Sortation Conveyor

Selecting The Best Sortation System

A sortation system (sorter) is an integrated material handling conveyor system that automatically diverts product to a conveyor or chute for delivery to other areas of the DC including put-away, consolidation, replenishment, picking, audit, and outbound shipments. A sorter usually is chosen when the required speed and accuracy of an operation are too great to compensate for with manual labor.

Selecting a sortation systems depends on several factors. It is recommended to invest a significant amount of time to understand the entire process and to interview all work areas and levels of operation. The following questions, however, will typically help narrow the options for a shipping sorter, and you can also schedule a free Operational Audit with KMH to have one of our Team members help you assess your facility and operational needs.

What are the goals? Specify the needs among speed, accuracy, reducing human touches, freeing up floor space, process changes, building expansion, etc.

What are the product characteristics (dimensions, weights and types)?

Is the product trucked by pallet load, individual cartons or in another fashion?

Will cartons be shrink-wrapped or have other reflective properties? This adds complexity to the system’s equipment selection such as scanners and photo eye.

Does each individual carton have a readable (via inline scanner) bar code and where is the bar code located on the product?

What is the average weight and the maximum weight of the product? This will affect equipment selection and/or drive size requirements.

How many cartons need to be conveyed and sorted across a specific amount of time? Simple math provides the average throughput rate required for the system.

If it is a shipping sortation system, how many dock doors will the sorter feed? 

Can this quantity of doors accept the volume of product being delivered by the sorter?

What is the anticipated growth of operations?

These key questions will narrow the applicable sortation options so one can begin understanding the rough cost.   An example would be a distribution center that receives truckloads of unsorted boxes of shoes and sorts them onto pallets by style, size, width, and color. A sortation system can identify and sort based on the desired characteristic to a specific location so they can eventually be consolidated onto a pallet for further processing or storage.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a philosophy nowhere more applicable than when you’re overseeing a distribution center (DC). Your DC can thrive at top speeds with the proper sorting systems in place.

PalletPal Walkie

The Benefits of PalletPal Walkie

Working in an industrial setting which involves a lot of lifting, twisting and turning can be strenuous to your employees. You may see lost time in production, or worse, workman compensation claims

Similar in design to the, “PalletPal 360 Spring Level Loader”, the PalletPal Walkie can take the PalletPal on the go! This unit can hold a pallet up to 2,500 lbs with an overall raised height of 31 inches.

A worker simply drives the pallet truck into the PalletPal’s built in fork channels.  Flared ends in fork channels make lining up the forks simple. An empty pallet is positioned on the skid resistant platform. The worker does the same job he has always done, except the platform is at a comfortable height which can be loaded easily with no bending or stretching. As more items are added the Walkie’s spring compresses to lower the platform while keeping the top level at a comfortable, ergonomic height.

PalletPal Walkie Features:

    • Automatic Height Adjustment – Spring mechanism responds to load
    • Requires no electrical power
    • Platform accommodates all types of pallets and skids including GEO and half pallets
    • Platform recesses and narrow base pads allows workers to get closer to the load

    Make loading and unloading pallets faster, safer and easier!

PalletPal

Our award-winning team takes pride in helping you meet the challenges of your dynamic operation. Contact us today to get the right equipment for you. Contact your local KMH Representative at 888-564-7978 or fill-out the form below…

Plan Ahead: 4 Early Bird Tips for Busy Seasons

Plan Ahead: 4 Early Bird Tips for Busy Seasons

Now is the perfect time to prepare and train for the largest two retail days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  During the next couple of months you can prepare your team in multiple areas, find weak points in your work flow and take these weeks to make sure they are well prepared.  Once the rush arrives no one will be taken by surprise, and they will be more at ease with the upsurge in activity.

Delivering outstanding customer service during the upcoming busy season will help retain customers and increase your long term sales goals.  By ensuring your workflow is easily able to scale up to any demand is easier to practice in advance with training, trial runs and team incentives.

CROSS TRAINING

Cross training prepares employees for any challenge and gives them the ability to keep your workflow in step with your needs. From unforeseen illness to employee turnover, there are some gaps in the day you cannot predict or prepare for. Not only does cross training your team help in times of need, it gives them confidence to do more and become trainers themselves down the road if needed.

Cross training helps eliminate confusion and mistakes. An easy to implement tool for cross training is to start a job shadowing program. Once or twice a week, or for even part of a work day, a team member can shadow someone in another area and learn everything they need to know. Doing this will train people in new areas and an added benefit is it gives the trainer a chance to shine. You can even incentives for team members who train in your shadowing programs.

EXPAND YOUR SALES DATES

While most sellers will wait until Black Friday and Cyber Monday to offer discounts on their products and services you can get ahead of the game not only in your ROI but in your operations by running a few sales this fall testing your workflow capacity before the Holiday is a good way to see how a small surge in orders impacts your team’s ability to keep up. Having a special for your regular customers, offering a discount or bundled kit offer can allow for you to test your systems using a manageable “rush” incentive.

Get together with your management team and decide which products or services wouldn’t put to large of a “crush” on your team if you received a lot of orders for them and lower your prices to test your Holiday logistics in advance. When you run these early sales you could even move your team to the areas where they were cross trained. This way your team can let you know any areas they think they need more training in.

INCREASE ADDED VALUE SERVICES

Expand product offerings. From building gift baskets to creating twin-packs, value-added services help to give your customers more buying choices. Better manage inventory. Stock fewer SKUs which reduces the cost of carrying and managing inventory. With value-added operations close to the end customer, you can delay product configuration until the last possible minute, so you can respond more accurately to customer demand. You can ask existing suppliers to perform more value-added functions. This will reduce your number of suppliers and streamline your supply chain.

INCREASE EMPLOYEE CARE & MORALE

One of the easiest ways to keep your workflow from slowing down is to take a few simple steps to promote team morale. From more free choices in the break room to on site lunches once a week or month, you will find your team appreciating you and happy to pitch in when needed. You can send a “Thank You” via email from your top managers that does not mention profits but instead simply expresses appreciation for their time, care and work. This can go a long way with all of your team.

Though it is a simple gesture, remember to take a moment to thank your team whenever you are on site – they move the mountain in slow times and busy seasons for you!

Recondition Your Equipment

Bring You Equipment Back To Life: Recondition With KMH

Our Service Department is prepared to give you all the help you need to maintain your fleet this year and beyond. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars of the cost of buying new equipment. While pricing varies by job, we can repair or rebuild your vehicle at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new one.

Refurbishment involves a thorough inspection of the unit and replacing or replacing all defective components, essentially bringing the machine back up to speed so it works as hard as a new machine.  Typically, a refurbishment will address every component of a machine: everything from cosmetics and operator comforts to mechanical and electrical components. The goal is to help the customer by producing equipment that is as close to the original as possible.

Over time, all machines break down and need repairs, but remember good used forklifts work every bit as well as new ones do and at a much lower price without sacrificing quality or choice.  Refurbishment, if done at the right time, on the right equipment, and by the right people, can provide significant cost savings when compared to buying new.

Larger Fleet, Longer Service

Being able to have more than one operational forklift allows the user to alternate forklifts, which puts less wear on the machines, extending their life and your budget. Increased productivity increases the amount of work that can be done over the same period of time. More productivity means you are investing less and benefiting more.

Why Maintain?

  • Un-maintained forklifts overheat & fail
  • Un-maintained forklifts have sluggish performance
  • Un-maintained forklifts are susceptible to wheel slippage
  • Un-maintained forklifts are at risk of failing safety inspections

What We Can Do

  • Reconditioned, Rebuilt-Exchange Engine *
  • Reconditioned Transmission/Differential (Transaxle) *
  • Recondition Mast/Upright Assembly; Install New Bearings, Bushing, Wear Strips As Equipped *
  • Recondition/Rebuild Steering System *
  • Reconditioned Brake System
  • Reconditioned Hydraulic System & New Hoses
  • Reconditioned Electrical System & New Gauges
  • New Tires & Operator Seat, Seat Belt
  • New Paint Job & OEM Decal Set

Let the KMH Parts & Service Team give you a FREE QUOTE to completely recondition your aging material handling equipment instead of buying new. In many cases we can fully recondition two for what you can expect to pay for one new one.

Forklift Operator Training

Benefits of Forklift Training

KMH gives the highest level of in-depth training for you and your operators to keep everyone safe and in alignment with all regulations.  Proper training also lowers your costs in terms of less damage to your products, your facility and to operator injury. We teach you how to see small maintenance issues and fixing them before become big ones. Knowing proper methods of operating a forklift also results in less wear and tear on your equipment. All of this results in equipment that stays in better condition for a longer period, an increase in the life of your forklifts and lowered operating costs.

The primary and principal benefit of forklift training is safety. These industrial large and powerful machines don’t take much time to create havoc. The individuals working on your lift trucks should be properly prepared.  Training not only keeps everyone safe it also will increase your bottom line.

OSHA and ANSI have requirements regarding forklifts. Ultimately it is up to you, the employer, to see that your operators and fleet managers are aware of the regulations and that your company complies.

Operators that receive ongoing training are more efficient and productive employees. Improved morale and efficiency they will have gained from training will increase how much work each of your operators can accomplish in a day, and that improves your bottom line.

Benefits Of Trained Operators

  • Skilled drivers can transport all kinds of heavy goods in a fast, steady and careful manner
  • When operators know how to be safe, they will also be more comfortable on the job
  • Trained and certified operators always make sure that the machines are operated in a correct manner and are not mishandled
  • Forklift training will also upgrade the level of confidence to work better and in an engaged way
  • When operators are trained, they are more likely to avoid costly mistakes that can result in damaged product or forklift equipment

These best practices decrease the likelihood of injuries to operators and damage to equipment and property. KMH continually strives to educate our customers about lift truck operation, safety, and industrial regulations for both ANSI and OSHA. With proper forklift training, you can reduce your downtime due to improper operation and provide effective timely maintenance/repair of your lift truck fleet. We provide a range of forklift training classes at progressive levels to meet your needs!

Solar Light Rentals – Light The Night!

Whether you are working construction in the night, needing campus lighting, hosting a festival or anytime you simply need to light a large area efficiently we have the solar solution you can use with confidence: The Solar Eclipse SCT20 Hybrid LT.

The Solar Eclipse SCT20 hybrid light tower brings state-of-the art LED lighting to both local and remote areas. This battery-based diesel hybrid light tower provides 86,000 lumens of light by using eight independently directed LED lights. With an optional video surveillance camera, you can be assured your unit is safe even in remote areas.

Construction projects involving night-time operations or security lighting have historically used portable diesel powered light plants. This new generation of light towers has been expanded and these light towers can perform year-round anywhere in the country without any downside to diesel-powered towers. A typical construction project has many light towers positioned throughout a job site to provide working light where needed and to improve safety and security for employees and equipment. Solar or solar/hybrid-powered light towers can be positioned right where the light is needed because there typically is no or limited noise and no exhaust fumes or carbon emissions during operation.

Solar and solar/hybrid light towers use energy-efficient LED floodlights instead of the metal halide lights typically used on diesel units. Solid-state LED lights generate limited heat and most of its power is directly used to generate brilliant white lighting for job sites.

Benefits Of The Solar Eclipse SCT20

  • Battery-based diesel hybrid
  • 86,000 lumens of light
  • Two 120-volt power outlets
  • Optional video surveillance system
  • WiFi capabilities
  • Capable of running 24 hours/day – with or without sun
  • Provides coverage area of up to 6 acres
  • Easy to set up and deploy – typically in less than 5 minutes
  • Enhances security with video surveillance
Solar Eclipse SCT20 Hybrid

Learn more about how we can help you utilize Solar Towers to light your night projects by contacting KMH either by phone at 888-564-7978 or through our web site:

Increase Space With A Mezzanine

Save Money, Increase Space With A Mezzanine

Mezzanine systems in a warehouse environment are an effective way to increase storage and/or work space by allowing you to utilize the unused vertical space that already exists in your facility. After the mezzanine is constructed, the space beneath it is also accessible and can be used for storage or other purposes.   A warehouse mezzanine is an easy way to add storage space, office space or even a showroom.

Benefits Of A Mezzanine

Stay In Your Space

Space constraints may have you thinking that relocating to a bigger building or adding on to your current is your only option. Well, with the help of KMH mezzanine professionals, you can have a mezzanine designed and customized for your warehouse and forget about the rest. The cost of the system pales in comparison to moving your entire business elsewhere or having to build on to your existing facility.

Affordable Second Floor

One of the major benefits and ultimate uses of these mezzanines is to create a new floor within the same environment. Instead of constructing an entirely new floor, which comes along with additional costs that can become unfeasible (i.e, piping, heating, cooling) a Mezzanine solution maximizes resources.

Customizable

Not only can a Mezzanine be designed to be movable, it can also be customized to fit any area. The use of mezzanines is not restricted to storage space – you can get very creative. The possibilities are virtually endless. It is advisable to discuss your needs with a KMH consultant before purchasing a mezzanine, so that they can advise on the best type of material and other details.

One Time Investment

The “one-time investment” factor comes into play through the reality of requiring minimal repairs in order to get the job done right. The does not require a lot of repairs over a long period of time, and gives an easy upgrade without taking a lot of time.

Affordable

They are an economical option that pay for themselves within a few years. Mezzanines are far cheaper than moving to a new building because of space issues, and much less stressful, too.

To make an appoint with us to learn more about your Mezzanine options you can locate your closest KMH branch here http://www.kmhsystems.com/contact-us/  or call: 888-564-7978

Blue Forklift Safety Light

Blue Forklift LED Safety Light

The innovative blue safety light helps avoid forklift/pedestrian collisions. In the USA alone, there are 19,000 forklift/pedestrian accidents each year. Sure backup alarms are effective, but what happens when employees are listening to music, talking on cell phones, or staring at the ground?

That’s where the blue safety light can help! Install the blue light on the rear portion of the forklift’s overhead guard. A focused beam of blue light will appear on the ground behind the forklift.

Why consider Blue Safety Lights?

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 110,000 forklift related accidents of which 85 fatal accidents occur every year.
  • $135,000,000 immediate costs are incurred due to forklift accidents each year.
  • Despite all efforts to promote workplace safety, an average addition of 94,750 forklift accidents are reported every year.
  • Someone in US is killed in a forklift related accident once approximately every 3 work days.
  • Nearly 80% of the forklift accidents involve a pedestrian.
  • One in six of all workplace fatalities in US is forklift related.
  • According to OSHA, approximately 70% of all accidents reported could have been avoided with proper safety.

Features and Benefits:

  • Provides visual warning for pedestrians to promote greater safety
  • Wide variety of applications from 12 to 48 volts
  • Bright blue spot beam projects pattern clearly onto the ground
  • UV resistant polycarbonate lens
  • Rugged solid state LECs can withstand shock and vibration
  • Longer-lasting LEDs mean never having to replace another bulb
  • Tough aluminum housing helps prevent rust and corrosion
  • Universal Mount

Want to learn more? Visit our Blue Safety Light page or contact us!

Workbenches & Tables

Using Workbenches & Tables – Increase Productivity

Everyday functions of most warehouses and industrial operations falls within the realm of manual material handling–constant lifting, bending, stretching, reaching, pushing and otherwise moving materials by people. Everything from moving cartons, picking orders, reaching for packing materials and other activities. Manual material handling contributes to musculoskeletal disorders, with more than 500,000 reported annual cases of strains and stress in shoulders, backs, arms, and legs.

While you can never eliminate it, you can reduce the worst aspects of it. Using workbenches and tables will alleviate many of the problems for your team and increase productivity.

Utilize Benches & Tables

A great way to find where you can utilize benches and tables and reduce injuries and lost production is to walk your plant floor and look for awkward postures. Are people stooping or stretching to reach an area, pick an order or assemble kits? Monitor your workflow for repetitive motion. If a task requires reaching, carrying things or lifting them all the time, it’s worth investing in more effective, ergonomic changes. Heavy duty lifting and manipulation of heavy loads is a workers’ compensation case waiting to happen. Are loads such that anyone in the plant can execute the job? Make as many changes as you can so just about anyone can physically handle every job. This creates tremendous labor flexibility.

Modern research tells us sitting at a desk all day is hard on people. Any fixed position or posture, including standing on a plant floor in the same position, is ergonomically unsound.

Increases Pick Speeds

Delivering goods to pickers increases pick speeds, but one of the reasons speeds are increased is that workers aren’t wearing themselves outreaching deep into shelves or trotting around a warehouse. This also can reduce the chances of scrapes, trips, and bumps.

Raise & Lower Loads

Utilize workbenches and tables for lifting equipment to raise and lower loads rather than using muscle power. Scissor lifts are also ideal as are hoists, balancers, and other powered methods to manipulate loads. You trade flexibility for ergonomics, but you can recoup that investment with a significantly fresher, less stressed, more energetic workforce and strain/injury reduction.

Healthy Ergonomics

Rotating tables, pallet positioners, carts and other equipment foster healthy ergonomics by delivering the load to the worker. A rotating/lifting combination that always presents workers with the load in the best possible position speeds up the picking process. Install tilters to help dump or load bulk loads so they are easier on the people processing them, rather than reaching into deep bins for components.

Reduce Reaching

Platforms, steps, and ladders reduce reaching. Portable or fixed work platforms helps workers maintain more strength and balance. This means that workers should grasp loads 30 to 40 inches from her standing surface. Adjustable height workstations are another way to keep the load in the power zone.

Reduce Injury

Workbenches and tables reduce the risk of strain related injury. This helps you fulfill your legal responsibility for providing a safe working environment while increasing your ROI on every pick.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you choose the best benches and tables for your facility.

Order Picking Productivity

5 Ways to Improve Order Picking Productivity

Beyond running diagnostics or shifting your warehouse design around, sometimes it can be helpful to have an open and honest discussion with everyone on your staff. Everyone from your temp workers, full time operators, managers, directors, all the way up to VPs, need the ability to communicate where they see ways to improve your bottom line. Your employees will not only tell you about problems that you may not know exist, but may solve them just as quick and often in the same meeting.

Here are five ways to consider improving your picking productivity once you’ve identified the problems with your staff. You can review the potential ROI to understand which system will work best for your operation, discuss them with your team, and since they will be the ones ensuring the speed and accuracy of the systems you choose, decide which ones will benefit you the most.

1. Parts images and photos on the PC monitor when directing the picker. Many of today’s WMS, WCS and inventory management and picking software solutions allow organizations to include images of items in their database.

2. The use of pick-to-light and put-to-light indicators can be implemented in many processes to minimize errors. To make this cost effective, the integration of goods-to-person technologies (such as carousels, VLMs, shuttle technologies, ASRS, etc.) can be used. Items are delivered to the operator at an ergonomic height, and the lights tell the operator where and how many items to pick and put into the correct container.

3. Slotting your inventory will provide great benefits by increasing throughput and providing increased accuracy levels. The benefits of an effective slotting strategy include; increased throughput, improved labor utilization, reduced injuries, better cube utilization, and reduced product damage.

4. Kitting could be another option, though in some cases, while knitting does increase inventory levels, the variables may create too many kit options. If you often ship in kits, your team can help design the most cost effective kits to create and offer your customers. This can be either virtually on your marketplaces – a listed bundle comprised of disparate parts –– or physically in your warehouse – products bound together and stored in one location. The beauty of product kitting is that it allows you to sell kitted items and individual component items simultaneously.

5. Voice picking comes into play when you have a large number of SKUs in shelving or rack not using goods to person technologies. The audio directs the picker to the correct location and quantity. The picker then verbally verifies the SKU and quantity. The throughput levels often increase slightly with this technology, but your accuracy will often increase much more.

For example, Canadian retailer London Drug tossed its paper-based pick systems and turned to voice to help process SKUs of varying shapes and sizes—the result has improved productivity and 99.97% order accuracy using voice technology in its operations.

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