December 2020 Material Handling Network

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


VOL. 39 NO. 12


Cover Story Rack Industry embraces changes from pandemic


Safety First Safety Regulations for Scissor Lifts



Feature Story Five Ways A Lack of Real-Time Inventory Visibility is Hurting Your Company


Industry News


People News

Warehouse Solutions How Lithium-Ion Batteries Help Warehouses Keep Up with Modern Commerce


Accidents Happen Avoid Accidents with Essential Safety Products


Product Showcase





Business Management

Advertiser's Index

December 2020

Material Handling Network


Andra Stephens Associate Publisher & Account Executive 309.699.4431

Nikole Hoffman Production Lead

Eric Faramus Graphic Design

Have some news to share with Network readers? Email a word doc and JPG photo when available TO SUBSCRIBE TO MATERIAL HANDLING NETWORK VISIT US AT Material Handling Network (ISSN #21551685) is published monthly serving the material handling industry. Editorial opinion expressed herein are the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Material Handling Network. Material Handling Network assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies, errors or advertising content and reserves the right to reject or cancel any advertising for any reason, at any time.

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Cover Story

Rack Industry embraces changes from pandemic

A year ago, the biggest challenges in material handling seemed so, well, easy: fuel and labor costs, logistics, downtime and productivity. And yet, a strange and surreal challenge started to appear in March, one that turned virtually every workspace upside down: COVID-19. The ways in which the global pandemic has and will continue to affect material handling, warehousing and logistics continue to evolve, sometimes on a day-today basis for some companies. Logistical delays, from travel limitations, sourcing materials and parts, and in fulfilling orders, have caused shelves to sit empty, or had the opposite effect, requiring companies to seek out additional inventory of racks, shelving and other warehousing infrastructure. Yet, at the same time, things still have to remain as close to business as usual for companies to remain productive and profitable. “The supply chain has been affected on both the international, as well as the local level,” says Terry Sroka, owner of West Point Rack in Omaha, Neb. “Shortages and availability issues have caused quite a strain on the ability to complete projects on time and within the budgetary restraints. Logistic issues require more detailed management to insure timely arrival of both raw materials as well as finished product to the customer.” While initial data appears to confirm that the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission from typical warehouse surfaces is very low, the Centers for Disease Control maintains that COVID-19 can be transferred through contact with frequently touched surfaces and equipment followed by touching your face, nose, mouth or eyes. The greater risk, however, is in being in close 6

December 2020

Material Handling Network

contact with others – customers, coworkers, contractors, and truck drivers – who can then spread the virus through respiratory droplets. “COVID-19 has not affected our equipment design or how are racking is utilized,” says Sroka. ”It has had a great impact, however, on the health and safety measures that have been increased to provide the proper protection for employees working in factory and warehouse environments. Personal protective equipment (PPE) masks, gloves, face shields, and sanitation stations, as well as social distancing measures, have all impacted how work is performed.” The combination of these two factors hasn’t stopped companies from doing business, but rather forced changes to how business is being conducted, says Shawn MacDonald, president/CEO of Mac Rak in Lockport, Ill. “COVID-19 has not changed what my customers are looking for,” he says. “It has just caused a tremendous challenge for my company and the customers that we service.” Challenge has equaled new opportunity for MacDonald, who says his business has grown about 20 percent this past year, though he is unsure if that is due to COVID-19 or just a continued growth pattern for the company, which specializes in engineered pallet rack repair and protective guarding solutions. But MacDonald’s company has directly faced the unexpected challenges that all companies have nationally and globally. “COVID-19 has been a challenge in our manufacturing facility with 40-plus employees,” he admits. “We dedicated ourselves very early on to following the CDC guidelines and spend quite a bit of time each day sanitizing the facility along with mandatory facility entry temperature checks and common health question screening.” The efforts paid off: Mac Rak had only one employee quarantined for the first eight months of the pandemic, before seeing an uptick in November. “The challenge with our business has been overcoming the restrictions placed on us by virtually every customer we have,” he said. “We were restricted and refused entry to most facilities for about four months.”

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Cover Story continued MacDonald says that a critical part of his business is performing storage rack surveys, which provide his employees with critical information needed to recommend properly engineered repair solutions to aid in facility safety and employee safety for customers. “Our loyal customers, and many new customers, were eventually forced to relax some of the restrictions on their facilities provided we complied with their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) mandates, because facility safety is critical to keeping the nation’s supply chain moving.” MacDonald says he’s encountered similar situations. As the industry is unique, it’s difficult for providers of warehouse equipment to work from a home office when serving clients. They need to be in the facilities. “The obvious concern that was impacting all of our clients was the fact that they could not compromise safety while continuing to operate their critical industry facilities,” he says. “It became a classic story of the chicken and the egg: Do we continue to operate a critical industry facility and compromise life safety because of the COVID-19 virus or do we take the same safety precautions with our outside vendors and grant them access to keep our facility and personnel safe?” He says this decision literally took months for many companies to realize the obvious answer. “People gained some amount of acceptance that this was now going to become the status quo for a very long time,” he says. “Everyone eventually came to the same conclusion that safety needed to be the highest priority whether it was COVID-19 or personnel life safety; neither should or could ever be compromised.” Current and Future Changes One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has done is change how companies think about their warehousing facilities, says Joe Rooney, vice president of Texas-based Baker Industrial Supply. By having to maintain distance between employees and contact time, companies are taking a new look at warehouse density. While that change has not structurally changed product demand, it has changed how companies are likely to think about how warehousing products are utilized. “While on the surface, Baker Industrial Supply has not seen any changes in the equipment itself from the majority of its customers, the reality is that COVID-19 has forced many companies to rethink density and how to maximize the storage space they have,” says Rooney. “We believe that by rethinking how to increase density, the opportunity for investing in innovation will give a better ROI in the long run.” 8

December 2020

Material Handling Network

That may ultimately be a silver lining in how companies have evolved in their response to COVID-19. “While the initial reaction was a matter of priority, we believe it will end up being the catalyst to rethinking the supply chain,” he says. “Company mindsets went from ‘how can we do this cheaper?’ to ‘how can we maximize expenses as we plan our next warehouse?’” While one of the obvious effects the pandemic has had is on business travel, it’s also hampered warehouse expansion and renovation plans. “All those things that would normally be done – scouting new facilities and property, for example, plans for many new distribution centers have had to be put on hold until the restrictions lighten up,” he says. “Work travel is at historic lows due to COVID-19.” He adds that the shift in mindset is clear: COVID-19 is making companies re-think their warehousing needs. “There is a shift in mindset about those wanting to invest more long-term by investing in automation solutions, more advanced technology, etc. in order to maximize existing space as well as better imaging new facilities as they are built,” he says. “We believe COVID-19 has been a driver in this evolution from stop-gap solutions to a more long-term investment for increased ROI.” While COVID-19 is likely to impact workplaces for the foreseeable future, Rooney is optimistic that business will still get done, and likely expand in 2021. “We want to have our customers ask us to help them rethink future expansion,” he says. “Whenever more products need to be shipped, like with the explosion of ecommerce in 2020, that will instantly create potential problems for retailers as well as 3PL services,” he says. “We can help them become more efficient by changing how they imagine things moving forward.” Laurie Arendt is an award-winning business writer based in Wisconsin. Her writing regularly appears in national trade publications in a variety of industries. To contact Laurie email

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Safety First

Safety Regulations for Scissor Lifts

“Aerial lift safety” is often associated with OSHA regulations and accident prevention techniques involving pure aerial lifts – those aerial work platforms (AWPs) where the manned bucket extends beyond the wheelbase. However, scissor lifts (which elevate in a pure vertical matter, with no extension beyond the wheelbase) are also part of aerial lift safety rules. Some employers have a vague concept of scissor lift safety regulations. We wanted to eliminate this gray area of OSHA rules with Tom Wilkerson, CEO of We recently spoke with Mr. Wilkerson about the importance of scissor lift safety regulations, OSHA rules & guidelines, and much more. Is your company’s safety program aligned with the most recent U.S. Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA) regulations? If you’re not entirely sure, you’re not alone. Many enterprises consider scissor lifts the same as other mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) like telescoping aerial lifts, cherry pickers and similar equipment. However, the safety distinctions between scissor lifts and other aerial work platforms (AWPs) – and a proper understanding of these regulations – give any wellorchestrated safety plan a decided advantage, for you and your employees. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) establishes safety rules and proper operating standards for scissor lifts and other aerial lifts, and it’s in your best interest to know as much as you can about them. After all, you’re ultimately responsible for training and aerial lift certification for all of your employees.


December 2020

Material Handling Network

OSHA scissor lift safety rules are outlined and defined in Section 29 CFR 1926.451, which considers all scissor lifts as “scaffolding.” True, they’re not what you’d call typical scaffolding, but OSHA’s definition puts in place the framework to properly operate scissor lifts for a variety of industries and roles, including: • Maintenance • Construction • Landscaping • Utilities • Manufacturing • Cleaning • Agriculture • Firefighting • And many others While OSHA sets scissor lift safety rules and regulations, it’s up to individual employers to implement them in common sense, easily accessible format. Four key concepts of proper scissor lift usage include lift stabilization, fall protection, safety harnesses, and lift positioning. Based on these guidelines, here are some safety principles your company can implement NOW to increase safety and decrease the chance of accidents or injuries: Lift stabilization. Particularly important for outdoor work, scissor lift stability is the literal foundation of a job well done – and a job safely done! In order to optimize lift stability, pay attention to these hazards: • Overhead hazards • Uneven terrain • Nearby equipment/machinery • Maintenance issues / faulty equipment • Sound hydraulic/electronic function • Wind / inclement weather. Strong gusts of wind are able to topple scissor lifts and other AWPs. Fall protection. According to OSHA safety guidelines, all scissor lifts must have guardrails. Employees should never leave the main working platform to perform work on the guardrails or lean over. With that in mind, this safety tip leads us to the next factor, lift positioning.


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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Safety First continued Lift positioning. Closely correlated with lift stabilization, proper lift positioning puts your employees in a position to safely succeed on the job. Use extreme caution when a scissor lift is adjacent to: • Fixed objects (buildings, ductwork, etc.) • Actively operating equipment (other scissor lifts, cranes, trucks, etc.) • Potential overhead hazards like doorways, ceilings, etc.) Safety harnesses. An optional method to prevent falls, safety harnesses keep the scissor lift operator securely tethered to the equipment. Ensure all safety harnesses are regularly inspected and worn according to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. Beyond these foundational principles for scissor lift safety, OSHA has a handy, informative Scaffolding e-Tool webpage for safety manager, supervisor, and employee reference. This e-tool includes specific instruction, guidance and other information related to scissor lifts. True to established OSHA safety guidelines for scissor lifts, this page emphasizes the four concepts listed above. The OSHA Scaffolding e-Tool for scissor lifts is a highly recommended reference for everyone from safety consultants to AWP operators and more. And remember…even though scissor lifts usually don’t extend as high as other AWPs or MEWPs, there are certain safety hazards to consider. OSHA’s own Scissor Lift Safety Hazard bulletin, document OSHA HA-3842 2016, goes into great detail about hazard avoidance, smart safety measures to follow, and other helpful information. A key aspect of scissor lift safety, and one that every company needs to pay attention to, is proper scissor lift maintenance. Like a (literal) well-oiled machine, properly maintained scissor lifts are integral for any (figurative) well-oiled, smooth-running safety plan. Regular maintenance helps avoid accidents, promotes overall safety and extends the life of your equipment – all smart, money-saving ways to boost productivity while keeping those OSHA auditors and inspectors away! General maintenance tips: • Always operate and maintain scissor lifts to manufacturer general recommendations. ALWAYS read the owner’s manual and operating guides, which usually contain helpful maintenance guidelines. • Before each use, always inspect key operational safety devices like lift warnings, lights, safety harnesses, and all major controls, components and safety guards. • Ensure brakes are in proper working order. BEFORE 12

December 2020

Material Handling Network

elevating workers, verify that locked brakes hold the scissor lift in a stationary position with no movement. This simple check helps save lives! • Conduct a rigorous inspection and evaluation of the guide rails (see Fall Protection safety tip above for more information). If any rails or safety guides are compromised, immediately flag the scissor lift and bring it to the attention of your safety supervisor and maintenance/inspection team. That’s why safety training and OSHA-approved certification is so important for your company. Without OSHA compliance, your workers aren’t legally able to operate scissor lifts, aerial lifts, and other AWPs. All employers are required by law to comply with OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.454, which is designed to protect workers from any and all hazards involved with scissor lift use. One more thing to monitor when creating your own training plan: keep in mind that OSHA regulations change on a regular basis. What’s more, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), another governing body, also has an influence on scissor lift and aerial lift training and certification programs. It helps to have the right training and certification program in place – like ALC – to stay on top of these important changes. Contact ALC today and improve your safety program! About the Author:, led by founder and CEO Tom Wilkerson, helps companies with training, OSHA compliance, accident prevention, and other safety initiatives. Thousands of firms rely on ALC for OSHA-approved certification for aerial lifts, scissor lifts, mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), aerial work platforms (AWPs) and similar industrial equipment. With an online-based approach to aerial lift certification, Mr. Wilkerson’s company is one of the most popular training solutions in the United States. ALC offers training, online instruction and hands-on employer skills evaluation for every employee that requires training. ALC’s affordable prices, prompt customer service and deep knowledge of OSHA rules and regulations make it an ideal training and certification option. For more information about, please call (888) 278 – 8896 or visit the ALC website.

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Warehouse Solutions

How Lithium-Ion Batteries Help Warehouses Keep Up with Modern Commerce

Today’s warehouses look very different from those of past decades. Driven by the rise of e-commerce, molded by increased competition, and enabled by technological innovations, the modern warehouse has taken centerstage, handling more complex tasks than just simple storage. In this article, we’ll cover the main trends and challenges in warehousing that have caused this transformation. Then, we’ll explore the ways in which innovations – especially with respect to material handling equipment and alternative motive power systems – provide effective solutions to these trends and challenges. The creation of the modern consumer The rise of Amazon and e-commerce has given consumers greater choice. As a result, warehouses and fulfillment centers must now handle many different types of materials and products across a variety of stockkeeping units (SKUs). At the same time, these facilities must also maintain peak efficiency in their operations, but without sacrificing operational flexibility. In order to handle the greater amount and variety of SKUs, warehouses need more storage space. But expanding horizontally often carries too great a cost for budget-conscious directors. In fact, as Modern Materials Handling reports, the trend is to reduce warehouse footprints, as doing so can shave up to 65% off operating costs. One way that warehouses have sought to expand their storage capacity without increasing their footprint is by building taller racking. Whereas in the 1970’s the typical racking height was 20’, the evolving standard is a 14

December 2020

Material Handling Network

whopping 36’. This upward growth provides a particular benefit in space-strapped, expensive areas like Los Angeles, where the First 36 Logistics Center is one of the area’s newest warehouses to feature this new, taller racking configuration. Another strategy warehouses have used is reducing the space between aisles in order to fit more racking into the same space. This has resulted in the creation of verynarrow aisles (VNAs), which can increase storage capacity by 40 to 50%. The consequence of both of these warehousing trends is expanded demand for material handling equipment designed to reach these new heights and fit into these new, smaller spaces. Thus, tall-mast reach trucks and very-narrow aisles machines like articulating and swingmast forklifts are becoming increasingly popular in the modern warehouse. How industrial lithium batteries enable warehouses to boost storage space Li-ion batteries are particularly well suited to help warehouses adapt to these dual trends of reducing facility footprints while increasing reliance on specialized material handling equipment. For one, using Li-ion batteries eliminates the need for costly battery storage areas. This allows companies to repurpose their existing industrial battery warehouse space to accommodate more storage area, or eliminate future construction costs altogether. The root reason for this is that Li-ion batteries provide greater run times and faster-charging cycles than leadacid industrial forklift batteries. Consequently, they do not have to be changed multiple times per shift, eliminating both the need for spare batteries and the space to store them. One such company who has benefited in this regard is Allan Brothers, a fruit producer based in Washington State. They were able to save $440,000 in construction costs for a new lead-acid battery storage space by switching their forklift fleet to run on Li-ion batteries. In addition to the space-saving advantage, Li-ion batteries also have the ability to work across a wide swath of specialized material handling equipment, like the

Material Handling Network

December 2020


Warehouse Solutions continued aforementioned tall-mast reach trucks and articulating forklifts. In fact, OneCharge, one of the top lithium battery manufacturers in the USA, has over 550 Li-ion battery models available to fit nearly any type of machine. Better yet, they fit within standard battery compartment sizes and connect to existing electrical systems, so there is no need for expensive modifications to accommodate them. Labor shortages and budgetary pressure Another warehousing trend prompted by the demands of the modern consumer is a shift from centralized warehouses to regional hubs. Warehouses have felt the need to make this change in order to improve delivery times, given the expectation of two-day delivery established years ago by Amazon Prime. However, in moving closer to customer bases, warehouse directors have found two problems: A shortage of workers and higher costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training the workers they do find. Both of these problems have been compounded recently, given the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting pressure has forced facilities to raise their wages in order to recruit and retain scarce warehouse workers, further straining their alreadytight budgets. Leading the pack in this is Amazon, who recently increased their workers’ pay to $17 per hour to attract workers to their fulfillment centers. In order to reduce their reliance on expensive and difficult-to-source labor, while also maximizing productivity to meet consumer demands, many warehouses are increasing their use of automated guided vehicles (AGVs). One company that has found great use for AGVs is Oxford Cold Storage, who have reported benefits such as utility savings, wage cost reduction, and improvements in order to pick accuracy, among others. How Li-ion batteries enable facilities to achieve maximum productivity with automated material handling equipment AGVs are electric vehicles and thus require batteries for power. And where lithium battery systems really shine is in their compatibility with AGVs and other automated equipment. There are multiple reasons for this. For one, Li-ion batteries have quick-charge capabilities, enabling longer operating hours without incurring the life-reducing effects of opportunity charging that is associated with lead-acid forklift batteries. In fact, lithium battery cycles can span up to 3,000 charges as opposed to 1,500 for lead-acid batteries. 16

December 2020

Material Handling Network

Additionally, using Li-ion power means having a no maintenance battery system, eliminating the need for daily upkeep as is required with lead-acid batteries. And where problems do arise, an integrated battery management system can immediately alert facility operators so corrective measures can be taken. One company in particular that has benefited from adopting Li-ion batteries for use with their AGVs is Spirit AeroSystems, a manufacturer of aerostructures, which relies extensively on material handling equipment to fulfill the needs of their manufacturing processes. The major advantage Spirit has realized since they began using Li-ion batteries is a reduction in charging times to 1 to 1.5 hours, once or twice daily. Lead-acid batteries, on the other hand, require 30 to 40 minutes six times per day. Such a reduction in idle time can add thousands of dollars to an operation’s budget in the form of improved productivity. Closing Thoughts The warehousing industry has experienced an upheaval in recent years. Emerging trends have placed unprecedented pressure on existing structures and solutions, forcing a change in the function and configuration of the modern warehouse. Much of this change has been enabled by emerging technologies, especially next-generation power systems like Li-ion batteries. For companies who need to keep up with the pace of modern commerce, adopting Li-ion technology solutions can be a major step forward.

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Material Handling Network


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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Accidents Happen

Avoid Accidents with Essential Safety Products There is a growing awareness that safety isn’t just about protecting the operators using the machines, but the employees working around them as well. In fact, almost 40% of reported accidents are pedestrian related, many of which can be avoided with the proper safety products. However, no one product is enough to fulfill all of your safety needs. TVH, the leading provider of quality replacement parts and accessories for the material handling and industrial equipment industry, suggests using multiple products in order to create a complete safety system to protect not only your machines, but those working around them as well. Personnel must constantly be aware of their surroundings and the machines working in the area. One major obstacle when working in a warehouse environment is the noise level. More often than not, workers can’t hear a machine approach. This problem can be alleviated by installing pedestrian sensors at all major intersections in the warehouse. These sensors will alert Remanufactured Transmissions, Engines, Torque Converters, Steer Axles, Overhaul Kits and Aftermarket Parts for: • Material Handling • Construction • Agricultural Equipment

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pedestrians that a machine is approaching, even if they can’t see or hear it. Another great option is making your machine more visible. Consider combining a variety of safety lighting options to create a complete safety zone around your equipment. Incorporate lights such as LED dual color strobes, bright work lights and red or blue warning lights that shine down on the floor in front or behind the machine. These lighting options can easily alert pedestrians that work is going on in the area, regardless of noise level and when used together will increase safety, not only for pedestrians but for operators as well. In addition to warning lights, all forklifts and industrial equipment should be equipped with quality back-up alarms. To be most effective, a back-up alarm needs to be around 10 decibels above the ambient noise of its surroundings. Since noise levels can vary depending on the time of day or activity level, it can be difficult to select the right back-up alarm to fit your needs. One great solution is to install a self-adjusting alarm. Self-Adjusting back-up alarms listen to the ambient noise level of the surrounding area by using a built-in microphone and automatically adjust its sound output to be louder than the surrounding noise. Nothing is more important than the safety of your work force. TVH is committed to being your one- stopshop for all of your safety parts and accessories and offers a wide variety of lighting and back- up alarm options to fit your needs.

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Business Management

How Management Can Address Physical and Mental Safety in the Workplace

Is your management team doing everything possible to maintain a safe workplace for your employees? If the answer is not clear, then the mental and physical well being of your staff should now become your top priority. When employees feel safe and protected, you will not only avoid expensive claims and potential lawsuits, but your staff will also often be more productive as well because they know the company has their back. This is why you need to create a culture of safety along with smart initiatives that ensure that your workforce is protected both physically and mentally during their workday. Below are some tips on how to do just that. A Culture of Safety Employees need to know that everyday they leave work, they will do so in the same condition as when they started the day. This culture of safety should be encouraged from the first day of employment as you explain your company’s commitment to safety, proper steps to take if injured, and other important resources like workers’ compensation. Create a culture that encourages employees to report issues when they see them with an open-door policy and a simple reporting system. Because dangers in the workplace are constantly evolving, you should have regular safety meetings where you discuss the most common threats and provide instruction on how to avoid them. To encourage reporting, present recognition awards at the end of the meeting for employees who have reported threats and limited potential future dangers because of their actions. 20

December 2020

Material Handling Network

These meetings will also provide a platform for your employees to connect with one another for a common goal. Doing so creates a sense of community, which leads to a culture of people working as a true team. While physical dangers are always present, it can be easy to forget about the mental health of your staff. Encourage employees to come to management or HR whenever they are feeling down, so you can avoid the stress that often hampers productivity and overall happiness. Also, keep in mind that employees who are healthier overall are also more efficient, so implement wellness programs like free gym memberships and discounts on health insurance premiums for meeting health requirements. Work-Life Balance Studies have shown that up to 80% of Americans feel stress frequently or even daily, which can be the result of family problems, lack of sleep, or a slew of other conditions. At work, stress can impact job performance, concentration, and energy levels, so while you can’t control everything in an employee’s life, management should do what they can to mitigate that stress while at work. The best way to do this is by promoting a work-life balance. Management may feel the urge to work employees hard in order to reach lofty production goals, but forcing your staff to push themselves too far can result in work addiction. This is a very real affliction, and it can impair employee judgment, lead them to choose work over family, and eventually, it will result in decreased productivity as they begin to burn out. While overtime and extra shifts may be necessary sometimes, you do not want to overdo it. If your team completes a major project, allow them to take some vacation time. Aso, create set working hours so workers don’t feel the need to stay longer than business needs require. All businesses should heavily consider offering the availability of flexible schedules to employees who make the request. If an employee is able to get all of their work done but start later in the day, then don’t be too much of a stickler. Keep in mind that things have changed as we deal with COVID-19, and many people are working from home with their families. Allow time for employees to drop off or pick up their kids and attend doctor’s visits

Business Management continued when necessary, and they will show gratitude for your kindness in their work. Avoiding Physical Dangers Regardless of whether you work in a factory, warehouse, or office building, physical dangers are always present, so management should be proactive by avoiding as many incidents as possible. Be aware of the most common workplace accidents and create a plan of action for how you will decrease the chances of them happening at your office. For instance, slips, trips, and falls are still the most common type of injury in every industry, so put signage in place whenever there is a wet floor and push the importance of closing office drawers and keeping hanging cords out of walkways. All employees should be provided with the safety gear they need to complete their jobs without worry. Have them complete a checklist each day that reminds them to have their hard hats, goggles, gloves, and anything else they need to stay safe. If they are in need of new equipment, provide it without a fuss, and encourage employee feedback if they feel they need other equipment that you haven’t thought of yet.

Since the threat does not appear to be leaving any time soon, a bit more should be said about keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensure that all employees are provided with face masks, hand sanitizer, and the ability to wash their hands whenever necessary. If you work in a warehouse atmosphere with work stations that are close together, then you may have to create different work shifts to promote the necessary social distancing. While a growing customer base and increased profits are important, employee safety should be your business’s ultimate priority. When management leads by example and promotes a healthy work environment, you create a positive company culture that will help your organization thrive.

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Feature Story

Five Ways A Lack of Real-Time Inventory Visibility is Hurting Your Company Real-time inventory data is increasingly seen as the lifeblood of eCommerce and omnichannel commerce initiatives. With customers demanding high levels of visibility into inventory status before, during, and after every transaction, companies have to know what’s in stock, what’s in transit, what’s being returned, and when they need to re-order. Inventory has to be accurately tracked, or it can negatively impact warehouse operations, fulfillment, receiving, and customer service. However, according to some estimates, nearly half of small and midsize businesses don’t track inventory at all or use manual methods. A recent Zebra Technologies study found that nearly 40 percent of companies still aren’t using mobile computers or mobile barcode scanners. Managing inventory without real-time barcode scanning is only going to get more difficult as companies expand their SKU count and increasingly process larger numbers of smaller orders that are typical of e-commerce and omnichannel operations. As the number of inventory mistakes increase, they can have a ripple effect across the entire business. “WHEN COMPANIES DON’T HAVE INVENTORY VISIBILITY, IT CAN CAUSE VARIOUS PROBLEMS.” Brady Stevens, Project Manager At Global Shop Solutions “For example, they may run out of product and not discover the problem until they’ve already completed an online sale. Now, they’re missing delivery deadlines and will likely have to follow up with customers and offer make-goods. It can lead to profit losses at best, and often leads to customer losses as well.” No Barcoding, No Visibility Here’s an example of a typical scenario of a company using an ERP system without mobility or barcode 22

December 2020

Material Handling Network

scanning: A warehouse worker uses a paper document (i.e., picklist), which lets him know where to find specific products for an order. The worker picks all the parts (kitting) and then walks to a work station to confirm the job has been completed. After that, the order is ready to be shipped. There are a number of things that can go wrong in this process without real-time visibility, and they all have a cost: 1. Unnecessary Labor Costs: Without using barcode scanners, there’s a lot of time wasted typing information into the computer when employees retrieve their picklists and then confirm that they have picked all of the necessary items to fulfill the order. If there are mistakes, then at least some of that labor is duplicated as workers return to the bins to pick the right items and then re-key the order information. The longer it takes an employee to process a single order, the more employees you’ll need to keep up with increasing volumes. Scanning accelerates the data collection and entry process. 2. Data Entry Errors: Manual data entry always leads to errors. Once those errors are in your software systems, they create inventory inaccuracies and shipment mistakes that can be difficult to spot and correct. With barcode scanning, all of the data entry is automated and initiated by the barcode label; there’s no opportunity for miskeying a SKU or item quantity. 3. Picking Errors: Picking errors can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars per year. In industries that handle more expensive goods, the cost can be even higher. Picking and putaway are rife with opportunities for mistakes – employees can inadvertently pick the wrong item, pick the wrong number of the right item, put inventory in the wrong location, or make data entry or counting errors during physical inventories. Barcode scanning and mobile computing can eliminate most of these problems by providing real-time confirmations that the correct SKU has been picked and in the right quantity. 4. Excess Inventory: Without accurate inventory data, most companies over-compensate for their lack of visibility by increasing inventory. This is a costly

Feature Story continued investment, as it not only results in unnecessary purchases and higher inventory costs, but also an increase in obsolescence. With extra inventory, there are also more write-offs and write-downs, which can cut into profitability. 5. Lack of Visibility: Knowing how much inventory you have and where it’s going doesn’t just affect your ability to ship accurately. Without accurate, real-time inventory data it’s almost impossible to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) like on-time shipments, perfect order percentages, out-of-stocks, etc. This data is necessary if you want to make any kind of performance improvements - it helps create a baseline and makes it easier to identify problem areas in your inventory processes. Perfect Your Inventory Management The data created through mobile barcode scanning can help determine where the bottlenecks are in your inventory management operations, as well as identify

where mistakes are being made and how well you’re performing against your customer expectations and your own internal goals. If you haven’t deployed mobile barcode scanning to help track and manage your inventory, you are likely absorbing unnecessary costs and risks created through wasted labor, excess inventory, and picking/shipping mistakes that can ultimately result in lost customers. To learn more about how you can take advantage of the cost-saving benefits of barcode scanning with Global Shop Solutions, check out this webpage. Eric Sutter is a business development professional with more than 20 years of experience in barcoding, building solutions for asset tracking and warehouse management across a wide range of vertical markets. Sutter founded EMS Barcode Solutions on the premise that customers need more than data collection devices and software— they need solutions. By combining and integrating components such as mobile computers, software, labels, and ribbons with professional services, EMS delivers solutions that provide its customers with a tangible return on their investments.

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Material Handling Network

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December 2020


Industry News Camso Opens New Manufacturing Facility in Kansas

Hydra-Slide Focuses on Growth with Rebrand; New Website Launched

Camso, a Michelin® Group company, has opened a new 140,000-squarefoot manufacturing facility based in Junction City, Kansas. The facility, which will manufacture agricultural tracks, increases Camso’s manufacturing footprint in North America to seven facilities and solidifies its leadership in the agricultural market. “The addition of this new facility will contribute to meet the growing demand of tracks and track systems in the agriculture industry and our commitment to be the best partner for our customers,” said Christopher Uher, Junction City plant manager. Junction City is a strategic location for Camso due to its proximity to Camso’s existing manufacturing plant in nearby Emporia, Kansas. “This facility will allow for a strong collaboration between the two plants to produce and deliver quality products to our customers,” said Uher.

The backbone of the overall rebrand was Hydra-Slide’s journey, which saw it quickly evolve from a father-daughter team working from home to an internationally recognized company. The cornerstones of the project were not only the logo and website, but also the mission, values, and brand promise. As Janine Smith, vice president at Hydra-Slide, said: “We used this opportunity to reflect on the reason we exist and what we want to provide to the industries we serve — namely safety, simplicity, and good, practical equipment. We believe one of the main reasons for our success and solid reputation is that we act on the golden rule every day: treat others the way you want to be treated, and that means looking after our customers.”

TVH Participates in Adopt-A-Street Program The Adopt-aStreet program is a volunteer program that provides business and other organizations the opportunity to work with the city of Olathe to help improve the environment in our community. Through this program, TVH has adopted one mile of highway in front of our Americas headquarters. On October 14, 2020, employees volunteered to help clean up this stretch of road and collected over 70lbs of trash. “The Adopt-A-Street program is a great opportunity to help our community by removing litter from our streets and sidewalks,” said Dirk von Holt, President of TVH Americas. “TVH is dedicated to making a positive impact in our community and this program is just one of the many ways that our employees and company can make a difference.”


December 2020

Material Handling Network

EU Automation launches free educational podcast for manufacturing professionals To add another tier of educational content to its website, automation parts supplier EU Automation has launched EUAudio, a free podcast on industrial automation and smart manufacturing, available on the company’s website and on all major audio streaming platforms. EUAudio enriches the company’s already vast offering of free learning content. This includes an online content zone, which is updated weekly, several videos and two downloadable e-books. Each season of EUAudio contains three episodes that explore a specific manufacturing trend, challenge, or technological innovation. Several seasons are already online and more are scheduled to appear soon. EUAudio addresses professionals in all sectors of manufacturing and covers a wide variety of industry topics, ranging from tips to quickly fix common issues on the factory floor, to broader overviews of industry trends.








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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Industry News Pintsch Bubenzer Completes $6m U.S. Stock Investment The investment in product at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Flemington is specifically focused on electric motor and gearbox manufacturers in key target markets such as steel, wind, woodyard and pulp, and offshore and marine, in addition to the ubiquitous electric overhead traveling (EOT) crane and hoist sector. Joel Cox, president at Pintsch Bubenzer USA, said: “We are focusing more on bringing parts of manufacturing to the USA in certain markets, and having a modular product and offering quick solutions to service, resellers and OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] was important to us. This year we had increased our stock in house of spare parts, complete brakes, drop in units, discs and hubs, and thrusters. We had typically kept about $3m for those things and noticed that demand had increased and our customers were wanting quicker deliveries versus waiting on Germany lead and delivery times.”

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IFS acquires Clevest IFS announces it has completed the acquisition of Clevest Solutions Inc., the leading provider of mobile workforce management and advanced network deployment solutions in the utilities vertical. This acquisition extends IFS’s leadership in service management solutions as it intensifies its focus on driving service experience. Clevest is an ideal addition to IFS with its proven utilities domain expertise, market-leading capabilities and impressive international blue-chip client bases. The ‘moment of service’ is the point at which customers experience the quality of the company they are dealing with. Although relevant across all industries, it is critical in energy & utilities, which is driving providers to digitalize their core processes and evolve their business models to focus on customer service. Clevest has a proven record in enabling energy and water utility companies to transform not only in the way they differentiate through service, but also in how they achieve greater uptime and improve worker and community safety. “Clevest demonstrates a clear commitment to delivering value for its customers in a key industry vertical for us,” commented IFS CEO, Darren Roos.

AIT Worldwide Logistics surpasses fundraising target In a uniquely challenging year, more than two dozen fundraising teams from across AIT Worldwide Logistics’ global network came together to raise $22,621 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. Including the transportation management leader’s promised match, AIT blew past its initial $30,000 giving goal for a final donation of $45,242. In lieu of previous years’ in-person walk/run events across the United States, team members took part in one communal, virtual walk and used a new, contactless app in combination with their social media presences to raise money, as well as awareness. “I’m always proud of how our people participate to give back to the community,” said AIT Worldwide Logistics President and CEO, Vaughn Moore. “But it’s especially gratifying this year, to watch our company live out our values and help the people who need it most.”

Industry News PERC’s New Webpage Addresses Important Safety Issues

Kivnon awarded Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Project by Navistar

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) launched a new webpage dedicated to carbon monoxide (CO) safety and indoor air quality. The effort is intended to help raise awareness for CO Safety Month, recognized in November. Located at, the webpage aims to educate visitors on propane’s emissions benefits across several industries, including light construction and material handling, through a variety of resources. Resources include a motion graphics video, an infographic outlining the signs of CO exposure, and emissions comparisons of propane equipment versus diesel- and gasoline-powered applications.

The international group Kivnon expands its presence in the American market through a contract agreement with Navistar to provide a complete mobile robotics solution and bring automation to their new assembly plant. As part of its growth strategy, the U.S. truck and bus manufacturer Navistar will build a new 900,000-squarefoot manufacturing facility in the San Antonio area that will have the capacity to produce Class 6-8 vehicles. Kivnon will work together with Navistar and support them to adapt their new assembly lines to Industry 4.0. This agreement will enable Navistar to get a more flexible and efficient production line system and thus boost its competitiveness in the market.


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Material Handling Network

December 2020


People News LEEA welcomes Martin Halford to the Board

Superior Tire & Rubber Corp. Welcomes Jared Steier

Martin Halford has joined the Board of The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), Martin is Managing Director and owner of Dynamic Load Monitoring (UK) Ltd, which specializes in the Design and Manufacture of Load Cells and Load Monitoring Equipment. He is also Director at Vulcan Offshore Ltd, an Engineering services specialist for the Offshore Industry. Commenting on joining the board, Martin said: “LEEA is a great forward thinking international association for the Lifting Industry, providing training and other vital resources. I was first encouraged to put myself forward for board membership at LiftEx 2019 while speaking to some industry peers, and it is something I have considered for a while now. With a background in Electronic Engineering, owning DLM and the evolution of technology within the lifting industry, I thought that some of my skills could be utilized within LEEA and help represent some of the more electronicbased lifting products on the market including Load Cells. I would like to be able help drive the Association forward and assist in developing LEEA’s offerings to the global market while continuing to promote best practice.”

Superior Tire & Rubber Corp. is pleased to announce the hiring of Jared Steier as Vice President of their Material Handling Business Unit. In addition to overseeing all of the Material Handling Sales & Marketing, Steier will also be working alongside sales personnel directly in the field and reporting directly to Hank LeMeur, the President and CEO. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Steier has worked his entire career in various leadership roles at several large corporations in the material handling industry. He comes to Superior Tire knowing the outstanding reputation of Superior’s products and has a thorough understanding of their customers and markets. He has gained extensive experience in both the Original Equipment and Aftermarket sales world during his career. The addition of Jared Steier further solidifies Superior Tire’s position as a leader.

American PERMALIGHT®, Inc. Welcomes David Thornburg American PERMALIGHT® Inc. is pleased to announce its recent hire of David Thornburg. He will serve as Sales and Project Specialist, with a focus on growing relationships within the life safety industry through a consultative approach that educates our customers on how to source, bid, win, and install photoluminescent egress path marking projects. David Thornburg said, “It’s not every day you get to step into a role that effectively guarantees, due to your efforts and client education, that you’ll have a hand in saving lives. I’m proud to be a part of the American PERMALIGHT® team. It’s a challenging and satisfying position I’m looking forward to learning and growing from.” 28

December 2020

Material Handling Network

Macromatic Names Christopher Curtis as Non-Executive Chairman Macromatic Industrial Controls, Inc. has named Christopher B. Curtis as NonExecutive Chairman of the Wisconsin-based manufacturer of electronic control and monitoring products. Chris is recognized as a top global leader in technology and manufacturing. During his 30-year career, Chris has extensive strategic and operating experience with manufacturing companies in the aerospace, electrical, climate control, and water/wastewater industries. Most recently Chris served as CEO of Wencor Group, a private equity-owned aerospace aftermarket specialist. From 2008 through 2013, Chris was President and CEO of Schneider Electric North America. Under his leadership, Schneider Electric NA sales topped $7 Billion with industry-leading market share, profitability, and cash-flow generation. From 2014-2018, Chris served as Chairman of Munters AB. Chris served as the Chairman of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in 2014 and was later recognized in 2016 for his contributions to the industry by receiving the Bernard Falk Award.

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Material Handling Network

December 2020


Product Showcase OZ Lifting Launches Stainless Steel Chain Hoist

Hy-Brid Lifts Launches Intelligent Controls

OZ Lifting Products LLC has launched the first in a new range of stainless steel products—a chain hoist, designed for lifting and pulling. The chain hoist, available in 1 ton and 2 ton capacities, is designed for use in corrosive environments where the properties of stainless steel make it a preferred material. Essentially, the composition of the metal prevents rusting and serves as heat resistance. Coastal and marine industries are among the myriad of sectors where lifting products are integral to operations in extreme environments that place added demands on equipment.

Hy-Brid Lifts, the industry leader in high-quality, low-level access equipment, has introduced Intelligent Controls, offering intuitive and safe operation of lifts. The new Controller Area Network (CAN) bus controls come standard on all Pro Series Hy-Brid Lift models, and replace the previous hard-wired controls. With features including a diagnostics display, indoor/outdoor selection and movement controls, the panel makes operation easier than ever for users. “Many lift manufacturers are making the switch from hard-wired controls, but ours takes it to the next level,” said Terry Dolan, Hy-Brid Lifts president and CEO.

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“With the BEUMER Smart Glasses, our customers can get in live contact with our service experts anywhere and at any time,” promises Christopher Kirsch, team leader of BG.evolution. With this spin-off at the university location of Dortmund, the company brings digital innovation from outside into the company. In other words: “We are working on a customer problem with the support of start-ups to develop ‘Minimum Viable Products’. These are minimally equipped prototypes whose market potential and customer acceptance we put to the acid test,” explains Kirsch. .

The Tote Stacker & De-Stacker optimizes the utilization of valuable floor space by effectively increasing the storage density of empty totes. The system’s compact design makes it suitable for locations that require a small footprint. The Tote Stacker & De-Stacker provides an efficient way to transport full stacks of totes, leading to greater worker safety through reduced in-plant traffic and manual handling. The Tote Stacker & De-Stacker offers many practical options based on the application, with speed selection up to 20 totes per minute, pneumatic or electric actuation and 24 VDC powering capabilities.

High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic now available in five different models The Toyota High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic forklift is ideally suited for lumber, steel, and automotive customers, but designed with the versatility to perform all your heavy-duty tasks where major strength is required. Assembled in the U.S. with the legendary Toyota Production System (TPS), this new forklift combines the superior quality, power, and durability. “The new Toyota High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic forklift was built to meet our customers’ toughest challenges. It is engineered to move massive loads and reliably deliver the strength you need,” said Tony Miller, TMH Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering. “Even when you are up against the heaviest materials, you can count on Toyota to help get the job done.” The Toyota High-Capacity Core IC Pneumatic forklift is powered by a Cummins 4-cylinder diesel engine, delivering superior torque and 173 HP. Included is a Dana TE-10 transmission with electronic control that provides smooth, reliable performance. These features are complemented by the drive axle, offering maximum durability in high-capacity and outdoor applications. 30

December 2020

Material Handling Network

Product Showcase Manitou introduces “All-New” Dual Fuel Manitou’s dual fuel forklifts are equipped with 61 hp (45.8 kW) GCT engine that provides low fuel consumption, low noise, and balanced power. The engine powered technology is very reliable and can operate at maximum efficiency in multiple applications. “The addition of the Dual Fuel expands the Manitou range of Industrial Forklifts into new segments for more inventory flexibility and jobsite versatility of this highperformance machine for Manitou dealers and customers alike.’ says Brian Rabe, Interim Forklift Product Manager.

KAUP’s ‘Smart Load Control’ provides damage free handling This year KAUP unveiled its first-ever ‘Smart Load Control’ system. This patented, intelligent system regulates the clamping force for appliance clamps, specific to the load it is handling. The aim of the Smart Load Control is to ensure that the correct clamping force is applied on the load, removing all pressure selection from the forklift truck driver. The Smart Load Control system automatically adjusts its pressure according to the goods real weight detection. The lifting movement generates an automatic pressure adjustment until the load is lifted freely.

Mallard Mfg. Updates Pallet Separator Product Line

New Nord Module/Cobot Gate Fully Automates Material Handling

“Mallard has seen a surge in demand for pallet separators,” explains Kevin Risch, President of Mallard Manufacturing. “Separators enhance ergonomic case picking, making it faster and safer to fill orders. They also enable the interface with emerging technologies such as robots, AGVs, and autonomous vehicles. We have recently seen pallet separators used to create a flue space in deep-lane systems mandated to receive Certificates of Insurance,” adds Risch.

“While AMRs transform material transport, increase plant efficiency and reduce employee injuries, their benefits are only maximized with top modules and high-quality gates that transfer the materials,” said Kenneth B. Henriksen, chief commercial officer, Nord Modules. “With the QM180, for the first time, customers can use a single top module on their AMR to transport materials to a cobot-armed gate that can autonomously pick up and transport multiple types of materials.”

Universal Drop Pins: Rack Safety Ensured The Universal Pallet Rack Drop Pin 2.0 is a newer, bigger, better, and more robust version of the original Universal Pallet Rack Drop Pin. It measures threeeighths of an inch in diameter and fits in any one-half inch aligning holes. The Universal Drop Pin 2.0 is the go-to product for holes wider than three-eighths of an inch and can be front or side-mounted. Tip: We recommend using the OEM safety clip along with your universal pallet rack drop pin in case of dislodgment or damage of the OEM clip. That pallet rack drop pin will prevent dislodgment and ultimately keep you safe in the warehouse. Warehouse workers have long been frustrated by searching multiple sources - online and off - for very specialized products. Now, there is a solution to this time-consuming task. The Universal Pallet Rack Drop Pin 2.0 provides customers with a simple solution to increase their pallet rack safety. You no longer need to guess which manufacturers produce the clip. All you have to do is confirm your punch hole width and take a step towards a safer warehouse.

Material Handling Network

December 2020




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Material Handling Network

December 2020


ADVERTISERS’ INDEX American Industrial Transmission, Inc.... 13, 34

Hader Industries Inc...................................... 5

Midwest Lift Truck Sales, Inc...................... 26

Bristol Manufacturing.................................. 11

Hannibal Industries, Inc............................... 15

PFlow Industries, Inc................................... 25

Camso Inc...................................................... 9

Interthor, Inc................................................. 23

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Joseph Industries, Inc................................. 18

Flight Systems Industrial Products (FSIP)..19, 27

JW Morrison Equipment Co Inc................... 25

FMH Material Handling Solutions............... A1

Lift Truck Supply Inc.................................... 34 29

Mac Rak Inc................................................... 7

Zoom Lifts & Equipment................................ 3

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Superior Engineering................................... 17

The Forklift Pro............................................ 19

Thombert, Inc............................................... A4

TransAmerican Equipment Corp.................. 21

The advertisers’ index is an extra service to the advertisers. The publisher does not assume liability for errors.



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December 2020

Material Handling Network

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