct store delivery and EDI.

When it comes to printers, Zebra’s third generation of QL printers, the new QLn series, extends QL-platform benefits like drop-resistant durability. The QLn printer can boost productivity through an easier-to-navigate display and a variety of proactive alerts that help keep working printers in employees’ hands. The QLn also is easier to support with remote Ethernet-connected printer, battery, configuration, and firmware management.

As any warehouse manager will tell you, many beverages have to be kept at just the right temperature. Doing so can be very expensive. But Rite-Hite now has introduced a solution to manage its ceiling fans, the touch-screen Fan-Commander control station that controls the operation of up to 18 High Volume/Low Speed (HVLS) Revolution Fan or Revolution SP Fan models. With the Fan-Commander, users can optimize the year-round performance of strategically located Revolution HVLS fans throughout a single facility, maximizing the energy savings and comfort they deliver. 

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