Get a Handle On Your Material
By Abbigail Kriebs
From continually updating software to the movement of product from one location to another, warehouses are busy places, and busy places require a strategy in order to be
handled efficiently and effectively. There are a lot of different factors that affect the productivity of a material handling operation,
from the purchasing on new equipment to the electronic labeling
of the product being sold to ensure accurate inventory and minimal order errors.
Label It Once
One of the first choices to make in a material handling operation is to decide how to best label inventory in order to maximize
cost savings. In fact, Badger Tag & Label Corp.’s Sales & Marketing
Manager, Rita Horstmeier, says “making the right choices of labels,
tags, and other markings can greatly increase productivity, which
in turn will produce cost savings.” Choosing a labeling or marking system for a warehouse can set an operation up for success
— or failure. Choosing the wrong labels or tags — or not labeling
adequately — can cost in lost inventory and lost productivity.
Choosing stickers or labels that don’t stand up to harsh warehouse conditions is truly problematic, whether the ink bleeds
because of contact with water or moisture or the label itself is removed because of the physical nature of the environment. Horstmeier adds that there are many options of materials, adhesives,
and barcodes for a facility and that choosing correctly will help to
“avoid the loss of the very important markings.” There is no point
in labeling something that isn’t going to stay labeled.
There are a number of products out there that range in price
and features. Companies like ZEBRA Technologies even have label
printers that will print passive RFID tags right from the warehouse
floor, enabling companies to label a product both visually and
electronically at the same time. Badger Tag has labels available
that can be custom-printed from virtually any location, making the
labels work for your organization and your system, and not forcing your system to conform to the kind of labels available.
Get It Moving
Labeling a product is one thing, but actually moving it is
another. Moving it quickly and with minimal product loss due to
damage is even trickier. One unique new product on the market is
the PointGUARD Pallet Protector by United Pallet Services, Inc. The
PointGUARD is a plastic shield that screws onto the end of a wood
pallet to prevent pallet damage — and consequently, product
damage — from forklifts and tie-downs. More cost effective than
purchasing plastic pallets in their entirety, and more durable than
Labels from Badger Tag
traditional wooden pallets alone, the PointGUARD helps to reduce
both pallet damage and product damage, which of course creates
a bottom line boost.
In addition to managing the pallet on which the product travels, it’s also important to take a look at what is lugging materials
around that can’t be neatly stacked on a pallet. In this area of the
warehouse, safety is the most important issue, as large products
will be moving distances at relatively high speeds considering the
dense area in which they are traveling.
Dave Dunbar, Tech Sales and Marketing Manager at Intercon
Enterprises Inc., stresses safety above all else in the warehouse.
“Having a tool that can ‘grab’ material and then have it lifted and
moved by forklift, jib, gantry, or overhead crane is innumerable,”
says Dunbar. “The wrong tool in the wrong hands at the wrong
time can wipe out all aspects of ‘productivity’ and ‘cost savings’ to
a company when an item is dropped or workers are injured.”
“The right material handling solutions provide operational efficiencies that can help end-users increase their profitability,” says